Smartphones have changed the way people shop online, enabling consumers to make purchases while on the move or during an evening session in front of the TV. And the rise of e-commerce apps which stand apart from websites has further focused attention on the future of online retail.


Recently a high profile Indian e-commerce firm announced that it was closing down its traditional web presence and instead focusing all of its attention on running a transactional application through which customers can browse products and make purchases.

The company in question is called Flipkart and it holds the country’s top spot for e-commerce sales, meaning its abandonment of its mobile and desktop sites should be seen as significant.

Retailers have been relying on third party platforms to support their sites for many years, with agencies offering easy integration with established services to get businesses off the ground in the digital age. And the Frooition eBay store design agency is a good example of a firm that can help smaller businesses succeed.

But will retail sites eventually be killed off by apps or can the two co-exist to create a stronger marketplace going forward?

The Argument for Engagement

Where apps win out over websites is their ability to engage directly with customers, even if they are competing in a fairly saturated market bristling with other retail apps.

Engagement is achieved not just as a result of apps being installed directly on portable devices, but also because features such as push notifications can keep consumers informed of offers and opportunities that encourage them to make purchases more regularly.

Conversion rates on mobile sites are lower than with standalone apps, which in many ways makes it important for firms to adopt this type of solution for themselves.

Sharing the Load

Where e-commerce sites stand out is their adaptability and compatibility, since unlike apps they can be accessed from any device with a web browser. This means developing separate sites for different devices is completely unnecessary, unlike apps.

While Flipkart’s decision to ditch the web altogether and focus its efforts on apps instead is intriguing, many businesses are better off with a strong site combined with an interlinked app. And ultimately companies must seek consistency in terms of user experience to truly succeed in the long term.