Recently, Myntra put an end to its app only experiment. It was an experiment. They were foolish if they thought it to be something else. To shop, we, the seller, will put a condition. You, the customer, must download the app. Remember those saree shops of yore? You want to buy a saree, you must take your shoes off and sit cross legged on the floor.

Most of the customers did it. First, there was no choice, really. It was the trend with most of the good old shops then. Second, it was compensated by service to delight. Chai, thanda and a hundred sarees shown without least bit of resistance. The real agenda was to have the client dedicate himself, in a way convert to the side of the seller.
App downloads have the same agenda. The shopping experience does not really improve all that much, and that is the glitch with the whole app push agenda. Customers now have choices. The value addition, as compared to the saree shop is not much. And, then there is the inherent resistance to crowd one’s mobile device with apps.

The etailer of course wins with the app downloads. But the quantum of that benefit is hugely overestimated. Etailers expect that there will be a deeper engagement with the customer given how much time a customer spends on the phone. Also, given how much peripheral data one can steal from a customer’s phone, the avenues for marketing are immense.

But where is the customer in all this? She has come back from home from office. She has multiple devices like all of us these days. She moves from the phone to the tablet. While browsing, she wants to shop. But she can’t. The app is on the phone. She is on the tab. Does she download the app again? May be, not. In those few seconds of pondering, Myntra has lost a customer.

The other day I wanted to listen to a particular song while in the car. I went to on my phone. It showed me a splash screen suggesting I download the app. I bypassed it. I searched for the song. Found it. Played it. It brought back the splash screen. This time it had a gun in hand. I wanted to listen to the song, I have to download the app.

I wanted a song. It wanted a marriage with my device. I still have not given in. Never will. But what is this madness? We all want engagement with the customer ( I am from the digital/app industry). But technology was supposed to access anywhere, anytime, any way. Since when technology had its own goals that were bigger than the customers’?

The app war must be scaled back. The customer must be put in the forefront, again. Let the app wapsi begin.