In an environment where companies like Myntra and Flipkart have already shut down their mobile websites and are now talking about shuttering down the desktop versions of their websites as well, one Indian company has called out the practice as lazy and says it has no plans to follow suit.
Cleartrip, one of India's leading online travel portals, earlier this week unveiled a big revamp of its mobile website and after explaining some of its design decisions, the blog post took time out to share Cleartrip's thoughts on the recent developments in the Indian e-commerce space.
"There is a trend of brands shutting down their mobile sites in favour of mobile apps - they claim it is due to the overwhelming effort required to maintain all products across multiple platforms," the post said. "We think that's a terribly weak argument coming from companies that have no dearth of resources at their disposal. We're committed to keeping Cleartrip accessible so our customers can use the channels they prefer. The Web is one of the fastest and easiest platforms to develop and maintain (as compared to other front end platforms), and testimony to that, this entire project took us just 2 months to complete."
Cleartrip is burning holes into the argument most other companies have been making - that websites are too expensive to maintain. E-commerce companies have argued that a majority of their transactions now happen on apps and they don't necessarily need the Web or mobile Web users to sustain their businesses.
The feedback we got from our readers on Myntra's move to shut down its mobile and desktop websites has been overwhelmingly negative. You can attribute that to the fact that most online feedback tends to have a negative bias, but you can see why people are upset. Imagine a world every store follows an app-only model, and you have to install an app just to see the link that your friend just shared - how ridiculous would that be?
We understand that native platforms like apps can offer rich experiences that Web will perhaps never be able to match, but we are not convinced that India's ready for an Internet business that excludes the World Wide Web.