It’s no secret that Flipkart wants you to download its app. It’s heavily pubclized its app, offered affiliates as much as Rs. 60 for one download, and most controversially, considered shutting down its website to force users to go mobile. The last move met with derision amongst the larger internet community, and Snapdeal’s cofounder Kunal Bahl called it the “dumbest and most consumer unfriendly idea”.
While latest reports suggest that the company has backed down from its plan of shutting down its website, it’s still coming up with other ways to make people switch to the app. The newest method to force users to go mobile seems to be app-only products.
Users reported seeing a note in benign green that said, “This product is available for purchase only on app.” While several companies offer discounts to users for using their apps, Flipkart seems to have taken this a step further by disabling certain products from its website all together.
On its website, the company is promoting the app aggressively. Currently, there are 8 separate ads on its homepage that encourage users to install the app.
While Flipkart’s clearly believes there are long term benefits in having captive users through its app, the move doesn’t seem to have gone down too well with its users. The reaction on the Indian internet to this move has been overwhelming negative, with many users threatening to move to rivals like Amazon and Snapdeal if Flipkart continues with its aggressive app-only push.