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Flipkart closes its Ping chat service one year after launch

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

Within a year of launching its flagship in-app peer-to-peer chat service feature, named Ping, Flipkart has decided to replace it with user-to-seller chat.

Ping, which allows users to browse for products and share it with their friends inside Flipkart's app, was launched by former chief product officer Punit Soni.

"Flipkart will be pivoting its user to user chat - Ping - by launching the pilot for 'user to seller chat' and 'user to customer care' chat," a spokesperson of the e-retailer said.

The spokesperson said the move was aimed at easing online shopping for consumers. The e-commerce major said it had started testing the user-to-seller chat with a few sellers in April 2016.

"This new feature will help users to chat with the sellers about their product related queries, prior to even buying the final product. The pilot which started with a limited set of sellers initially, will be expanded to more sellers in the due course of the project," Flipkart said.

"These new initiatives are in line with Flipkart's vision to make shopping extremely hassle-free for the consumers... As part of this transition, the user-to-user chat will not be available, but customers will continue to be able to share any messages or products through any social media platform of their choice," the spokesperson said.

Interestingly, Flipkart's rival Snapdeal has also launched a similar chat-based model, named Shopo, to allow sellers to connect with buyers.

The e-retailer has been under immense pressure to ward off competition from the likes of global rival Amazon - which recently committed fresh investments of $3 billion (roughly Rs 20,227 crores).

--With inputs from agencies

First published: 21 June 2016, 11:06 IST