Bengaluru: Almost 10 months after it launched an in-app chat service Ping, a social commerce feature, e-commerce company Flipkart Ltd has decided to discontinue it, said a person familiar with the matter. Flipkart did not respond to an email query seeking comments.

Ping allowed users to browse for products and share them with friends inside Flipkart’s app, and was launched by former chief product officer Punit Soni, who quit the firm in April.

It has also decided to shut its image search feature that allows users to browse for similar products based on images they upload on the site. Flipkart had partnered with Singapore-based start-up, Visenze, to launch this feature.

Flipkart launched Ping on 25 August as an invite-only feature and claimed that 2.5 million users had downloaded it within 10 days of its launch. It also aired television commercials to extensively promote the feature in December.

Also read: Flipkart CEO Binny Bansal brings back old hands in turnaround efforts

Ping was launched as a part of an effort to make shopping with friends easier, as e-commerce firms across the board tried to introduce social elements and create a network on their portals to get users to spend more time on their apps, and recreate real-world dynamics on their sites.

Earlier this year, Flipkart shut its groceries delivery app, Nearby, just about five months after the company started testing it. However, because it was a pilot, Flipkart didn’t market or promote Nearby extensively.

India’s biggest e-commerce firm is under immense pressure to beat back competition from cash-rich Amazon’s India entity, which recently got an infusion of $3 billion.

Mint reported on Monday that Flipkart is now going to focus solely on improving its customer service to stay ahead in the race.

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