Myntra considering offline experience zones in the next 12-18 months


December 8, 2015

Richa Maheshwari, The Economic Times

Bengaluru, 8 December 2015

Mobile application-only fashion retailer Myntra has tentative plans to roll out offline experience zones in the next 12-18 months, its chief executive Ananth Narayanan said. “We don’t have any immediate plans, but I think next year we will do it. This is something we are debating on,” said Narayanan.

With this development, Myntra will be joining e-commerce companies such as its parent Flipkart, Zivame, Pepperfry and Firstcry which are opening such stores to provide customers with a touch-and-feel experience of products as part of a strategy to stand out among fast mushrooming online sellers.

“The idea is to maximise availability for your target consumers,” said Devangshu Dutta, CEO of Third eyesight. “With these developments, the divide between online and offline is becoming artificial,” he said.

[You may also be interested in reading “The Next New Thing: A Retail Store“]

Myntra has also launched a fashion network for brands and consumers on its mobile app in order to boost its sales and consumer engagement as it inches towards profitability.

“Our overall unit economics are getting closer and closer to profitability. The firm will break even in 2016,” said Narayanan.

The Bengaluru-based company is currently clocking gross merchandise volume at a rate of over $500 million (about Rs 3,335 crore) annually, a growth rate of about 66% over the previous year. It is now trying to get to a GMV runrate of $1 billion (Rs 6,670 crore) by May-June next year. Separately, on the Myntra app platform, brands can now make a page, track their performance on dashboards and create content and start marketing campaigns.

“If they (brands) have a large community, then they don’t have to spend anything. But if you are a small brand and want to build up a community, then you may want to spend money with Myntra,” said Shamik Sharma, chief technology officer at Myntra.

Customers, on the other hand, will be able to view personalised feeds, upload pictures, seek opinions of friends and experts. Recently, Myntra partially relaunched its mobile site to enable social sharing features of the app. According to the company officials, the brand has over 7.6 million active consumers.

According to an April 2014 report by venture capital firm Accel Partners, Indians bought fashion products worth $559 million online in 2013 and the figure may increase to $2.8 billion by 2016. Online retailing in India grew 56% annually between 2009 and 2014. Etailing in India is expected to swell to $6 billion (Rs 37,200 crore) in 2015 from $3.5 billion last year, a recent PwC report said.

[You may also be interested in reading “The Next New Thing: A Retail Store“]

(Published in The Economic Times.)