The galloping growth of the e-commerce industry in India has been the subject of endless scrutiny and debate over how long this bubble will last. It is indeed the survival of the fittest when it comes to this particular domain. So, while several entrants have withered away and lost themselves among the clutter, there are others, like Myntra.com, who have caught the pulse of the customer and managed to hold on.
The Bangalore-based e-commerce company, operational since 2007, has been pursuing aggressive strategies to sustain and expand its customer base in a competitive environment, right from altering its core product portfolio to launching innovative marketing campaigns.
Marketing it right
Last month saw the online shopping retailer launch a new marketing campaign centring on the perks of online shopping and highlighting the product offerings that it offers- cash on delivery, free home delivery, and a 30 day return policy. While similar value propositions are offered by many other e-commerce players, Myntra claims to be a cut above the rest since it does not compel customers to exchange products and instead returns the money. The two television commercials running on air delve on the same proposition, with a theme ‘Real life mein aisa hota hai kya’.
It is also going to launch a new tech application called the virtual trial room in the next few months. Through this application, customers can view themselves in their desired apparel via an interactive web-cam application thereby getting a rough idea of the size and fit. Another online apparel brand, Zovi has also launched similar concepts called ‘Zovi Eye’ and ‘Try n Buy’, for trying out apparels online as well as footwear at the time of delivery.
While the use of a mass marketing medium like television and other innovative marketing strategies certainly help to drive recall, connect and eventually sales, what becomes equally crucial is the timing of the innovation. In a industry, where players more or less deal in homogenous product categories and brands, target the same tech-savvy and internet reliant consumer base, use the same marketing mediums to communicate the slightly differentiated value proposition, how is Myntra’s marketing differentiated from the others?
Mukesh Bansal, CEO & Founder, Myntra.com feels that it is the customer experience and the presence of the largest number of brands that are the key differentiators.
There has also been a change in the marketing strategy pursued by Myntra over the years, from focusing primarily on establishing the brand as an online shopping portal for fashion and accessories to extending to the realm of communicating the advantages of shopping online and ridding consumers of the inherent reservations of making online purchases. “First we wanted to establish who we are, now we are focusing on addressing the barriers, communicating the approachability, ease of use, and other positives of e-shopping,” says Bansal.
The brand’s core marketing mediums include the digital platform, especially Facebook and the electronic medium, with a majority of the marketing expenditure towards youth-centric channels.
From Customising to Fashion’ising
A fashion and lifestyle online retailer with a product catalogue boasting of 350 brands across apparels, footwear, and accessories, Myntra.com’s core target audience comprises two age-brackets, teenagers and early jobbers in the age-group of 18-25 years and young families within 27-35 years. More than 80 per cent of the company’s sales come from these two segments.
Over the years, not only has the brand evolved its communication approach, it has also moved beyond its initial positioning to encompass a wider product portfolio.
Myntra started out as one of the first online personalised merchandised stores, providing customised t-shirts, mugs, and so on but shifted to the fashion and lifestyle product vertical in 2010. While many throng the customised merchandising space now, many remember Myntra as one of the pioneers. Why then, did it dilute its core differentiating aspect and move to something else?
Bansal candidly admits that the company realised that personalisation was a very niche category and would not help them in building a large business beyond Rs 20-30 crore. This coupled with the limited number of products in the category was reason enough for Myntra to orchestrate a shift in positioning. “T-Shirts and mugs were big drivers but there wasn’t any incentive for people to come back a second time to purchase the same products,” explains Bansal.
With the fashion and lifestyle segment occupying a massive 50 per cent market share in the Rs 3,000-3,500 crore e-commerce industry, there certainly seems merit in this move.
A click ahead
The online e-commerce industry, at present, seems to be coalescing into two distinct parts; one that consists of multibrand retailers, like Myntra, Jabong, Yebhi, and many more and other comprising players dealing in specific product-verticals like Zivame and lenskart.com. From eye-wear to jewellery to even lingerie, e-tailers are turning more and more specialised as the market is getting more and more cluttered.
On how does Myntra differentiate itself from both these types, Bansal confidently asserts that the company has been able to carve a niche for itself. According to him, while most other portals are positioned around the price and service angle, Myntra is more look conscious and understands fashion well. He also adds that a product category needs to be viable enough and amenable to online purchase, and many of the niche, specialised players might not be able to have a standalone viable business.
In terms of actual numbers, Myntra captures a healthy 25-30 per cent share in the market and sees close to 400,000 visitors and 10,000 orders every day. Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities contribute to 50 per cent of its overall sales, a figure that Bansal estimates going up to 60 per cent in the next one year. While Punjab and the NCR region are the fastest growing regions for the e-commerce brand, it also sees significant traction coming in from Kerala and Coimbatore. According to information shared in the recently concluded brand meet of the company, it plans to reach $1 billion in revenues within the next five years and cement its place as the largest online retailer in fashion and lifestyle.