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Setting A Trend Or A Bad Example? Here’s What The Industry Has To Say On Myntra’s Mobile-Only Move

Setting A Trend Or A Bad Example? Here’s What The Industry Has To Say On Myntra’s Mobile-Only Move

It seems that adventure has not yet ended for Myntra. After being acquired by Flipkart last year, Myntra has now paved off its route towards Mobile only approach. The company has shut down its web operations and is now “app-only” platform.

When we asked Mukesh Bansal, why it makes sense now, he replied that India ranks second to the US in terms of reach and engagement for shopping apps. With smartphones growing at tremendous rate, we see this percentage increasing.

Myntra mobile

With users continually logged in to their mobiles unlike desktops, it enables Myntra to identify and provide personalized experience to customers. At present over 90% of their web traffic is generated through mobiles and 70% of the sales happen through this medium. A year ago, the traffic was less than 10% and continues to grow at a high rate. Today, more than 9 Mn people have downloaded the Myntra App and over the next 3 to 4 months Myntra is targeting another 5 Mn downloads.  

“Fashion is a very personal experience. We believe that only mobile can truly deliver this experience as it captures user’s lifestyle and context in manner that no other medium does. Think of all the hardware and software features that one can leverage like camera, contact, location etc. to understand the user’s context and deliver the experience that is deeply personalized. Mobile will have massive implications on how the shopping experience will look like in the future,” said Mukesh Bansal, CEO, Myntra & Head of Commerce, Flipkart.

Where some are of the view that Myntra is setting a new trend with this step, others feel that it’s a huge risk considering the prevailing competition in eCommerce and is “too early” for this.

Here are the edited excerpts from industry people on Myntra’s new move:

alok mittalAlok Mittal, Angel Investor

The core bet here seems to be in occupying the mobile real estate. This real estate is obviously constrained, and applications on that front screen will get used more often.

That brings the discussion to the second part – what kind of a product would be used more and more often. I would expect a tilt towards more community, content and discovery in the product itself – to then start creating a set of high frequency users (only some of which might translate into orders)

The third element this could enable is to move towards lower top line spends and more tactical discounting strategies. For example, more emphasis on remarketing through notifications rather than TV ads.

prashant tandonPrashant Tandon, Founder & Managing Director at HealthKart

It does make sense for a company like Myntra given that while operating at scale, already 70%+ transactions were driven through the app and developing this platform can enable creation of much more social and personalized features that suit a vertical play really well.

Given the young demographic and a high degree of social influence & impact

of personalization to buy apparel, I think Myntra has taken a bold and

positive step.

Rahul Agrawal, Co-Founder and CEO at Mebelkart

Good move. Myntra does 70% transactions through mobile. 30% of those users are from the website. Suppose 50% of those 30% would not download the app, which will leave 15% of the users, thus providing Myntra with the profit of complete ownership of 85% of the customers whose entire customer lifecycle value will be huge. At the same time, it will also lose 15% of its consumers who will shift to Jabong.com or Amazon.in .

The ability to sell to those 85% of the user set without much competition will be a big win for Myntra specially at times when the other eCommerce firms like Jabong, Amazon, Snapdeal have become really aggressive and the discount centric. It will also help Myntra to get valuable data on the customers and send notifications to the user which is always an asset.

mukundMukund Mohan, Director at Microsoft Ventures

It is very good given the state of the Indian technology adoption. They can optimize for the mobile phone, which is going to be the platform for the future. 20 years ago if someone gave up their client-server app for a web only app, most everyone would have said this was the right thing to do since the future was the web. That’s the same now, since the future is mobile.

Soumya Chatterjee, Co-Founder & CEO at EasyRewardz

I think the move is a bit ahead of its time. While India might be a unique market, this move has not been taken by any eCommerce portal elsewhere. There would not have been any challenge if they had started as a mobile only platform, but their consumers discovered them on the web.

Though, it will reduce cost of maintaining one more platform, but I think they will also lose at least 15 – 20% of their sales. Plus, they will need to spend more in additional offers, awareness etc. to bridge the adoption gap. Over a long term,whether this leads to faster profitability, remains to be seen.

Roman Kikta, Venture Capital Investor | Board Member | Author | Managing Director & Founder of Mobility Ventures

This makes much sense for Myntra to go mobile only as the majority of India’s population is mobile centric. For that matter most of the world population is mobile driven, it’s a device we carry with us at all times. As my 12 & 15 kids tell me, computers are for “old people” like you dad. Kids use mobile devices (in some cases) as their only way to go online (the decline trend in computers sales supports this). Myntra has a clear understanding of their customers and is focused on serving the needs of their growing market of young dynamic consumers.

praveen sinha jabongPraveen Sinha, Founder, Jabong

Increasing choices for the customer is our first priority and keeping the same in mind, we have no plans to shut our website any time soon. Since the traction we amass from the mediums, website and mobile phone, is 50-50, we should be adeptly able to provide both the alternatives. Seamless visibility of the products and price comparison is a major hindrance in app based commerce. A desktop or laptop allows a customer to scrutinize products according to their requirements. In terms of interface, there is still a lot of development in the pipeline for the future of mobile apps. M-commerce is yet to fully evolve in order to sustain a brand entirely based on app without compromising scale and customer centricity.

Satish Kataria, Managing Director at Starting Blocks Media Ventures Private Limited

A larger penetration of smart mobile phones vis-a-vis desktops reflect as to how India has taken yet another technological leap with respect to internet accessibility – and so obviously brands like Myntra are wanting to take advantage of the same – and perhaps wish to focus on offering more personalised shopping experience to their users by focussing on App and not enhancing the desktop site.

They may also be hoping that through bringing users to App could lead to users sticking to Myntra, rather than comparing product prices on other platforms, which is easier through desktop.

However, on short term, I have doubts if it would build any sustainable competitive advantage – and this also comes at cost of totally ignoring desktop-assessing consumers, which other brands would continue to leverage.

So while it is an interesting experiment – the results would still take time to tell us whether it was the right strategy.

Vikas Bagaria, Founder at Safetykart.com

FlipKart acquired Myntra to claim its dominance on Fashion portal.  Mobile only site may help in cutting the cost, at the same time increasing the conversions. This also makes sense because of increase in number of Smartphone users who prefer to browse Mobile for purchase unlike on web where people browse for more than the purchase.

I would say Myntra going mobile will create a new trend in Indian e-commerce.

Ravitej Yadalam, Founder & CEO at Pennyful Online Pvt. Ltd.

Myntra taking an app-only approach is probably ahead of its time, as the number of shoppers who shop on desktops is still relatively large. As 4G slowly becomes the norm, mobile shopping is going to become more relevant and popular, and it looks like Myntra is trying to capture the market early, well before their competition.

But here, Myntra seems to have deviated from the general trend, which is, moving from desktop to mobile-web and finally to the app based model. In Myntra’s case, the middle step seems to have been skipped, at least in scale. Flipkart has also expressed interest in moving towards an app-only model, and depending on the success Myntra sees, we may soon see India’s largest e-commerce site also following suit.

Editor’s Take

Myntra’s this decision will either set a new trend, to be followed by other ecommerce biggies or it will fail and halt new experiments for quite sometime. The Indian internet user base  is expected to reach 21 Cr by next month and 48 Cr by 2017. This includes a significant percentage of consumers using mobile as a medium. Also, shopping online is no more a new trend now. In Fact, Tier 2/ Tier 3 people see it as a platform to reach upcoming fashion trends. Thus, as said by Mukund, the future is certainly mobile and Myntra might get a first mover advantage among its competitors.

Author

Meha Agarwal

Inc42 Staff

Meha has engineering and MBA degrees, but she has always been a writer at heart. It was the perfect combination of utilising her research and analytical skills and her enthusiasm for writing that sparked her interest in writing about the Indian startup ecosystem – the latest tech and gadgets and the startups that create them. She is always on the lookout for industry-specific stories in niche areas of interest such as ecommerce, fintech, greentech and more.

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