Jabong has equity; we want to keep it alive: Myntra Jabong’s Amar Nagaram

Published: September 27, 2019 12:40:52 AM

The Myntra Extended Network Through Store Activation (MENSA), a kirana model, allows local business owners to earn by assisting in deliveries.

Amar Nagaram, Head, Myntra JabongAmar Nagaram, Head, Myntra Jabong

By Venkata Susmita Biswas

Online fashion retailer Myntra plans to transition from catalogue-led commerce to content-led commerce. A fashion reality show and a strong influencer push, it hopes, will boost the time spent on the app. Amar Nagaram talks to Venkata Susmita Biswas about the company’s offline presence, reviving Jabong, competition from fast fashion brands, and more.

What prompted the move to create video content on Myntra?
As per data, Myntra is seeing growth in the tier II and III markets, but the base is not as strong as in the tier I cities. Consumers now take styling and fashion inspiration from non-celebrity influencers from the non-metro markets. These two insights helped us identify that the next stage of growth will come from influencer-led fashion and content-led fashion, and not fashion inspired by celebrities and catalogues.

In addition to Fashion Superstar — our digital fashion reality show — we are putting out video content in every area relevant to consumers. One in three products on Myntra has a video catalogue at the moment. The measurement metric for our content play is not revenue, but time spent on the platform. Myntra’s new video platform will also feature videos of influencers offering fashion tips.

Brands are already moving from traditional marketing to influencer-led marketing. But what brands did not have is a sticky platform to post that content; Myntra will be that partner, particularly for small and medium brands. Influencer-led content has lowered the entry bar for promotional content.

There have been several reports of Jabong shutting down. What’s the future of the brand?
Jabong has a different value proposition from Myntra. But, over time, the lines have blurred. That said, Jabong has brand equity that we would like to take advantage of. There is space in the luxury fashion segment that is yet to be tried, and we want Jabong to play a role in it. That’s why we want Jabong to be alive.

How are you making Myntra more enticing to sellers and consumers, given the competition from social commerce labels and cheap Chinese e-commerce brands?
Fashion is not just about selling products, but also letting consumers experience them. And that is done best at an offline store; I am saying this as an online player. Therefore, we have launched a few offline retail stores.

The Myntra Extended Network Through Store Activation (MENSA), a kirana model, allows local business owners to earn by assisting in deliveries. In the next stage of MENSA, we are working with a network of tailors who will not just deliver but also alter clothes. We are also piloting try-and-buy, whereby we bring the trial room to the consumer’s doorstep. These are services a social platform cannot offer. It’s easier for Myntra to venture into the social space than for social platforms to attempt commerce. We are looking at fast fashion to address competition from the new entrants.

Eight of Myntra’s private labels are sold in Canada. Any other geographies in the pipeline?
Walmart has given us a platform to go international without having to spend too much of our energy and resources. We are taking a very data-driven approach to this pilot project. We are mainly targeting the Indian consumer base in Canada by offering ethnic Indian wear. The learnings from this pilot will be the basis of our future international forays.

In mid-2018, you had plans to open 100 offline retail stores in two years. But 2019 saw two of your stores shut down. Are you looking at offline expansion more cautiously now?
We are moving away from individual stores and focussing on setting up stores in malls because consumers are more inclined towards shopping there. The stores in Indira Nagar, Bengaluru, were receiving low footfall; so we followed the consumers by moving into malls. Our new store in a mall in Bannerghatta could get us three times more footfall than the standalone store that we shut down. We are investing in an omnichannel retail strategy.

Doesn’t selling brands like H&M and Lifestyle on Myntra harm the sales of your private labels?
Our strategy of building in-house brands is not to compete with international brands. In fact, it is specifically to address need gaps in the fashion space. It is because our in-house brands are unique that they have grown to become big brands in a short span of four to five years.

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