With the latest news that Myntra – the largest online fashion retailer in India is going to shut the traditional shop from 1st May 2015, it has become imperative to go back to the online retailing industry with the latest statistics and analyze the impacts.

Flipkart had acquired Myntra in 2014 and Mr. Bansal is the CMO for the Flipkart/Myntra business. As per figures quoted, Myntra acquires about 80% traffic and 70% sales from the mobile platform.

Does this translate to the fact that rest of the traffic, which is 20% that is responsible for the rest of the 30% sales shifts to the mobile platform or Myntra ends up losing revenue partly (from those who do not convert)?

Becoming the only mobile app-based retailer could be a pioneering step but at what cost? If this experiment succeeds, will Flipkart follow suit?

Let us look at some statistics:

  1. India has about 405 million unique mobile subscribers as of now and over 60% of them use mobile internet. That brings the figure to about 240 million.
  2. Smartphone prices have dropped and about 70% Smart phones sold in India last year are in the sub $200 category.
  3. About 13 to 14% Indians research products on laptops/ desktops before making an online purchase decision and about 9% do that on a Smartphone or a tablet.
  4. 71% of mobile users prefer researching using a browser and the rest 29% use mobile apps to do the same.
  5. Indian ecommerce market is slated to grow to 1 lakh crores by end of 2015.

Going by the above statistics, the market has a long way to go, assuming that the online retail market caters to only 0.6% of the total retail industry in India.

 

Is the move by Flipkart/Myntra alliance –

  1. Futuristic: Yes, in the sense that the rigmarole of browsing and choosing is a waste of time and in the consumer knows what he wants, it is easier to buy on a mobile app, since it is faster and saves resources.
  2. Secure: With more and more security features being ramped up, it will be safer using the mobile app instead of a browser.
  3. Smartphone: Penetration has certainly gone up and is going up daily, but we need to look at preferences. People who have been using smart phones forever also do not use it to shop.

Challenges:

  1. Getting the word across: Myntra would need a giant advertising campaign to get the message across, which, I guess is already underway.
  2. Getting people to use the app: Well, this is entirely is a personal choice, given me, I would not use a Smartphone to buy anything, the reasons being smaller display for merchandise, not used to it as a habit.
  3. Limitations: Smart Phone usage pattern is unique to everyone, so is browser usage, however, Myntra is changing a tradition. Considering that most high value purchases are made in the 30-50 age groups (approximately), changing their buying habits is a difficult task. Also, while buying gadgets and high value items, Indians have just shifted from traditional to online mode.
  4. Target: For the target audience that looks at fashion and at younger age, this could be a hit, but since Flipkart also deals in many other things, it may not follow suit. It will all depend on how the Myntra experiment goes in the shorter run.
  5. Internet: With internet usage rising steadily, this move could be good, however connectivity issues in rural areas persist. While downloading the mindset of the user is positive, but once it fails for some reason, the mindset could turn negative.

The big question is “Is the online shopper ready to make the transition?” Or will he/she opt for the competition as long as it exists, in the present browser based mode. Considering that the prices, coupons, deals, merchandise and other factors remain competitive, the biggest question is “Why should a user change his/ her buying habits when don’t get an advantage?” The closing option is a critical one, and cannot be ignored, given that the Indian consumer is a more cautious one.

Will Myntra offer new sops/ better discounts?

Or, will it ride on the singular pioneering effect that this move is going to usher in?

Being the first to set a trend, Myntra might be taking a small hit as far its sales go and this move may also erode its market share. However, we do hope this works in the long term to save costs and effort.

All we can do is wait and see, how Myntra grows, how the shopper changes and how this move effects the entire Indian online shopping niche.

If you have a different take on this new development, please feel free to comment or contact us

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