Myntra plans offline push for private brands

Myntra CEO Ananth Narayanan says the e-commerce firm is finalizing a deal with a retailer to sell the brands in offline stores

Myntra CEO Ananth Narayanan says the private brands, especially ethnic wear, will also be listed on Jabong.
Myntra CEO Ananth Narayanan says the private brands, especially ethnic wear, will also be listed on Jabong.

Bengaluru: Flipkart-owned online fashion retailer Myntra plans to open a new offline store for one of its private labels before the end of the year, even as it looks to further expand its current roster of private labels during the upcoming festive season, a top company executive said.

In an interview with Mint, Myntra chief executive Ananth Narayanan said that the company plans to scale up all its private labels, especially ethnic wear, and sell some of these labels on Jabong, which Flipkart acquired in July for $70 million.

“I think on the private brands side, we’re going to do two different things—we’re going to scale all of our brands, especially our ethnic collection. The other thing we will do is start selling these some labels on Jabong, which I think will help our brands. I think with some of our brands you can expect to see offline stores because we’re starting to actually get them to be real brands,” said Narayanan.

Myntra currently boasts of private labels such as Roadster, HRX, Dressberry and Anouk.

“We’re very close to finalizing (a deal) with a multi-brand retailer who will actually sell it (Myntra’s private brands) in offline stores. And likewise we will also create our own store which will go up I think in the November-December time frame—we will have it up and running at that time. It’s going to be an exclusive private brand store of Myntra,” said Narayanan, without offering further details.

The plans comes at a time when India’s top online marketplaces Flipkart and Amazon are locked in a fight for supremacy with their respective festive sales events—the Big Billion Days sale and the Great Indian Festival.

Myntra expects to record a five-fold increase in sales during the Big Billion Days sale as it gears up alongside Flipkart to fend off arch-rival Amazon in the crucial, fast-growing fashion segment. The sale ends on 6 October.

“Several of our exclusive brands are all going to go on discount for the first time this festive season. The real thing is that the selection that Myntra has is dramatically different from others. Even if you look at a brand such as Puma which everybody has, the selection that is available on Myntra is very different from that of Amazon. So, I think we’re going to differentiate on selection, not discounts,” said Narayanan.

To differentiate itself from Amazon, Flipkart and others, Myntra is trying to project itself as a marketplace for “mass premium brands”. The company is carefully curating products from popular brands rather than simply offering the widest range possible, increasing its selection of women’s products, adding to its collection of private labels, and introducing fashion content to keep customers hooked.

Myntra, which restarted its website (after going app-only for some time) in June, expects gross sales to jump some 90% to Rs5,000 crore for the year ending March 2017, Narayanan had said earlier this year in an interview.

Last week, Myntra named former Wipro veteran Dipanjan Basu as the company’s new chief financial officer, six months after the abrupt departure of its previous finance chief Prabhakar Sunder.

“India is a very different e-commerce market compared with the US—in the US, e-commerce players often get an edge over competition by launching exclusive products with exclusive brands. In the Indian market, even if you do end up coming up with a unique product, the market is not as homogenized as the US. While launching private labels will help companies, these labels are still competing with the major brands,” said Harminder Sahni, managing director at consulting firm Wazir Advisors, explaining the logic for such private brands to have an offline presence.