Bengaluru: Flipkart’s fashion business, which is aiming to grow sales by 60-65% this financial year and touch $1.7 billion in terms of gross merchandise value (GMV) by March 2019, has undertaken a rebranding exercise as part of a broader strategy to stand out as a premier online fashion destination and help differentiate itself from other online retailers.
Since Flipkart started selling fashion in 2012, it has aimed to be a mass-market player, catering to all sections of online shoppers across big and small cities.
Flipkart’s acquisition of Myntra in 2014 further helped boost its position as the leading online fashion retailer in the country. Flipkart also kept the Myntra brand alive as it catered to a premium section of buyers, selling more expensive fashion.
Now, under chief executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Flipkart is aiming to differentiate itself from rivals such as Amazon India and stand apart as a premium fashion player, with its new rebranding project to make itself a so-called online fashion capital.
“Usually, you would hear of fashion capitals being cities globally and that’s where people go to get the latest fashion, the latest fashion news, meet fashionable people, get influenced, etc. All of that will now be available on Flipkart," said Rishi Vasudev, head of Flipkart Fashion, in an interview.
“On the experience side, we revamped the whole buying experience and brought in personalization, we brought in tie-ups with lots of films, magazines, etc., so that there is content that customers look up to," added Vasudev.
The rebranding exercise started in early 2017 when Flipkart launched a project internally that was called Avatar.
As part of its new Fashion Capital initiative, Flipkart is aiming to bolster its roster of big brands, including large international players, while also expanding its reach in smaller towns and cities, where online shopping is steadily gaining momentum.
That strategy of getting bigger, international brands, however, might put Flipkart in competition with Myntra—something that Vasudev conceded.
“Because we are multi-format (retail), are we cannibalizing each other? Yes, there would be some cannibalization, but you’re also ensuring that you’re taking care of different kinds of customers," he said.
In January, Mint reported that Flipkart’s fashion business has caught up with market leader Myntra and emerged as a dominant player in the online fashion retail space. Flipkart had claimed then—and continues to—that it was the largest player in the online fashion segment and had overtaken all its online competitors. Despite raking in lower average selling prices (ASPs) per unit than Myntra, Flipkart edges out Myntra and all its other competitors in online fashion retail in terms of sheer volume.
Over the past 12-18 months, since former Tiger Global Management executive Krishnamurthy returned to the online retailer in mid-2016, he has pushed executives to grow the fashion business rapidly and set aggressive growth targets for the unit.
In the middle of last year, Flipkart’s fashion business also underwent a major revamp and the online retailer cleaned up its marketplace and zeroed in on large, trusted sellers to ensure higher-quality products, while also tightening internal systems and processes. Put together, Flipkart, along with Myntra and Jabong, controls more than 70% of online fashion retail in India and is far ahead of arch-rival Amazon India.
Myntra-Jabong generated $1.2 billion in gross merchandise value in the last financial year. Flipkart fashion, on a standalone basis, claimed that it closed fiscal 2017-18 with $1 billion in GMV.