Barely three months into the role, Myntra’s chief marketing officer Sunder Balasubramanian is busy learning the ropes of the fashion industry. Last month, the Flipkart-backed online fashion portal brought Ranbir Kapoor on board who will join a clique of actors such as Kiara Advani, Tamannaah Bhatia, and Vijay Deverakonda in representing the platform. Myntra’s most recent ad campaign “Be extraordinary everyday” focusses on positioning the platform as the go-to place for all celeb inspired looks. The objective is to drive branded fashion on the platform. In an interaction with Storyboard18, Balasubramanian talks about making branded fashion an everyday need, scaling beauty category on Myntra and why both celebrities and influencers matter for the platform equally.
What are the key growth areas for Myntra this year?
One of the opportunities is definitely getting international brands on the platform. The demand for them from consumers across the country is increasing. We have over 400 international brands already on our platform, and we launched about another 25 of them last year.
Meanwhile, on the beauty side, we launched over 50 international brands as we see more and more demand for those across consumer cohorts. So that's one part of what you will see more and more coming out.
We have done more than 10,000 live shopping sessions. And over time as we build the property, we've seen a 3X increase in traffic for each of the live sessions.
On the other side we have Gen Z and they always want to push boundaries of fashion. Again, they want to be in sync with what's happening around the world real time. Our focus is to be able to provide them with latest fashion while making sure that we come across as trustworthy and authentic platform, which is where a lot of our social commerce initiatives and influencer marketing work comes into being.
Another part of growth area is backed by an interesting consumer insight about wanting to look stylish not only on those important days, but on an everyday basis. And therefore, it gave us insight into driving, branded fashion on a daily basis. Hence, our new campaign “Be extraordinary everyday” is a function of that insight.
Myntra beauty is set to challenge the established players like Nykaa. How are you prepping for it?
Our core focus is on how do we make it easier for consumers to find what they're looking for and serve them in a customised and personalised manner. Not only do we have over 75,000 SKUs and 1,400 beauty brands but we also have interesting product features.
We will continue to go deeper in finding different brands, from international, domestic to D2C brands, that consumers look for.
For example, we have (artificial intelligence) AI backed feature called Skin analyser. What it does is once you take a selfie, it automatically kind of scans the face and throws up the type of products that are best suited for your skin texture and skin profile. This is something that we found resonating very strongly with consumers. The skin analyser, as a feature, is one of the top-end searched ones within the beauty category. And we've seen a lot of adoption of not only using the feature but also people buying the brands and repeating purchases.
Another one is product finder where we help find the most suitable products according to their skin profiles. So, we are using technology to make the purchasing cycle extremely simple for consumers. We will continue to go deeper in finding different brands, from international, domestic to D2C brands, that consumers look for.
Myntra works with both celebrities and influencers. Which one works better?
We found a large cohort in the country that from a fashion purchase perspective looks for inspiration from celebrities. They want to buy the kind of fashion that their favourite celebrity wear or are associated with. For that cohort using celebrity strategy is important. Then there are other cohorts for whom the same sense of inspiration and aspiration comes from influencers that they follow on social media. So, for them, we have influencer-based strategy that plays out both on the social media and on social commerce within the Myntra app itself. So each of these strategies are customized to the consumer cohort and what they look for. I don't see it as a choice between one strategy versus the other.
How has social commerce helped Myntra?
Social commerce started from what GenZ look for in terms of the kind of influencers that they trust and find authenticity in. What we've seen is the adoption of social commerce strongly over the last few months and quarters itself, over 20 percent of our users interact with our social commerce property. We have done more than 10,000 live shopping sessions. And over time as we build the property, we've seen a 3X increase in traffic for each of the live sessions. That for us is an indicator that not only more and more customers are interacting with this, but we are also sensing that their engagement with each of these is deeper, which means they are finding value in it. Now for us it is about going beyond just Gen Z and making this work for customer cohorts across the country.
What kind of skill sets do you look for from your ad agency partners?
We work with multiple partners from traditional ad agencies, digital and social media agencies, to influencer marketing agencies. There is a network that we have, and everyone owns the agenda of building the Myntra brand in their own way. They are all specialists who come with their forte of what they can add on both imagery and business parameters.
We have an influencer-based strategy that plays out both on social media and on social commerce within the Myntra app itself.
I think the same skill set that I would want every marketer or myself to have. You need to be extremely curious and want to understand and uncover everything that the consumer has in terms of needs, wants, triggers, and barriers. That is the starting point. The second part is to have functional domain expertise. As I said, for some of them, it could be about making TV campaigns, for others, it could be about digital campaigns or influencer-related work. How deeply they understand that domain and how it works with the consumer cohorts we work with.
Any key marketing trends that you could share?
A marketing trend that has been there in the past and which will continue to be is the process of personalisation using technology itself. The second part of it, which I think will hold from a marketing trend is how content and commerce will work together. And I think we are seeing that across every brand within the fashion space when we do work on beauty. What consumers look for is content that works for them and which talks to them and that part of it is exceedingly important. I think the third part that every brand will continue to both grapple with and find opportunity in is Gen Z cohort. Honestly, Gen Z is a cohort where we will all have to fight for attention and time before we can fight for the share of wallet. So, I think that will be another part where all kinds of technology that will come in will help us to target this cohort.