Online fashion retailer Myntra is considering launching a fashion-based social network for its patrons. ET Retail says in this report that the company, which went app-only recently, is planning to turn into a platform similar to Facebook. Members can add friends; post images and updates, and seek fashion advice from other members.
The fashion retailer says that it plans to go beyond just a store. It contends that in the normal case, a shopper would log in, make purchases and log out. Abhishek Rajan, head of mobile business Myntra, says, “When you come just to shop and avail discounts, you visit maybe once or twice a month. But fashion is a category where you get inspired every day,” he says. “We are building a platform where it is more of an engagement which will give our users a reason to keep coming back to our app.” Rajan adds.
Users will be able to create groups, chat with fellow ‘fashionistas’, upload images of apparel, and seek and share advise on trends. Myntra wants to build a community in the fashion arena. Features will include an online view of users’ wardrobes. Similar to taking friends’ opinions on clothes while shopping, Myntra wants that users be able to get opinions from a larger people base.
The appearance of Myntra’s home page will be modified to reflect these changes. “Our home page will no more be the way it is today where you have offer banners and catalogues. It is going to be like the news feed you see on Facebook,” says Rajan.
Analysts are of the opinion that there is no need to start a social network of this nature, as the existing social networks fulfil the purpose of sharing ideas and opinions. Arvind Singhal, founder of Technopak, a consulting firm that deals with retail, fashion, consumer product and etailing, feels that plenty of information regarding fashion trends is available online. “I don’t see this as a need for people who are shopping on their mobile phones. They are not missing out on trends and fashion updates.” He maintains.
Online marketplaces are not content with just being marketplaces; they want to bring more to the table. The competition has heated up to such an extent, that everyone is thinking up ideas to attract buyers in different ways. The drop in sales (owing to slowing down of the discounts) is another worrying factor. Ecommerce companies have been making management changes to hitch up their performance.
Myntra has hired Ananth Narayanan, director of McKinsey as its new CEO. Amazon and Jabong are also contemplating changes in the upper management. Snapdeal took on Amit Maheshwari as CEO of Exclusively.com.
Replacing discounts with a social network is a skewed way of looking at things. Online marketplaces could come up with more rational means for customer engagement and retention.