When we reach Myntra office in Hosur Road, Bengaluru, around 11.30 pm on Monday, the air is filled with excitement. There are celebratory hoardings, light works, loud music, big screen ads, food stalls with pav bhaji to Chinese cuisine, and employees wearing Myntra’s sweatshirt, all visibly excited and energetic – quite a feat, considering a bunch of them have not even gone home in the last two days.
CEO Ananth Narayanan, CMO Gunjan Soni, CFO Dipanjan Basu, and Head of HR Manpreet Ratia are huddled together next to the kachori counter, evidently, sipping in the enthusiasm around them.
In an earlier conversation, Ananth had told YourStory that this is a culmination of months of team work, and instead of fatigue, the team has an adrenalin rush which keeps them in office for almost all of that night. He was absolutely true. Inside the office, leave alone looking tired and sleepy, nobody even seemed to want to relax. There are open laptops on every surface, bean bags where some are working comfortably as if nothing is happening around them, and then there are some youngsters casually chatting with the senior leadership – and you see the team spirit.
This is Myntra’s fifth edition of End of Reason Sale (EoRS) – widely publicised as the biggest ever fashion sale. When we caught him before the countdown began, Ananth said there has been 1.6 million wish lists, with an average of 10 items each, in the slots allotted to select customers for four hours before the sale officially begins.
This is one of the highlights which Myntra presented during the EoRS in July 2016 – price reveal feature lets the users add items to their cart, and once the sale begins, they can check out immediately. But this time, Myntra has taken customer engagement to the next level by introducing gamificiation – by which customers can play games on Myntra’s app and win prizes.
Claiming to partner with more than 2000 brands, and expecting to sell five million units in three days(Jan 3-5), the fifth edition of EoRS is seen as a major step in Myntra’s push towards profitability. The 10-year-old online fashion marketplace owned by Flipkart has claimed to become profitable in FY 2018, which will make it the first e-commerce player to win that title in India.
When midnight struck, Myntra team huddled up in the first floor in front of a giant screen displaying the order count and revenue in real time. The columns of sales revenue, number of orders, and number of items sold are action packed already – the numbers are climbing up ten times faster than the world population growth meter. It moves from six-digit to seven-digit numbers and then ten-digit numbers in a matter of seconds, and you can already feel the team’s exhilaration.
There was not a single employee who was working in a cubicle anymore – everybody was on their toes, clenching their hands and eyes glued to the screen. Within five minutes (of the opening of the sale), Myntra has earned Rs.10 crore and the team erupts in applause. Although YourStory was requested not to display the numbers, the team’s huge round of applause within 20 minutes suggested that the revenue has crossed Rs 100 crore.
We, however, wanted to capture Ananth’s glee on camera. When asked for a quick quote, he was visibly reluctant to leave the team – he politely asked, “Do we really have to do this? Can I please get back?” He obliged when we promised him that it won’t take more than 30 seconds, and sped back to the cheering team in front of the display screen.
With a market share of 70 percent in its alliance with Flipkart and Jabong, Myntra -- which focuses on mass-premium segment -- is now targeting $2 billion run rate by 2018. They have strengthened the tech and creative team while ensuring efficient spending in marketing. The 400-member-strong tech team has been building on artificial intelligence and machine learning which supports the creative team as well.
Myntra claims to have had 1.5 million new app downloads on Monday – which hints at the popularity they still enjoy despite coming back to desktop in June 2016, one year after they went app-only. Besides, celebrity endorsements have taken marketing strategies to a new level – Deepika Padukone, Hrithik Roshan, and Virat Kohli, are a few of them.
When we leave the office at around 1 am, a few employees are chilling outside, clearly not tired enough to call it a day. One can’t help but wonder how much things have changed. E-commerce was an industry which many believed will never grow roots in India. Today, brands are building themselves on digital platforms, and unbranded labels have come to the fore, while international brands have become more popular, thanks to the accessibility which e-commerce provides to the customers beyond metro cities.
Myntra’s acquisition of Jabong in July 2016 was a predecessor to hitting $1 billion run rate in GMV. They are also trying a hand at the omnichannel route – by opening an offline store (in Bengaluru) soon. If all goes well, Myntra may well break even by the end of this fiscal year.
So how is Myntra preparing for 2017? Watch this space.
(Photos by R Raja)