“You Have To Be Where Your Consumers Are”

“For Myntra, mobile is not just another channel; it is a different business model altogether,” says Shamik Sharma, Myntra’s Chief Technology Officer. “How you get consumers, engage with them, retain them, customize their experience is totally different with this model,” he added.

Shamik Sharma panel discussion

From L-R: Nitin Bawankule, Industry Director, Google India; Anurag Gupta, Founder & MD, DGM; Arun Das, Regional Head, Enterprises, Tata Teleservices; Shamik Sharma, Chief Technology Officer, Myntra.

At a recently held Annual eTailing India Summit in New Delhi, Shamik Sharma was part of a panel discussion on ‘Mobility: Are Mobile Apps the Future of eCommerce?’. The panel discussed a variety of questions related to business strategies and consumer experience in the mobile space, as well as the hold of mobile within the e-commerce domain.

The other panel members included Nitin Bawankule, Industry Director, Google India and Arun Das, Regional Head, Enterprises, Tata Teleservices and the session was moderated by Anurag Gupta, Founder & MD, DGM.

The topic of the panel discussion has been subject to plenty of debate over the past few months. Some of the statistics shared at the discussion clearly show that India is predominantly on mobile commerce. Mobile internet usage in India is around 220mn in 2015, a number which is expected to jump to 562mn by 2017.

As Shamik mentioned during the discussion, for Myntra there wasn’t much of a debate. In June 2014, Myntra was barely getting any revenue from mobile. But with the increasing penetration of smart phones and internet usage on mobile, and a focused mobile strategy, 60 to 70 percent of Myntra’s revenue was coming from mobile by the end of December 2014. Seeing the incredible pace of growth a few months into 2015, the writing was on the wall – Myntra had to go mobile.

Panel discussion Q&A

“You have to be where your consumers are,” said Shamik. He however drew attention to the fact that Myntra’s decision to go app only was taken because it made good sense to drive the business of fashion through it, within the e-commerce space. “If mobile browsers could give consumers an experience as rich as an application does, we would have been happy to remain on mobile web as well,” he said.

Talking of consumer engagement for web vs. app, Nitin Bawankule described what he calls the “toothbrush test”. Depending upon the business model and the frequency with which a consumer uses a product or a service, businesses have to decide – if the app or web will deliver the best customer experience.

Some of the differentiators between the two interfaces are multi-touch options, storing and customizing of data, bookmarking consumer preferences, sending notifications and native capabilities of the phone such as GPS, gyroscope, camera etc. The mobile app experience in case of fashion comes across as a far richer and valuable one since it benefits from all these features.

Having the firm belief that the app would be the best way to go forward, Myntra did not want to divide its attention in developing both platforms. There were going to be no halfway measures on either platform. It just made perfect sense to invest fully in a business model where consumers are present.

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