“What do I get her?” The one question that never seems to have the right answer. Gifting has always been tricky business, what works, what doesn’t, what’s appropriate, what’s not; the check-list is exhaustive. After running through the most likely options (chocolates, clothes, perfumes) people took to the idea of gift vouchers, which allow the receiver the flexibility of picking a gift within the specified time-frame. While this was an option of convenience, it made the process of gifting rather impersonal.
The team I formed three years ago is still working at Myntra and that kind of commitment is what has differentiated us from other start-ups,” states Bansal.
Sensing a sizeable business opportunity in this space, Mukesh Bansal founded www.myntra.com, an online store that provides a range of gifting options with innovative and quirky designs that will never be out of vogue. From t-shirts to coffee mugs, watches to jewellery boxes and even wine glasses, the range spans 150 products that can be customised to your liking. While Myntra has a range of in-house designs to choose from, the customer has the option of creating his own sketch or getting a photo printed on the chosen product. “Over the years we have built a large designer community who are freelance designers, publishing creative content on our website so as an end customer one can either use their own photograph or select content from us,” says Bansal.
Identifying the USP
Apart from the variety of designs in their product offering, Myntra has cashed in on the cricket frenzy in India by associating with Nike to provide team India jerseys to their online consumers. That’s not all, they also have a tie-up with Adidas unit Reebok to sell team apparel of four of the Indian Premier League teams. Cricket fans have another reason to rejoice, since myntra has an exclusive Yuvraj Singh online merchandise store. “The Yuvraj Singh commercial store is one of a kind in India. Overall, celebrity merchandise is a new field in India. We have tied up with one of the celebrity management companies and worked with them to develop merchandise for Yuvraj Singh,” elaborates Bansal. They are also in the process of launching a merchandise store involving an undisclosed cricket star in January. “All we can say is that he is one of the biggest cricketing talents in India,” adds Bansal.
It is not just individuals who gain from this unique gifting concept, corporate clients also add to Myntra’s patronage. “Initially we were focussing only on consumers but we started getting enquiries from companies and colleges to get some personalised products for occasions and slowly we realised that there was a lot of inefficiency in the overall corporate gifting market,” says Bansal. The established vendors show interest in executing large orders as their entire supply chain is optimised for large volumes. Most of the vendors still have proprietary concerns, no one offers personalisation of gifts and the overall experience for a consumer has fallen short of pleasant. By addressing this gap in the gifting world, myntra.com has found a unique space in an industry where there is little or no competition.
Preparing for challenges
Bansal has previously worked with four start-ups in a span of eight years, two of which failed and the other two succeeded. This period exposed him to the challenges of a start-up. “There was a sense of what to look forward to and in a way I was mentally prepared for what was in store,” explains Bansal. The first step was to put together a team that had an entrepreneurial bent of mind. The key was to reach out to various forums where people with an interest in entrepreneurship would participate and like minded people were brought in during the early stages of the company. “The team I formed three years ago is still working at Myntra and that kind of commitment is what has differentiated us from other start-ups,” states Bansal.
Getting the right marketing mix
While marketing is an important aspect of an online business, especially with numerous sites offering various services, there is a need to break the clutter. “A majority of the marketing for our consumers happens online through search engine optimisation / search engine marketing. We have been quite successful in finding really large affiliates such as IndyaRocks, Bigadda, Ibibo, Cricinfo and with these associations we have got a lot of online traffic,” says Bansal. “Our target is to establish a bigger footprint before we start to spend money on mass scale advertising,” says Bansal. On the corporate marketing side, they participate in exhibitions and conferences (where you can be assured that a lot of decision makers from human resources would be present) and publish catalogues and flyers.
While Internet usage is definitely on the rise, Myntra felt the need to establish a physical presence. They have established 30 brick and mortar stores where customers can sample their personalised orders, order gifts and even make cash transactions which is not possible online.
So the next time you are in a fix about interesting gifting ideas, click on www.myntra.com, the added incentive being that you may even get paid for publishing your own designs. Gifting was never this profitable!