Flipkart owned fashion e-tailer Myntra is expanding its offline presence by launching its first offline store in Bangalore under one of its private label brand called Roadster, reports ET.  A spokesperson for Myntra confirmed the development with MediaNama. The ecommerce company had been planning for its offline push since October last year and added at least 10 private label brands including Roadster, Dressberry, HRX among others to its portfolio.

According to the report, the store located at Indiranagar spans an area of 3,500 sq ft. The store is automated with gadgets, touch screen monitors, virtual reality gears for better catalogue viewing. The store has also built a custom payment interface, which allows users to pay for purchases online using a bar code system. The company’s CTO Ajit Narayanan was quoted as saying in the report that the Virtual Reality feature will provide 360 videos (ads) about Roadster, which serves as a promotion/advertising platform.

However, it is not clear whether the company plans to expand with more stores, and whether there is an option to make an order online on Myntra and later pick it up from the store. MediaNama has inquired about this in a query to Myntra and will update the story once they respond. Myntra claims that the Roadster brand launched in 2012, has generated more than Rs 500 crore in revenues since launch, with more than 7500 products. Apart from this, Myntra had earlier started selling Jewellery online through a tie-up with Titan-owned Tanishq. The company is targeting revenues of Rs 500 crore over the next three years from its jewellery section.

Competition in fashion ecommerce segment

Myntra will now directly compete with Tata Group’s ecommerce store TataCLiQ which operates via an omnichannel model. The portal allows customers to place orders online, while the inventory is stored at offlineTata CLiQ retail shops. Customers can also pick up orders straight from these retail outlets. Apart from this, India has several apparel-focused ecommerce stores like Voonik which raised $20 million in a Series B in June last year. Other notable players include Jabong, which was recently acquired by Flipkart for $70 million. In September last year, ecommerce giant Amazon launched its first private label fashion brand in India and invested close to Rs 7000 crores into its India operations in 2016.

Nikhil Adds: Several online companies have tried going offline: MakeMyTrip, Yatra, and even Jeevansathi and Shaadi.com added offline retail points for assisted stores. Why would Myntra, a part of a company that is already significantly loss making, go offline and add store rental costs to its business? Online offers consumers a much greater shelf space, ease of ordering and delivery, and it offers retailers comparatively lower costs for that scale. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that online retail of clothes isn’t the same as the retail of standardised products like electronics and books: there is no one-size-fits-all.