Rahul Kumar Ram, 23, owns a small tailoring shop in Bally, a neighbourhood in Howrah, approximately 16 km from Kolkata. He has been in the tailoring business for six years and earns about ₹10,000 a month. “During festival period and wedding season the monthly income could be anywhere between ₹15,000 and ₹17,000,” he says.

With high-cost-of-living, Ram has been exploring avenues to make more money on a regular basis. “I always wanted to use my tailoring skills in an organised and professional setup. My friend works with Myntra and he helped me connect with them. I recently associated with the company to take up alteration orders such as length and size for its customers,” says Ram.

Earlier this month, the online fashion retailer launched alteration service for its customers. The new feature enables shoppers to opt for alteration services at their doorstep for apparel purchased on Myntra. In the initial phase, the service is being launched in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata, offering length and size alterations for jeans and trousers for men. In the next phase, the service will include length and size alterations for womenswear. Currently Myntra has tied up with 200 tailors in locations that have a large number of its customer base.

Like Ram, Raja, 43, who runs BRM Tailors in Bengaluru’s Bellandur area has provided over a dozen alteration services to Myntra customers within the first week of its launch. “My monthly income from the shop is not enough to meet business and household expenses, especially with three children and old parents,” says Raja. He hopes that his new source of income will help him get quality education for his children and expand his business.

Manish Pansari, senior vice president and head of operations, Myntra Jabong points out that the return rate in the fashion category is higher among customers in the online space. Reason: size and fit issues. “More than half of the returns is due to size and fit issues. We keep evaluating what are the fashion specific services that we can offer to our customers. This helps online shoppers get the same feel of offline shopping experience,” he says.

Typically a customer can opt for alteration service once the product is delivered. If there is any size or fit issue, the tailor will pick up the product from the customer’s residence after taking necessary measurements. Myntra says that the product will be delivered to the doorstep within 24 to 48 hours. Currently the alteration service is being offered at no extra cost to customers while the online retailer pays a certain amount to tailors for the service.

India’s e-commerce industry is overcrowded and highly commoditised where companies clone each other’s offerings in no time. For online retailers, differentiated offering is the only way to stay ahead of competition.

“In physical stores customers have an option to try out clothes in the fitting room and select according to their size and fit. It also provides minor alteration services as well. In the online space that option was missing. We wanted to provide that service at a larger scale,” says Pansari.

The basic criteria for tailors to associate with Myntra include a tailoring shop at a convenient location and the expertise to execute the alterations as per standards. Myntra points out that its on-ground team would train tailors on using the platform to cater to requests from the neighbourhood and the necessary customer engagement skills.

Myntra has introduced other services in the past geared towards luring the fickle online customer who is typically vendor-agnostic and seeks the best product at the lowest price. In 2017 it launched Myntra extended network for service augmentation (MENSA). The MENSA network partners with kirana stores for last mile deliveries and currently has 15,000 stores across 50 cities. The programme today caters to 70% of all its deliveries on Myntra. Apart from kirana stores, the Bengaluru-based e-commerce company also have tailors, mobile recharge shop owners, parlours, and others joining the programme to do deliveries during off peak business hours.

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