Myntra’s ‘profiles’ zigs when others zag

When I switch on Netflix on TV, the first thing it asks me is to choose the profile. Ditto with Amazon Prime, which added profiles much after Netflix.

Why is this so? Because the TV is a device used by all in the family. And depending on the profile chosen, it may ask for the PIN (or not) and show content that it believes is appropriate for that profile (based on age appropriateness, for instance; or content previously watched).

But then, Netflix asks us to choose a profile even on the mobile version, which is a personal device!

So the larger reason is personalization – to observe our content consumption habits and try to customize the content being shown to us. Why? So that we are more happy/satisfied.

Have you ever wondered why e-commerce apps, the likes of Amazon or Flipkart, don’t ask us to create and choose profiles when we open them?

Myntra has just launched ‘profiles’ in their mobile app! Not just create and customize my own profile, but create additional profiles for other people that I may buy stuff for!

I have the Myntra app on my phone. My wife has it too. But Myntra would see us as 2 separate users.

I have the Amazon app on my phone. My wife has it too. But she uses it only to browse, not to buy. She sends me the links to what she wants, and I buy them from my app. Why? Amazon Prime! My phone number/email is Prime member in the family.

This is not very different from me using a specific credit card to buy stuff for all in the family. Reason: the points are accumulated in the card that has the best rewards. In my case, I have the Amazon-branded ICICI card that offers fantastic cashbacks on Amazon purchases. So, we simply order via Amazon on my phone, using that card.

So it makes a lot of sense for an e-commerce app to have multiple profile options, particularly with the likes of Amazon where a Prime membership is a fairly crucial deal.

But right now, there’s no pressing context for Myntra to have them in the absence of a Prime-like magnet, but I believe it’s a great start in the right direction nonetheless.

I order very often for my wife and kids, on Amazon. And when I choose a shirt for my son, it recommends the size based on my size requirements. If the app had profiles, I could shop as my son (using the profile I had created for him) and the recommendations would be far more appropriate and useful.

Not just that, even the product recommendations may become more useful as the app learns from the purchases against each profile.

In fact, when you create a profile on Myntra, it asks you to enter some basic details – gender, age, size specifications, skin tone, and so on. I’m sure there’s more because I haven’t gone deep into each or added details against each.

So, eventually, I’m assuming all these details would help the app become more purposeful towards each profile, and hence towards me as a super-user for my family.

But, considering it is early days for this new feature, the ‘profiles’ part is barely functional and quite rudimentary.

I cannot even change/edit the profile name!

Ideally, the app should ask me to segregate my previous purchases (at least from the last 20-30) against each profile so that it can start learning. But nothing like that happens now. All the purchases show up against all the profiles, at least for now.

But, overall this is an interesting move. Most e-commerce apps assume by default that the user who has installed is the sole owner and buyer. Even if they allow us to add more addresses and send them directly, the basic assumption remains – one phone, one user/buyer.

From what I know, Myntra is perhaps the first e-commerce app to add ‘profiles’. This is significant considering we are already accustomed to ‘profiles’ through most OTT platform apps on TV/mobile.

But all this starts with reframing the primary assumption of ‘one phone, one buyer’, and reimagining the phone as a TV in the house, which may be used for more than one person!

The clincher is that even if each person in the family has a phone of their own, some kinds of purchases may be made through only one device (and app) and the others may be only browsing the app (if they have it at all).

Interestingly, if I apply this logic to food ordering apps like Zomato or Swiggy, it crumbles down 🙂

By default, we usually have only one person in the family (or a group of friends) ordering
for all. It may be way too cumbersome to add the names of each person in the family as ‘profiles’ and sort each food item against a profile for the app to learn.

But Myntra is trying precisely this. It’s clunky right now, and I’m not sure how much effort it is going to put behind this (the feature hasn’t even been announced formally to the world yet!). But I like the approach – it zigs where others zag!