Influencer marketing has long been a familiar concept in the world, but a new trend is sweeping across the Indian consumer industry – the emergence of virtual influencers. Global giants like Nike, Calvin Klein, and Samsung have been leveraging this phenomenon for years, and in January 2022, India hopped on the bandwagon with its very first virtual influencer named ‘Kyra.’
Joining the league now is Myntra, the e-commerce platform owned by Walmart, as it introduces ‘Maya,’ its premier virtual fashion influencer. Sunder Balasubramanian, Myntra’s Chief Marketing Officer, reveals that “Maya, an integral part of Myntra Fashion Forward (FWD), will serve as a social media influencer and will also be involved in Myntra’s own social commerce on the Myntra Studio platform.”
Balasubramanian further explains, “In collaboration with our influencers, Maya will contribute to setting trends and assisting users in identifying them, thus providing a seamless shopping experience.” This digital avatar, known as ‘@maya_unlimited’ on Instagram, exists within Myntra’s virtual universe, with her base located in Bengaluru.
Launching alongside Myntra’s 18th biannual ‘End of Reason Sale’ (EORS), Maya will play the role of a ‘style hacker’ for Generation Z, offering insights into the latest trends and deals. Balasubramanian shares, “Recognizing the need to blend global progress with the interests of the next generation, we are at the forefront with Maya, who will redefine fashion with her trendy and audacious approach, appealing to fashion-forward individuals across the nation.”
EORS-18 is scheduled to kick off on June 1, 2023, with exclusive early access granted to ‘Myntra Insiders’ on May 31. The event will feature a vast collection of over 6,000 brands and two million styles. As per the company, Maya will handpick her favorite choices from EORS-18 and showcase the trendiest FWD styles on her Instagram, providing a sneak peek into the future of product endorsements.
Insights from the ‘Virtual Influencers Survey 2022’ reveal that 58% of respondents follow at least one virtual influencer, with 27% following for the content, 19% for storytelling, and 15% for the inspiration they provide.
Myntra has been deeply integrating AI into its operations, evident from recent introductions like MyStylist, a digital personal stylist for users, and MyFashionGPT, which enables users to conduct searches in a conversational manner rather than relying solely on keywords. Balasubramanian concludes, “These tools not only allow users to explore a wide variety of exciting offers but also discover them in a way that suits their preferences.” The platform has also enhanced its technology by enabling search in over 11 languages to cater to a diverse range of consumers.