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On-demand beauty services: The next big opportunity?

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In an age where technology is influencing virtually every path-to-purchase, can the supply chain for beauty services remain unaffected? The demand for quick but quality beauty services has paved the way for several on-demand beauty service startups, who connect beauty and wellness service providers and users online. In the past two years, as many as two dozen companies have sprung up in this business. Some of these are MyGlamm, Orange and lemon, Stayglad, The Home Salon, and VanityCube, among others.
These start-ups enable customers to get beauty, styling and ‘get ready’ services at their doorsteps by connecting them to verified, trained, experienced and certified beauty service professionals either through websites (Stayglad, VanityCube) or through a mobile application (MyGlamm).
“The biggest advantage of an on-demand beauty services model is that it reaches out to a much wider audience in comparison to a salon whose reach is limited to its geography.
Beauty treatments are an essential part of every woman’s grooming requirements. They often get compromised due to lack of time and increasingly demanding schedules,”says Prateek Jain of Bangalore based on-demand beauty services website Stayglad.
“Via platforms such as ours, these services become much more accessible without inconveniencing the customer,” he adds.
Stayglad, which is currently operational in Bangalore, is bullish about the growth of the segment and has recently raised an undisclosed amount in angel funding from Tracxn Labs, Delhivery co-founder Sahil Barua and other investors. The company is planning to utilise the funds to augment its footprint in other cities and to launch a mobile app. The company’s revenue model is based on commissions from beauty professionals, which ranges between 10-20 per cent of on every transaction.
Quality is King
Just like Stayglad, Delhi-based VanityCube also delivers on-demand professional and affordable beauty services at consumers’ doorsteps as fast as in 90 minutes from placing orders. VanityCube is currently operational in Gurgaon and South Delhi and will soon be operational in the entire NCR. As on date, VanityCube had reportedly served more than 1500-plus customers, with 70 per cent of those being repeat customers.
According to some industry estimates, the market size for beauty services in India stands at about USD4.8 billion and growing fast.
While there are many websites that offer information about doorstep salons and stylists, consumers are usually not very trustful about the quality of services and how much to pay. Along with saving consumers’ time and providing convenience, these startups also focus closely on quality of products used and experience of professional.
“I think beauty is more personal, hence standardisation of quality and service delivery on time are our focus areas. The artists are selected through various quality checks on the basis of their experience, skills and training. If our customers end up satisfied with the quality of our services, we have achieved our target,” explains Jain.

Growing Investor Interest

Right from laundry to logistics, grocery delivery and foodservice, among others, Indian startups are rushing to capture the lucrative online space with scores of innovative concepts. On-demand beauty services is a segment which has seen this rush only in recent times.
For instance, local service providers like UrbanClap, LocalOye, Taskbob and others, who until recently were providing need-based services, are also now eyeing beauty, fitness and at-home personal care services to garner greater transaction volumes and repeat use.
Flatpebble, an online aggregator that promises to help find the best photographer for an event, is reportedly all set to roll out beauty and styling services by the next quarter in Bangalore. Similarly, Crown-it, a deal site for restaurants, and food and beverages, recently announced the addition of a beauty and wellness category, along with leisure travel, while Ziffi (previously an appointment site for doctors — docSuggest) has expanded its offering to cover wellness as a whole.
Investors, for their part, also seem to see value in the on-demand beauty service segment. Beauty and grooming e-commerce platform Purplle had raised over USD5 million in a Series A round from IvyCap Ventures in January this year. Another on-demand home beauty and wellness services platform, The Home Salon (THS), has recently received seed investment by members of angel-backed start-up accelerator VentureNursery.
With investors shovelling money and start-ups being bullish on growth, the future of this segment seems bright. Since the size of opportunity is over USD4.5 billion, it’s big enough for multiple players to enter.
“The sector is rich and there is a lot of opportunity. This is only the start of this segment and more players entering the market will help in growing the pie and also marketing this segment,” Jain notes.
“Eventually, the winner will be one who is going to sit at the intersection of price, convenience and, more than anything, quality,” he concludes.

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