Intro: Innisfree and Spawake are Korean and Japanese skin care brands that offer the Indian consumer a peek into those cultures. With a considerable presence in the country, Doyoul Lee, Managing Director, Innisfree India and Nomura San, Director & CEO, KOSÉ Corporation India, share with Salon India their perspectives on the India market and their businesses since their launch
What has been the response to the brand?
Innisfree: It’s been two years already. Time just flies. Innisfree is a natural brand that shares the benefits of nature from the pristine island of Jeju. It is the first Korean skin care brand that was launched in India and the response has been very encouraging and positive till now. Women in India are very cautious for their skin and need a natural brand for their skin care routine. Hence customers come and understand about the brand and product. They love the fact that all Innisfree products are enriched with Green Tea water because we don’t use any filter water for our products. Today everyone knows the benefits of Green Tea. It contains antioxidant that corrects imperfections of skin, reduces wrinkles and hydrates skin better than water. Indian women are now more out-going and are aware about the brands available around the world. Lot of them has heard about Innisfree since it’s a global brand. Lot of them knows how a typical Korean girl takes care of her skin. They come and enquire in our stores and take the whole regime from us to try. They love our Green tea based products. Mask Sheets and Nail Enamels are amongst the favourites.
Spawake: I am delighted to tell you that the response that the brand has received from customers looking for natural essential care for their skin has been exceptional. It has been a great motivating factor for us, thus, giving us the push to launch the two new products, Moisture Fresh BB Cream and Whitening Triple Care Serum.
What is the USP of the brand?
Innisfree: Enriched with pure natural ingredients.
Spawake: Spawake is an expression of KOSÉ’s commitment to bringing sea deep beauty to every Indian woman. We are proud to bring to the Indian market the benefits of advanced skin care within such an affordable price range, this being a reflection of our dedication to cater to women’s everyday cosmetic needs. Formulated with sea-sourced active ingredients and developed under advanced Japanese technology, Spawake offers effective yet pleasurable skin care solutions to achieve healthy, glowing skin.
What are the marketing strategies?
Innisfree: The brand believes in having a good and healthy relationship with customers and this is one of the major marketing strategy. Hence we reach out to customers through our PR activities. Since lot of people in India still cannot relate to South Korea, we took the media to Jeju Island to show them how beautiful, serene and clean it is and make them understand the brand better. We are also involved in online and social media marketing. Apart from this, we also device some great offers/promotions which run in-store. Indian customers are very sensitive; we need to think how we can give special treatment to them. We give many lucrative offers and deals to our customers.
Spawake: We see a significant untapped growth potential in the digital space. Therefore our marketing strategy focuses largely on digital media to tap into the Indian youth and beauty segment. Apart from this, for Delhi NCR, we are rigorously doing our promotions in newspapers, magazines, and metro branding and more.
What are the categories that have been added to the product range?
Innisfree: The brand has almost every category that women and men need in their beauty life, which starts from skin care like skin, lotion, essence, cream to make-up and body products. We have also added beauty tools category to strengthen our portfolio.
Spawake: Kosé is known for developing the world’s first beauty serum in 1975. The brand has especially introduced Whitening Triple Care Serum for Indian women that brightens dull skin and removes dark spots. We have also recently added Moisture Fresh BB Cream in two shades, Perfect Glow for make-up finish and Natural Glow for daily natural look as per the needs of a contemporary Indian woman.
What are the current SKUs?
Innisfree: We have around 380 SKUs selling in the stores currently. We are importing all our products directly from South Korea. We are planning to expand the SKUs to meet the requirement of Indian customers.
Spawake: It’s been a year and we have touched 18 SKUs.
What are the star products?
Innisfree: Green Tea Seed Serum and Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask are the star products. Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum is a moisturizing serum that is enriched with organic Jeju green tea water and green tea seeds that hydrate your skin from within. It has dual moisture-rising technology from the green tea and green tea seed oil, as it is doubled in content to help the skin stay moisturised. It’s a must try product. The Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore clay Mask is globally a winner of 22 awards and adding one more in its kitty from India recently. A six-in-one pore treatment clay mask with super volcanic cluster capsules that effectively absorb sebum and resolve pore concerns, it is enriched with Jeju volcanic mineral from the explosion of Jeju volcano.
Spawake: Our star products are Spawake Moisturising Face Wash and Spawake Moisturising Fairness Cream for Day.
What is the retail presence in India like?
Innisfree: We have three stores in Khan Market, POP-up store is temporarily operating in DLF Promenade in Vasant Kunj and Galleria in Gurgaon.
Spawake: Currently we have an offline presence mainly in Delhi, NCR with penetration into approximately 300 stores. Spawake products are also available on Myntra and NewU. Seeing the strength and opportunity in the growing e-commerce sector, we have recently launched our own e-commerce portal to reach our consumers pan India, with an offering of low delivery cost.
What is the training imparted to the Beauty Advisors?
Innisfree: We have a regular training programme that helps us to understand the products and strategy better. Our trainer from Korea provides basic skin care knowledge which involves analysing the skin type in order to recommend suitable products, practical exercises regarding new product training and development of customer service are a few things involved in our training programme. We are also preparing for the Global Training Conference in Seoul, Korea in December, 2015.
What are your views on the Indian beauty and wellness industry?
Innisfree: In the recent years, Indian consumers have shown an increase in demand for luxury cosmetics and other beauty products, which is supported by rising disposable incomes and influenced by exposure to global media and fashion. The per capita spending on premium cosmetics has increased nearly two-fold over the last five years, a rate higher than that of mass cosmetics. The demand for hair, nail care and spa services have surged in recent years among affluent consumers. We believe CAGR of almost 25 per cent for most of the beauty and wellness businesses in India would continue to grow.
Spawake: The skin care segment in the Indian market is flooded with natural ingredient-based products. All Spawake products are formulated with Japanese original sea-sourced active ingredients and developed under advanced technology with key ingredients, such as, seaweed extracts and sea salts. These ingredients being exotic are found majorly in premium skin care segment. Therefore, we seek to occupy a large share of the total space in premium mass segment in the future.
What are your plans for the future?
Innisfree: The current beauty trends in India show an interest and requirement for natural products, which we believe, Innisfree, is able to match. By focusing more on introducing new natural products, it is our endeavour to make our brand loved by Indian customers and deliver Innisfree’s green beauty. We also believe investing in proper test and learn processes for the Indian market would help us understand the market and hence get a chance to satisfy them with customised products and services. Once we are settled in Delhi/NCR, we plan to expand all over India.
Spawake: We plan to penetrate into approximately 200 more stores in the coming few months, along with a pan-India presence through online e-commerce. We are also looking forward to expanding our establishment in other regions of India in the near future. We also plan on launching at least one new product every six months