innisfree, the Korean naturalism brand from the pristine Jeju Island in South Korea, has recently launched its flagship store in Gurugram at Ambience Mall. The opening of this store marks their seventh outpost in India.
The new innisfree store encompasses an exclusive Jeju Island experience with Virtual Reality technology. innisfree’s VR program delivers a real-life experience of clean and pure energy, features a 360-degrees viewing angle and 3D technology, and consists of a user-interactive system that supports reaction against users’ sight and action.
With the launch of innisfree’s latest store at Ambience Mall, the brand aims to introduce world-class technology to its Indian consumers to provide a highly enhancing brand experience that overcomes the limits of time and space.
In an interview with IMAGES Retail Bureau, Doyoul Lee, CEO, innisfree, talks about the brand journey of the brand in India, its future plans and a lot more. Excerpts from the exclusive chat…
Tell us about innisfree’s retail journey in India.
We launched innisfree in India four year ago and it has been a learning curve for us in terms of understanding the Indian consumer’s needs. I feel we have done this well since we have received a very positive response from our customers. Since the response has been so good, we feel comfortable in continuing to launch new SKU’s and we do this keeping in mind the likes and requirements of our Indian consumer base.
Last year, we launched the innisfree store at Nykaa.com and we have actually performed better online than we had predicted. With an overwhelming response from both online and offline channels of sale, we are now considering investing more in and expanding our marketing activities aggressively to increase our brand awareness in the country.
How do you perceive India as a market for beauty and skincare industry?
The Indian beauty industry has several segments within its fold including skincare, cosmetics, hair care, and fragrance. All these segments have witnessed significant growth in the recent years. The industry in India is growing rapidly at a growth rate of 15-20 percent which is almost twice as that of the US or European market. I personally believe that the Indian beauty market has great potential and therefore we are seeing a number of global players entering India. I do not doubt the fact that the Indian beauty market will eventually grow to one of the most significant markets in the world.
Who is your target audience?
Innisfree’s core target audience includes women between 20 and 35 years of age, SEC A+, SEC A and B class. The consumer profile is that of young and smart individuals who believe in nature and in eco-friendly products.
What makes innisfree stand apart from other beauty and skincare brands in India?
One of the main factors that sets us apart from other brands is that all innisfree products are naturally sourced from the island of Jeju in South Korea and all products are organic and chemical free. We believe in giving a complete experience to our customers and therefore the interiors of our newest store actually consists of a vertical garden, so they feel fresh even indoors. Since offline stores are our branding space, we try and bring in new and fresh ideas to preserve our brand value and to enhance customer experience.
Then we have launched the innisfree virtual reality experience through which customers can experience the pure Jeju island virtually and can learn about the ingredients we use in our products.
We also pride ourselves on following, picking up on and creating new trends at a tremendous pace.
How many SKUs do you have?
We currently have over 1,000 SKU’s in our South Korean stores. In India we have 550 SKUs in our new store at Ambience Mall Gurugram, although we are working on bringing in more SKUs to the Indian market with the aid of the customer feedback that we receive.
Do you have any category expansion plans in the Indian market?
We have recently introduced perfumes in our Ambience Mall store in Gurugram. Apart from this, the strategy is to study local consumers and their feedback and bring in products they want. We are also planning to introduce baby care products as well.
What is the average ticket size – both online and offline?
There is a 50 percent gap between our online and offline ticket size. On an average the offline ticket size is Rs 3,000, while online it is Rs 1,500.
Let’s talk about your Omnichannel strategy in India.
We work on the principle that every customer is important to us – online or offline and hence for now, we are working on integrating our offline and online channels of sale to provide our patrons with a seamless shopping experience. In addition to this, we are also extending our online space to meet Indian customers in Tier II & III cities.
Tell us about your marketing and promotion strategies.
Our marketing strategy is very customer-focused. innisfree is still not a very well-known brand across India and this is something we are actively working to change. We are reaching out to relevant audiences and informing them about our brand as well as the activities and campaigns that we conduct. Our Green Life Campaigns have gained quite a bit of popularity including the Eco Handkerchief Campaign, Empty Bottle Recycle Campaign and Green Christmas Campaign.
We engage with our customers through our social-networking platforms and continue investing in the brand so that we can reach out to a larger audience.
What are your India expansion plans?
By the end of 2017, we had eight offline stores and one online store. We are looking at expanding and opening up to seven new stores in the coming year, including cities like Bengaluru and Chennai. By 2020, we hope to have more than 30 stores in India.
Your brand is expanding at a very slow pace in India compared to other big-ticket foreign brands. What is the reason for this?
Being one of the first South Korean brands to enter the Indian market, we took time to study and test our catchment areas closely and understand the needs of consumers. Post this, we launched India exclusive products like kajal, hair oil and Indian skin tone specific shades of foundation and lipsticks. The first year was all about studying the market. The second year – 2018 – will be the year we expand aggressively in India from.
With these changes, we hope that our same-store sales growth reach up to 50 percent growth and in the next five years, I hope to see innisfree counted among the top three brands in the beauty and skincare industry in India.