The global beauty industry generates $500 billion in sales a year and accounts for millions of jobs, directly and indirectly, as per a report by McKinsey. However, when the pandemic hit, the industry like many others turned their responsive modes on, distributing sanitizers and taking care of the community.
However, the economic impact remained a mix. The entire country went into lockdown, hindering the sales for e-commerce and hence, the beauty/skincare items as well. A number of stores also shut down and brands relied on digital for their sales and growth. D2C brands found the opportunity in this gap and also gained investor’s attraction.
Mamaearth, MyGlamm, SUGAR cosmetics, WOW Skin Science, Skin Pot Co, Pilgrim have emerged as strong players in the market. As part of our Tech Gurus Series, we talked to Anondeep Ganguly, co-founder & CEO, Skin Pot to talk about the repercussions and the opportunities of the industry.
Finding the silver lining
One thing stays the same for every sector and industry when they go through a crisis- optimism, willpower and agility. Ganguly is one such leader as he told us how the brand turned the challenge into an opportunity, while taking care of the colleagues’ space. They tried multiple things to reduce the overhead cost and invest the amount in brand awareness. He claims that this approach helped the brand immensely to turn the tables.
Talking about the shift in trends, he mentioned that people were buying more skincare products than cosmetics as they were not going out. Due to the lockdown, consumers were focussing more on their skincare.
The company has also invested in automation and new age tools. “We have integrated several automated tools like Zoho, a few community-building platforms and data analytic tools too. These tools helped us crunch data and decipher our cohort more effectively. These investments in technology have indeed helped us drive a certain amount of growth,” he said.
The Tech Angle
Luckily, Skin Pot was already focussing on their tech stack and hence, there were no extreme challenges faced by the brand. The IT professional shared that they understood the importance of technology very early and hence integrated a lot of data and analysis while making decisions.
“Be it increasing our business, understanding our cohort, developing new products, customer feedback and business efficiency, I think technology is something that we integrated at our core to scale up our brand.”
CX is a key lever for all digital first brands and brands do not shy away from trying out new things, leveraging different technologies, investing in platforms anymore. For Ganguly, the IT team has helped them understand their customers’ needs, their journeys and fill the gaps. He also believes that a company needs to do a lot of trial and error that a company needs to do before they adopt any technology. Although the IT professionals of today have a lot of knowledge and experience, they must know how to have a seamless integration.
Personalisation will be the future of the sector
Ganguly believes that hyper personalisation is going to rule the D2C world, however it will take a lot of time keeping the current circumstances in mind. The 100% D2C is only possible through personalisation or a subscription model, and he thinks that it will have a big impact on the beauty industry. However, subscription models seem to be a far-fetched dream right now and hence he advises fellow entrepreneurs to focus on formulation and invest heavily in building their brand. It is also imperative to pay full attention to technology integration right from the start to get its full benefits.
Ganguly claims that Skin Pot is the first brand to talk about skin microbiome and the importance of balancing good and bad bacteria. The brand also focuses on sustainable hybrid products to have a larger impact. Going forward, the company plans to explore the opportunity to collaborate with larger brands and collectively come out with new categories.
“We also intend to implement new technology that would enhance the buyer experience both online and offline, understand the cohort much better and know their needs by effectively communicating with them. Content is something that is the first point of contact with our cohort, so having the content in the right direction is very important to us.”