One word to describe the past year and the changes it brought to the lives of people: unprecedented and unimaginable. The pandemic caused by Covid-19 has had a drastic impact on almost every sphere of life, it has changed the way people used to interact with each other, shop, and live their lives. However, with this becoming the new normal and the new way of living, people have started finding a silver lining within this ‘unprecedented’. Many started finding new interests and following newer routines, utilizing the ample time during the lockdown. One such growing interest was towards self-care which included working out, following newer skincare and haircare routines, etc. People started nurturing their skin with new products and focusing on gut health – suddenly everything was about holistic wellbeing and better living.
One of these silver linings that emerged from this has been increased interest in beauty routines. While the global beauty industry (comprising skincare, color cosmetics, haircare, fragrances, and personal care) has been shocked by the COVID-19 crisis initially, it picked up pace as people started focusing more on elaborate skincare and haircare routines. The industry currently is attracting both investors and consumers and is slated for the next level of growth. The initial months of 2021 have seen more funding in D2C beauty space in India than in all of 2020, confirmed Tracxn.
According to a report by Avendus, the global beauty and personal care market is expected to touch US$ 725 billion by 2025 and the fledgling Indian market is expected to grow to US$ 28 billion by then.
Kiehl’s is one such beauty brand leveraging this growth potential, extending the finest skincare apothecary to its customer base in India. The brand has launched its e-boutique to refill people’s skincare digitally. While the technological push is helping the brand keep its customer base in close proximity, the brand has been consulting them as well and giving them insights on the best skincare and hair care routines during the ongoing pandemic.
Santosh Kumar, DGM, Kiehl’s India, asserts, “The Kiehl’s India e-commerce website was launched in June last year with an aim to cater to all skincare needs of the Indian consumer with effective and tested dermatologist solutions and men's grooming ranges in addition to the iconic formulas like Calendula Range, Clearly Corrective Range and many more products. The website offers tailor-made services to provide one-on-one personalized consultation and a skincare routine. In a changed scenario, omni experience is relevant for consumers hence Kiehl’s is paying attention to in-store and online channels to give them a well-rounded experience.”
Kiehl’s India has been continuously pivoting in order to stay relevant and significant in India’s beauty segment and in order to retain its customer base during the ongoing crisis and the brand has witnessed a visible increase in the consumer base, as well as sales, post the launch of the e-commerce website.
Indian Retailer interacted with Santosh Kumar on this tech innovation, its performance, and also on recommended skincare and haircare routine, during the pandemic.
What all facilities/ technological advancements have you incorporated in the newly launched website to make it truly digital?
Santosh Kumar: In order to ensure the standards of quality, the website is constantly evolving. In the recent past, the additional features added to the website are – virtual consultation, live chat, and Whatsapp shopping, bringing Kiehl’s shopping experience to your doorstep. The website offers tailor-made services to provide one-on-one personalized consultation and a skincare routine.
The new e-boutique is intuitive, user-friendly, and takes virtual consultation to new heights. With a sophisticated user interface designed to make shopping online a fulfilling experience, the website is optimized for mobile phones and desktops. The e-boutique gives various segments into separate sections such as bestsellers, new arrivals, brightening, anti-aging, and gifts.
The consultation is purely personalized. One can ask all skincare queries, over one-on-one format with our coveted skincare experts. One can avail of a skincare consultation with the click of a few buttons and from the comfort of one’s own home. In case of skin concerns, an individual can book a virtual consultation with the KCRs to get a skincare routine that is specific to their needs. Online consultation has played a key role in building the consumer’s trust for the brand. This has helped us understand the consumers much better as our KCRs interact with them on a one-on-one basis.
What’s your advice for skin and hair care routine during the current times?
Santosh Kumar: In the current times, each individual should be aware of what products work for their skin type and it is integral to understand the concerns that are specific only to them. Firstly, one should have a night and daytime routine as it allows us to spend some time taking care of ourselves and in turn provides us with calmness. Secondly, one should include an eye cream in the nighttime skincare routine as it provides the skin with time to rejuvenate, and with the increase in screen time, it is an essential step. Lastly, for haircare, a scalp massage helps in relaxing the body and improves blood circulation.
Are you using influencers too for beauty consultations? How is it working out for the brand?
Santosh Kumar: Yes, the brand is enhancing the consumer experience by influencers who are helping in setting a routine as per their skin concern. As a brand, Kiehl’s has collaborated with different categories of influencers. There have been live sessions with them on social media to discuss skincare tips and lifestyle habits.
We are trying to partner with influencers from categories like wellness, beauty, health, makeup artists as they help in creating a holistic campaign for the brand. The wellness influencers talk about the soothing effects that skincare has and also help in calming the mind. The health influencers provide useful advice that helps in aiding the skin as it is a reflection of what our diet constitutes. The beauty influencers provide consumers with recommendations for skin problems and also guide them on the best skincare routine for morning and nighttime. Lastly, the makeup artists mentor the consumers to get flawless skin for getting the best of their makeup while stepping out for occasions.
The consumers are elated to interact with the influencers and are also active participants in the live sessions that take place on the Instagram page of the brand.
How is Kiehl’s product assortment different and better than others in the market?
Santosh Kumar: Kiehl’s extends to its consumers the finest skincare apothecary and at the same time ensures that all safety guidelines are met. The driving force of Kiehl’s vision is the ‘try before you buy’ initiative allowing clients to try products before they purchase. This 92-year old initiative has won hearts and has led to loyal patronage over the years. Taking a cue from the success of Kiehl’s stores across the world, it’s no surprise that all Kiehl’s customer representatives have the technical know-how to guide clients and leave no stone unturned to provide unmatchable service and expertise.
Kiehl's was founded as an old-world apothecary in New York's East Village neighborhood. Its unique, extensive background represents a blend of cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal, and medicinal knowledge developed and advanced through the generations. Kiehl's India is providing safe home delivery options, contactless delivery to its customers. The stores are all sanitized and safe for shopping purposes. Kiehl's provides gifting options for friends and family and has a great range of corporate and individual gifting options for celebrating occasions.
Kiehl's Made Better campaign has been made keeping in mind the changing consumption patterns of the consumer base as they have now taken a drastic shift towards being more thoughtful about each purchase. Skincare routine is now based on ingredients that are naturally sourced and provide us with benefits that get us positivity and are beneficial in the longer run. Each product from Kiehl’s has one key ingredient that has been sourced from nature, and the list of these ingredients keeps growing with time. Secondly, all of them are derived sustainably and are sourced directly from farmers hence enabling communities to thrive. Thirdly, Kiehl's Recycle and Be Rewarded Program has led to consumers ensuring that they are mindful about the environment and encouraging them to participate. Lastly, products are manufactured by using post-consumer recycled materials wherever possible. Since 2005, the Co2 emissions have been reduced by 82 percent, water consumption has been reduced by 21 percent and waste generation has been drastically reduced by 36 percent.