Despite the recent spike in growth in the beauty sector, the industry overall has faced severe challenges in the last two years to maintain its consumer base. However, some brands because of their additional efforts were able to retain the faith of their business partners in the brand. And Lakme Salon is one such brand.
“It’s heartening to see that despite the pandemic affecting the salon industry, our current and potential business partners still have faith in our brand. We plan to continue this momentum through this year and next,” said Pushakaraj Shenai, CEO, Lakmé Lever.
This certainly would not be possible without the company's efforts towards fortifying the brand's relationship with its partners.
“Business partners have told us that customers trust the Lakmé Salon brand and therefore prefer spending time here rather than in local salons. Our franchise model allows us to spread far and wide, with partners who know the ins and outs of those particular markets and demographics,” Shenai further stated.
Preeti Dias, Franchise partner said, “Lakmé Lever treats us not as partners, but as their own network, so we received consistent support, training, and waivers on our royalties to ensure we could keep going. Our experts continued to receive digital training through the pandemic, which not only helped them hone their technical and soft skills but also prepared them to adapt to the new normal practices. We also stayed in touch with our customers, providing them with at-home care routines and access to our experts through virtual consultations, so once salons reopened, they were all back in the salon chair in no time.”
Despite having a strong digital presence via its websites and social channels, the company upped the ante at the onset of the pandemic to ensure it could continue meeting its customer's needs and recommend home care regimes for them until they were ready to welcome them back into the salon. Also, in terms of expansion, the company continued to expand its footprint across Tier I, II, and II cities in India through its franchising model.
Every Lakmé Salon has a separate retail zone so that customers can immediately purchase the products recommended to them by their 'backstage experts' post their service. The best global products from its partner brands, including Dermalogica, TIGI Bedhead, Schwarzkopf, and Moroccanoil, are available here.
Given the logistical challenges that have peaked in the last two years, relying on the franchise model of business to expand one’s business reach has become critically instrumental.
Moreover, the brand has partnered with Bombay Shaving Company to extend its service offerings.
“Joining hands with Bombay Shaving Company enables us to fast-track expansion into the men’s grooming space. We are creating men’s zones across 200 Lakmé Salons; the services will be provided by our experts who have been trained by the grooming and product experts at Bombay Shaving Company. We have found an agile, premium, and trustworthy partner in the brand, and are super excited about beautifying the future together,” Shenai stated.
Like in other sectors, and the beauty and salon industry specifically, the need to get on speed with changing market trends and to widen the online presence has made the brands rely heavily on the new-age technologies.
“At Lakmé Salon, our constant endeavor is to go one step higher and leverage technology to provide customized solutions to our clients across hair, skin and makeup categories. Through both the lockdown, though our salons were shut, we stayed in touch with our customers through personalized phone calls, messages, and our website,” Shenai said.
At Lakme, customers can book virtual consultations for hair, skin, or makeup with any of its National Creative Directors or experts on our website, post which they home deliver the recommended products for their at-home care. The company also continued training its teams digitally through the lockdowns and over the course of the year. Their experts have gone through over 8,00,000 hours of training, both soft and technical.
“We have more tech innovations in the pipeline,” Shenai further stated.
Both malls and high streets are important destinations for Lakmé Salon. Customers would often visit mall salons without appointments for quick services post or between their shopping trips – it’s less common for customers to come to a mall just to visit the salon. On the other hand, regular customers or those seeking a more holistic beauty and wellness experience are more likely to visit a high-street salon and will also likely have a particular expert they prefer.
The company informed that in the post-pandemic phase, due to restrictions on mall visits, the company’s high-street salons have seen more footfalls.
In fact, the company has been working on its omnichannel strategy to better engage with its consumers.
Shenai said, “While we’ve always had a strong digital presence via our websites and social channels, we upped the ante at the onset of the pandemic to ensure we could continue meeting our customer's needs and recommend home care regimes for them until we were ready to welcome them back into the salon. Whether it was customer engagement or team training, we quickly pivoted to a digital-first approach, and stayed agile through the unpredictable circumstances.”