The year 2020 has been challenging for all industries including beauty and wellness. However, the pandemic has led to an increase in demand for natural and organic products with personal care and hygiene being of utmost importance. After a few months of being slow at the beginning of the pandemic, brands have witnessed a substantial increase in demand post the unlock phase. There have been several factors that contributed to this apart from the growing demand for chemical-free products, festive season shopping, and sale period.
Elaborating on the impact of pandemic on beauty and wellness industry, Nitin Passi, Jt. Managing Director, Lotus Herbals says, “The beauty industry is one of the top 10 sectors that have been impacted negatively due to the pandemic. From import/ export being severely hampered to the drastic reduction in demand for beauty and makeup products. Online sales still have a long way to go before compensating closures. From a business standpoint, we took quick measures to realign our policies, supply chain and logistics to self-sufficiency and exploring new marketplaces as well as delivery partners to reach out to our consumers.”
“At Renee, our purpose was to provide convenient, comfortable and stylist products. Our community saw this and today, we share a strong bridge of trust that we will continue delivering on,” adds Aashka Goradia, Founder, Renee Cosmetics.
The pandemic brought us challenges that were never perceived by anyone. Retailers had to quickly adapt their inventory, online marketing, product focus, delivery channels and at the same time manage unit economics well. At the same time, the pandemic has taught us a few valuable lessons about team management, the importance of your team members and their never ending zeal to succeed with you.
“We are being cautious with respect to manufacturing and distribution of our products. We are ensuring that the products are easily available in all the cities with our presence in retail stores across the country as well as through online platforms,” says Sahil Mehta, Founder, Emmbros Overseas.
“We are creating and want to continue creating products that are unique and easy-to-use for our community. We hope this will be the greatest differentiator that's going to help us stay in a good position in the coming years,” adds Goradia.
Many brands did loss mitigation early into the pandemic, by focusing their efforts on consumer building rather than selling.
“We are a community first and a marketplace second. The way our team has built this strong bond between consumers and us is remarkable and that helped us minimize our downturn. For the coming year we have some great initiatives lined up, including our new to launch men’s boxes,” says Naina Ruhail, Co-Founder & CIO (Chief Innovation Officer), Vanity Wagon.
In the coming year, Lotus is endeavoring to become a completely automated Mobile-First brand.
“We have seen exceptional adoption from our past users as well as new users transacting on our digital footprints. When we started our digital journey, we created a contemporary era of learning and evolution. We have scaled up and enabled most of the digital-first transformations across our brands with rare alacrity. From seamless user experience to automated customer support, we are also at the onset of exploring Augmented Reality and 'Virtual-Try Ons' at every consumer touch point to initiate quick purchase closures,” Passi states.
Tweaking Retail Strategy
The COVID-19 has augmented the need for a brand to have an omnichannel presence for the comfort of its consumers and to create a brand recall value.
“Post the lockdown, we worked on our strategy of having a retail presence. From August month of this year, we started partnering with retail stores to create an offline presence. Currently, we have a presence in more than 100 stores throughout the country,” Mehta states.
“I would say traditional retail will need a lot of adaptation. Also, omnichannel is the 'New Normal' as well as the ‘Future of Retail’. Social selling through stream videos, touchless/ contactless transactions in the retail stores through apps, 'local pick-ups' while shopping online are some of the significant changes that we intend to introduce in retail. Applying 'online consumer data' to introduce new consumer loyalty programs at offline stores will also be one of the areas we'd like to focus upon. SMS and e-mail marketing will definitely be initiated more from the retail outlets to promote offline transactions,” adds Passi.
Expectations From 2021
With a growing inclination towards organic products and ‘Made In India’ brands, the Indian brands are hoping to see a generous increase in their consumer base.
“We hope to achieve our aim of gross sales of Rs 100 crore by the year closing FY20-21. To ensure success in achieving our goal, we are continuously working towards improving our current line of hair and skincare products. Further, we are emphasizing on launching a new and wide-variety of products,” says Mehta.
“The coming year will see the rise of the 'Zillennials'. This micro-generation, along with the millennial consumers in India, will be 'digital-enthusiasts', highly individualistic and free-spirited. On the one hand, digital detox and on the other hand, digital fervor, quite an exciting juxtaposition that lies ahead of us,” Passi concludes.