How this Semi Tech Company is Creating Disruption in Beauty Retail Space?

In an exclusive conversation with Manish Chowdhary, Co-Founder, Fit and Glow Pvt Ltd (WOW Skin Science & WOW Life Science) talks about growth plans of the company.
Fit and Glow
Manish Chowdhary

Tell us about WOW Skin Science. How did the brand start and journey so far?

Fit & Glow Healthcare Pvt Ltd, the company that owns the brand WOW Skin Science, was started in 2013. It was born out of the passion and vision of two pairs of brothers (Manish & Karan Chowdhary and Ashwin & Arvind Sokke) to develop and deliver the best of beauty and wellness products to the Indian consumers at an affordable price. We created the beauty brand WOW Skin Science to fill the gap that was there in the Indian beauty and wellness market for products of international quality at Indian prices.

 

Every range within the brand is inspired by the beauty traditions of yore backed by science. Since the beginning our aim has been to serve our customers with the best they can expect – products and service. As a nature-based wellness and beauty company, our aim is to introduce consumers a unique product experience – one that is restoring, reviving and rejuvenating.Our products offer our customers the chance to live in sync with nature and soak in the goodness of the natural actives.

 

Our brand journey has been more than satisfactory. Over the last two years our business has grown exponentially. We have seen a steady growth in terms of our revenue and our range of products. This growth has been possible because of two key initiatives. First we developed new, innovative formulations and the second is spending lots of time understanding consumer needs, building systems and processes to garner data and take inputs from the insights generated by that data. We have spent lots of time perfecting the art of enhanced customer experience.

 

In India, our products have seen increasing popularity because of the quality that our consumers are getting at an affordable price point. Our products deliver nature-powered goodness without the harmful effects of parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, color and other chemical additives.

What is your assessment about beauty retail market in India? According to you, what are the factors propelling growth in this segment.

The Indian beauty retail market is evolving and growing quite fast. According to Euromonitor the beauty and personal care market in the country will grow at 18 percent annually for the next four to five years. The consumers have evolved tremendously, and with the popularity of social media, they are highly aware of the international trends and demand similar products at affordable prices. According to a Deloitte Study, millennials and young consumers are driving India’s retail growth. They have more budgets for discretionary spend. Added to that is the digital ubiquity leading to stronger e-commerce market. This poses a great opportunity for us digital first marketers to reach out to more buyers.

The new age consumers are constantly looking for newer formulation and variants. There is an increasing consciousness about using sustainable, nature-based products, and we at WOW Skin Science are constantly working on that. There is an almost hyper activity in the beauty retail market in the country where we find every other day new indigenous brands are coming up to meet the latent need of the consumers. It is not just for skin and hair, but also for colour cosmetics. I see this pushing the market for a solid growth in the coming years. This means there will be a high level of competitiveness as well, and our brand is well-positioned to meet that challenged. We are a semi-tech company, which means that we use technology to our advantage. We track trends and generate insights using data analysis and predictive science which help us to pre-empt market needs and customer requirements and expectations.

Kindly shed light on your current distribution including online, offline, SISs and MBOs? Going forward, what are the plans to scale-up the distribution?

We are primarily a digitally driven brand. We met our success through the success of e-commerce in India. When we started selling we took the conscious decision to move first through the online space. We are premier sellers in the beauty category on Amazon today. The online selling strategy was a win-win for us, since we were able to penetrate into Indian market very fast and reach consumers even in the remotest corner in the country. The online space was faster and connected us to more number of customers. Today our products are available on all top e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Nykaa, Flipkart, our own e-commerce site Buywow etc.

But, after three years of being successful on the online space, we realise that we need to give our consumers a chance to physically feel and see theproducts. While the online space makes our products easily accessible, the offline retail presence enables our customers to understand the brand and products better before making an informed buying decision. That is why we are now moving into the offline retail space as well. Our current strategy is to ensure all the offline stores where we are present gives our consumers a feel of our product. We are trying to ensure that we are visible to them in a more physical way. To be more visible to the customers, we make use of positions like cash counter, display units in the retail outlet and other prominent touch points in the store.

We have expanded our presence in modern outlets, speciality beauty and wellness stores like Health & Glow.  We are also putting our products in the beauty aisles of top-of-the-line supermarkets and pharmacies across the country. We are presently available in 1600 stores across the country and the feedback from the retailers is very encouraging.

Tell us about your bestselling categories and average price points. Going forward, what are the plans to scale up the category range?

Today we have a number of bestseller products with our top online retailer Amazon. Our consumers have loved the USP of all our ranges which is No Parabens, No Sulphates, No color, No Mineral Oil and no harmful chemicals. We have kept our price point very affordable with prices starting at around 299 and going up to 1,299. Also, our products offer value for money since a little goes a long way.

Our Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo is a chart topper in all the markets that we are present in. That is why we have expanded our range to include hair mask, face wash, and moisturizer using that one key ingredient – Apple Cider Vinegar. We have also seen lots of success with our new WOW Skin Science Onion Black Seed Oil – it is the number 1 selling hair oil in all the online marketplaces for us. That is why we expanded the range with this ingredient to include a complete haircare regime. Similarly WOW Skin Science Aloe Vera Gel has huge demand and acceptance among our consumers. We also experimented and saw success with international actives like Amazon clay which was the basis of our highly successful Amazon Rainforest Range.

We are also enhancing the product usage experience by introducing innovative packaging like our face washes with built-in brushes. These maximize the benefit of using the face washes, give better cleansing experience. At WOW, we are constantly trying to fulfil consumer demand for new types of products with maximum benefits by launching new products almost every month.

Who do you see as your competition?

Since we find the Indian beauty market moving towards a hyper mode, there is now new competition almost every day. The new nature-based brands, as well as traditionally popular beauty brands in the Indian market constitute competition for us. But that is good because it keeps us on our toes and helps us to innovate and be more motivated to grow. The consumers today are highly aware and educated about what is good or bad for them. They have specific demands regarding ingredients and trust only those brands that offer them those products. That is why we make it a point to listen to them and develop formulations based on popular ingredients. While, we love to be competitive, but it is to the consumers we listen and develop all our products to meet their needs.

At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?

WOW Skin Science is riding the growth wave of the beauty retail market in the country. We are constantly evolving our brand. We are making our products highly environment friendly and sustainable. We are working to develop and launch new variants and also offering customers new ways of getting the maximum benefit out of using our products. Since customer is king, and we are a ‘customer-first’ company we are also working on improving our customer support systems and enhance customer experience of using our products.

 

Manish Chowdhary
 
 
 
 
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