How COVID-19 Sparked a New Wave of Innovation for Gaia

Gaia believes that health and wellness food category is going to be the next big growth driver in the FMCG industry.
How COVID-19 Sparked a New Wave of Innovation for Gaia
Dolly Kumar

Launched in 2009 by Cosmetic Engineer Dolly Kumar, Gaia is amongst the pioneers in the health and wellness industry in India with more than 81 products. The FMCG brand has a wide range of health food products and nutritional supplements, ranging from specialized nutritional supplements to everyday healthy snacks. 

Gaia has created a strong distribution network across India with a presence across 25,000 conventional retail outlets, over 600 modern trade outlets, Canteen Stores Department (CSD), Central Police Canteen (CPC) as well as in e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, 1 mg, Big Basket, Health Kart, etc. The brand has also expanded its presence internationally to countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, and others.

Dolly Kumar, Founder & Director of Cosmic Nutracos, the parent company of Gaia, says, “Our e-commerce contribution is about 5-7 percent of the total business. The rest of the business comes from traditional formats such as general trade like Kirana stores and modern trade like DMart, Spencers, METRO Cash & Carry, etc.”

Growth During Pandemic

Initially, the pandemic brought various hindrances with so many uncertainties and restrictions. However, as a matter of time, Gaia streamlined new processes and got SOPs in place.

“We certainly saw an increase in the online sales for our range of health food and most importantly the nutritional supplement. In fact, the online sale of GAIA increased by 80-90 percent from last year. We also acquired 80 percent, new customers, through our e-commerce platform,” she states.

Dolly asserts, “I believe that the outbreak of coronavirus has really pushed the e-commerce at the forefront of retail, and in the initial 2 months of the nationwide lockdown, we initiated a 48-hour doorstep delivery program. When the whole world was still and under lockdown, we went ahead announcing that we will deliver at the consumers’ doorstep taking all precautions.”

“We also tied up with Zomato and Swiggy as we saw huge demand for our products because everybody wanted health supplements to build immunity,” she further adds.

How COVID-19 Sparked a New Wave of Innovation for Gaia

D2C is the Way Forward

During the lockdown, there was a huge demand for health and wellness products as consumers were looking to build their immunity. Looking at this new trend and surge of people wanting health and nutrition, Gaia came up with its e-commerce website.

“During the pandemic, we were seeing huge traction for our products on Amazon and Flipkart, and it became important and imperative to go ahead and launch our website. When we were designing this new website, there were 2 clear agendas. Firstly, it should be easy to navigate, and another one is to ensure that there is no minimum value, for instance, if a consumer even orders a product worth Rs 300, we will be delivering the same at their doorstep,” she explains.

“Also, with this launch, we are delivering goods in 48 hours in Delhi NCR. We further have a subscription model. For instance, if you want to order supplements for a month or 3 months, we have a subscription model where you don’t need to order again and again. We are seeing a huge attraction on Gaia’s website,” she informs.

“I believe the GAIA website would be a game-changer in times to come. We have some unique propositions in our e-commerce website like it has a user-friendly interface, easy navigation, pan India delivery, subscription, curated search, free shipping, low minimum order value, and innovative promotions. We never suffered in this pandemic because we were well prepared and this progressive approach helped us to sail through this difficult time,” Dolly adds.

How COVID-19 Sparked a New Wave of Innovation for Gaia

Changing Consumer Trends

One of the biggest consumer trends witnessed in these times is that people are moving to health and wellness products.

She says, “Today, everyone wants to be healthy and build their immunity. Earlier, what we used to see in India is that people were not focusing on preventive health. With the coronavirus outbreak, this whole game changed and everyone wants to eat healthy. People have added supplements, vitamins, and proteins to their diet. This trend is gaining momentum and it is going to be the next lifestyle.”

Digital Branding Strategy

Gaia is doing 360-degree digital initiatives starting from social media to engagement programs to influencer activity.

“Our 50 percent of marketing project is into digital and we are taking big initiatives with our digital engagement programmes and influencer programmes. We are doing banner ads on Google, Facebook, and Instagram. We also get customer testimonials about how our products benefitted them and we make a video out of it and promote it,” she elaborates.

Expansion Plans

Gaia believes that the health and wellness food category is going to be the next big growth driver in the FMCG industry.

“Starting from having innovative products to getting into new innovations, we are planning to launch more of cold-pressed oils, healthy snacking range, and energy drinks in the coming future. We will further focus on our e-commerce website and plans to make it big for our loyal consumers,” Dolly states.

“In the offline model, we want to develop into modern trade chains. We are entering CPC and CSD canteens with 8 new products, which are huge in terms of revenue for us. We are increasing our distribution and most importantly we are going national. We have opened four markets and we are seeing a huge amount of success in these markets. We have opened Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Cambodia. Going forward, we have aggressive plans for going international, and also we would like to enter into HORECA,” she concludes.

Dolly Kumar
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