How Omnichannel Brand Zlade is Adopting Tech To Reach More Consumers
How Omnichannel Brand Zlade is Adopting Tech To Reach More Consumers

The personal grooming industry has seen an unprecedented boom. Indian men’s beauty market is still nascent, and the bulk of the volume is driven by the shaving and deodorant category. Though Indian men’s grooming habits are evolving, beauty is still a lagging category for the men’s grooming market. Thanks to all the new-age brands, this category is evolving and becoming more aspirational as consumers living in Tier II and beyond cities have got the access to online shopping. 

E-commerce has given the brands more reach and penetration which otherwise was limited to the legacy brands. People who would otherwise shop only for necessities are now pampering themselves thanks to the availability of newer products which are delivered at their doorstep at a discount and with free shipping. The number of people we have in India who are yet to enter into the formal economy, and given the median age of our population, our personal care industry will witness exponential growth in the coming years.

Indian female grooming market stood at $226.95 million in FY2020 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 21.16 percent in the next five years. Indian male grooming market stood at $208.22 million in FY2020 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 20.97 percent to cross $590.54 million by FY2026.

Growth in the personal grooming market of India can be attributed to rapid urbanization and growing consumer demand for more convenient and professional grooming products. Nowadays, increased advertising campaigns aimed at the youth are influencing the current generation, and the growing penetration of various international brands is pushing the demand for grooming products among men and women of India.

Companies operating in the Indian personal grooming market include Philips India Limited, Panasonic India Private Limited, Vega Industries Private Limited, Procter and Gamble Hygiene and Health Care Ltd., Havells India Limited. Personal grooming majors are investing in research and development to launch new products and maintain their share in the competitive market.

In the segment occupied by the big players, Zlade stepped into the game with a unique approach. Suraj Chaudhari, Co-founder, and CEO of Zlade shared, “I picked grooming habits early on. I realized that very few Indian men focus on personal grooming and hygiene. To date the majority tend to associate grooming with femininity, and, therefore avoid even basic grooming practices. Upon doing more research, I found out that personal grooming companies catering specifically to men are rare in the Indian market.”

“In a quest to address this need gap, I established the venture Blade and Bath in 2015, which later evolved into Zlade. The idea behind Zlade’s inception was simple – to make quality razors and blades affordable to the common Indian men. The company’s USP lies in world-class grooming products for men at honest and affordable prices,” he added.


The brand has always been very clear with its approach and focused on only shaving under Zlade. The ultimate goal is to make the word ‘Zlade’ synonymous with a blade. 

"As you have rightly observed that the market is flooded with grooming products, it is very difficult for a consumer to choose the best products, and we have always helped the consumers to choose the best, by keeping a very targeted portfolio of products. As a result, we have a loyal set of customers and a very healthy retention rate of 30 percent. What Colgate is to a toothpaste, Zlade shall be to a shaving blade. To prevent brand dilution and to cater to another set of consumers we have added two new sub-brands to our portfolio, Ballistic and Summer, which cater to men’s intimate hygiene and women’s shaving and hair removal,” Chaudhary shared.

Retail and Marketing Strategy
Nowadays, brands are strategically focusing on attracting the youth by launching new innovative technologies and are putting every possible effort into marketing their products on their offline and online channels.

On the marketing front, he asserted, “We are rapidly increasing our offline presence. Zlade products are already available across 5,000 retail outlets in Mumbai and Goa and we are targeting 10,000 stores in the next six months. In the next few months, we will add products across these new categories. A strong retail distribution is the backbone of a sustainable business, and we are on a mission to build a robust network for our offline retail operations.”

Omnichannel Approach
The brand is betting big on the omnichannel strategy as it helps in making a strong connection with consumers all across the channels.

Chaudhary said, “The reason brands are going increasingly towards D2C as a channel is because of the direct relationship with the customer and owning the data. As the pandemic has accelerated e-commerce adoption, the space has gained traction. Zlade being a digital-first brand, D2C is how the brand was born. In fact, we started D2C first, and then we went with the marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart much later in our journey. Zlade was one of the first few D2C brands in the thriving men’s grooming and personal care industry. We already are an omnichannel brand. D2C is not a business model, it’s just a channel. We want to be present wherever our customers are, be it online or offline.”

Integrated Technology
As a digital-first brand, Zlade is very much dependent on the latest tools and tech for serving its customers. 

“As customer acquisition is becoming increasingly expensive over time, it is very important to prevent your existing customers to exit from the backdoor. This is where we use tools that help us identify our loyal customers, infrequent shoppers, one-time purchasers, or people who have not yet made a purchase from us. The technology allows us to communicate with each of these sets of customers separately with tailored messaging and sending them personalized offers. We can also get real-time feedback on our products and offerings with the help of technology, feedback which helps us in making continuous improvements in our products and services,” he asserted.

Future Plans
Zlade has seen immense growth during the pandemic. On the pre-pandemic course, Zlade was growing steadily at around 15-20 percent and hit its lowest numbers in April. 

“Since May 2020 as e-commerce was allowed to function, we saw our historically best numbers in June and July 2020, so much so that our products became sold out by November 2020. This year with the launch of new products and two new categories we have already tripled our monthly numbers in the last six months. This year we are on course to see a 400 percent YoY growth. We plan to close this financial year with an annual run rate of Rs 18 crore. We are already planning our Series A fundraise and are in discussion with some marquee investors and VC funds,” he said.

“We are rapidly increasing our offline presence, Zlade products are already available across 5,000 retail outlets in Mumbai and Goa and we are targeting 10,000 stores in the next six months. We have already introduced two new categories in Ballistic and Summer, for men’s intimate hygiene and women’s shaving and hair removal respectively. In the next few months, we will add products across these new categories,” Chaudhary concluded.

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