How beauty industry can beat the Covid blues with an innovative digital push

The beauty industry in India has steadily grown during the past few years. The consistent growth can also be strongly accredited to the online sales of beauty products, premiumisation and an inclination towards organic and ethical brands, making it a $14 billion industry which is expected to grow further to become a $20 billion industry by 2025.

The importance of going digital seems to be becoming more and more prominent. The recent and unforeseen Covid-19 pandemic has increased consumer digital traffic significantly. Easy Internet access and high penetration of smartphones are the driving forces of the consistent growth of beauty in the digital space.

Going digital for a brand is not a new concept. The digital space is constantly evolving and is extremely competitive. The Covid-19 pandemic has further tested all of us and forced us to be creative. This is not just for us but also for our businesses. It was time to put our heads together and go digital now more than ever.

Creativity during lockdown

This lockdown certainly got Instagram Live interactions trending. Social media has played an extremely crucial role for brands during this time. At a time when all avenues of revenue are closed, the only way to stay relevant is by making noise about your brand and creating brand recall. People are highly influenced by what is going on in the social world and to just be out there and have your brand reach out to a lot of people could be extremely beneficial. Our strategy during this time was to create relevant content and simultaneously educate the customer about our products and brand as a whole.

For instance, Paul Penders is the world’s first vegan beauty brand and not many people know about it. We took this time to talk about the concept of veganism and the various myths associated with it. Then, we explored veganism through lifestyle, food and basic ingredients. We curated special vegan DIY skincare treatments, which consumers could also practice at home easily, where we highlighted the benefits of the ingredients utilised in our products. We did the same with food: We interacted with top chefs and critics who were kind enough to talk about vegan food and also shared easy recipes which people could make at home.

Online revenue and Customer acquisition

It is often said that we are in the digital age right now. The dependency on a digital presence has been felt strongly during this time as the only form of purchase has been via online platforms. In my opinion, the main struggle when it comes to buying beauty products online is the in- ability to try the product be- forehand. This is a gap technology has tried to bridge through chatbots, video content that explains the product and highlights the ‘before and after’ results of the product and many more such avenues.

Personally, I have even tried products online where websites have outdone themselves and given an all-round customer experience. I was recently shopping on a website and I was blown away by how easily I could shop according to the type of my concern or problem. This just goes to show how well the digital space has grown and entered an avenue where the ‘feel’ of a product is essential before purchasing it and has managed to effortlessly translate that experience through tech and innovation and drives maximum revenue for brands via e- commerce today.

The beauty industry is extremely competitive, and on e-commerce platforms, the competition is on a whole other level. Digital market- ing via Instagram, Facebook and Google Ads have be- come the main path for direct conversion and the way to make that happen is by ensuring your brand is as out there as it can be, from the content you put out, the appeal of the product, the ‘vibe’ and lastly, but most importantly, the customer experience you offer. We have seen returns of x4 on Tressmart. com and continue to grow digitally. The investment cost is low and the return on that investment is high, hence, it is a beneficial tool if used correctly.

It is often said that the customer is king and that is something I abide by because, without the customer, a brand or business is nothing. In order to differentiate oneself and truly stand out, one needs to develop a great personalised relationship with the customer. Inter- personal relationships are key, and if a company can add a more personal touch to things, the more they will benefit. By a personal touch, I mean providing impeccable customer service right from introducing your brand to the end of the customer’s retail journey with you. It is essential to provide a memorable experience to the customer and it should last until the product reaches their doorstep. Another key learning as an entrepreneur I have adopted is to make sure that customer concerns are resolved effectively within a quick time frame.

Where are we headed?
For the foreseeable future, online buying will be driving brands. However, for brands which aren’t as well-known as the established ones, an offline presence is crucial as a customer will only buy a product from a new brand after trying it. For a brand not as well-known, it is definitely difficult to be de- pendent only on an online presence for sales. Having only a digital platform to demonstrate your product and its benefits without real customer face-time is definitely a challenge. The way I see it, the digital space for beauty and all industries will only become more prominent and one has to find their place in it. The industry is filled with a lot of noise coming from everywhere and one has to be strategic and creative and have out-of-the-box ideas to be heard and establish their own unique voice.

The writer is founder and director at Tressmart Marketing Pvt Ltd and director at Paul Penders.

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