According to a 2021 report by Avendus, the online personal care and beauty market in India is expected to reach $4.4 billion by 2025
Digital transformation is what is driving the world today, especially when everyone is caught in the middle of a pandemic. Hence, as part of the transformation process, beauty brands have now added an array of services which use machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) in an effort to provide a better shopping experience. This includes diagnosis, personalisation, to virtual-try-on, skin consultations, among others. “Technology has enabled customer experience within the industry. Our aim is to take the whole offline experience online,” Deep Ganatra, chief technology officer, MyGlamm, a D2C beauty and personal care brand, said. In 2020, the company introduced features such as shoppable videos, customised user specific products which use machine learning algorithms, QR codes on products to drive incentives and view makeup tutorials, among others. The company claims that the conversion from its virtual try-on tool has increased by five times since the outbreak of the pandemic besides a 10 times rise in the usage rate.
Brands too have caught onto the frenzy and claim that the move has helped in driving sales. L’Oréal India, for example, claims to have posted an increase of two times in terms of engagement with AR tools online compared to pre-Covid times. In 2018, the company bought ModiFace, an augmented reality firm, to offer virtual try-ons for make-up and hair colour and one-on-one beauty consultations via video chat. “Online purchase habits have evolved, presenting new opportunities for brands. Interestingly, 18% of people bought personal care or beauty products online for the first time during the initial lockdown,” Anil Chilla, chief digital and data officer, L’Oréal India, told BrandWagon Online.
According to a 2021 report by Avendus, the online personal care and beauty market in India is expected to reach $4.4 billion by 2025. The report added that beauty and personal care online shoppers are likely to go up by more than four times from 25 million in FY20 to 110 million in FY25. For industry experts, the future of beauty will reside in an omni-channel experience, bringing offline and online closer with the advent of a host of digital tools to enhance consumer experience.
Furthermore, beauty players have focussed on upping online presence. For instance, Nykaa, a beauty and fashion ecommerce platform recently launched The Global Store, which aims to bring international beauty brands to Indian consumers. “The Global Store which can be exclusively accessed through the Nykaa app, will empower the customers by democratising the access to a host of international brands by giving choice, authenticity and convenience. Customers will pay only one all-inclusive price, that will incorporate all customs, duties and taxes,” a Nykaa spokesperson said. Currently, the platform offers labels from countries across the world including the US, South Korea, Finland, Australia, and Dubai, among others.
Interestingly, during the lockdown, L’Oréal had set up a new commerce platform for its salon partners which connects consumers to their nearest salon to be able to access their hair care products and services. This set up for salon partners, drove retail business to more than 20,000 salons, Chilla noted.
As for beauty brands, industry experts opine that in the long run, they need to be able to provide a seamless experience for shoppers across different touchpoints. For Sushmita Balasubramaniam, domain lead for CX and commerce at Kantar, South Asia, harmonised retail, which involves a blend of digital, physical and human experiences, is the way forward. “If online is about browsing and shortlisting and offline is about trial and conversions, then all the brand consideration initiatives will need to be virtual. The trick is to understand what the consumer is looking for at what touchpoint and be able to deliver that experience,” she added further. Moreover, with the digital revolution allowing brands to expand distribution, organisations will need to be at the forefront of that revolution.