How online wellness platforms are giving micro businesses like your neighbourhood parlours a makeover

Published: November 12, 2019 1:40:13 PM

Through on-demand marketplaces, parlour and salon owners are able to leverage their expertise as well as their workforce to render professional-quality services.

Beauty and personal care market in India is projected to reach Rs 74,700 crores by retail sales value by 2020. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
  • By Mayank Arya

The emergence of digital technologies and hyperlocal platforms has been no lesser than a boon for both industries as well as consumers all over the world, and the beauty and wellness services industry is no exception to that. The erstwhile neighbourhood beauty parlours and salons are undergoing a tech-led makeover, and the services are becoming increasingly diversified and comprehensive at the same time. Now, one can simply book an appointment at a few clicks on their phone, and enjoy a wide spectrum of services in the comfort of their homes. The active pursuit of lifestyle convenience has found a just channel through the online beauty services segment, and people are increasingly opting for these platforms.

Empowering Micro Enterprises

However, it is not just customers and hyperlocal beauty services players who are on the greener side of this digital court. The online segment of the beauty services industry has unlocked several lucrative opportunities for a significant share of beauticians and brick-and-mortar parlours as well. The advent of hyper localization in this industry is bringing skills and optimal services to the fore, with beauticians getting to enjoy financial security, exposure to wider sets of clients, flexible working hours, and most importantly—the autonomy they deserve. Here, we delve deeper into how hyperlocal platforms providing beauty and wellness services at home on demand are empowering local beauticians as well as beauty-centred micro-enterprises all across the country. 

The beauty and wellness services industry is among those very few domains that is centred primarily on women, and driven majorly by women. There has been a paradigm shift in consumer behaviour in recent times, driven primarily by increasing urbanization and the phenomenal rise in smartphone ownership, internet penetration, and disposable income. Because of all these factors, supplemented by the busy lifestyles led today, the outlook of consumers regarding the products purchased and the services rendered has changed drastically. From logistics, food, and groceries to medical supplies and horizontal home services—hyper localization is significantly impacting all these markets and subsequently, the end-consumer behaviour.

Skill Development

In fact, this surge in consumer expectations for on-demand services at a few clicks has augmented the growth of India’s hyperlocal market to such an extent that it is projected to exceed Rs 2,306 crores by 2020, according to a 2016 report by the market research firm Ken Research. Hyperlocal beauty services platforms are not only enhancing otherwise busy lifestyles to make them more convenient, but are also extending highly lucrative employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to women belonging to the blue-collar segment. They are harnessing the immense and largely untapped talent of skilled beauticians through additional training, thus empowering them to provide salon-like experience to customers at the convenience of their homes. Further, these platforms optimize operations in such a manner so as to be beneficial to all the stakeholders in this beauty and wellness ecosystem, from service providers to the end-consumers. Interestingly, startups that are emerging in this domain with niche ideas on authenticity and transparency are also successfully carving a niche for themselves and further empowering their workforce of beauticians. 

In fact, not just the individual beauticians, these hyperlocal platforms are also empowering micro-enterprises in this domain viz. neighbourhood beauty parlours and salons. Through these on-demand marketplaces, parlour and salon owners are able to leverage their expertise as well as their workforce to render professional-quality services, the only difference being that of the location—from their own setups to the customers’ doorsteps.

With the beauty and personal care market in India projected to reach Rs 74,700 crores by retail sales value and grow at a Y-o-Y rate of 13 per cent by 2020, the potential is immense for hyperlocal on-demand beauty and wellness services platforms to innovate, diversify, encompass all, provide exceptional services, unlock new dimensions of growth, and empower skilled individuals and micro-enterprises. Hyperlocalization is a highly promising phenomenon, and beauty and wellness services industry is actively tapping into it for beautiful possibilities!

(Mayank Arya is the Co-Founder at Yes Madam. Views expressed are the author’s own.)

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