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Beauty and Personal Care

Beauty and Personal Care

Beauty and personal care are usually counted as one industry. But they differ in utility. Efforts to look good need not necessarily count as a need. But personal care is a necessity. We may do without a hair gel or hair colouring. But not using toothpaste puts us in an unhygienic state. Two decades back, archaeologists in the United Kingdom unearthed the oldest cosmetic face cream used by mankind. The item is believed to be about 2,000 years old. Older evidence dates back to 10,000 BCE. In ancient Egypt, people used scented oils and ointments for better skin and to prevent body odour. That should shed some light on the legacy of personal care activities.

Beauty and personal care industry is now worth 500 billion dollars globally. This includes cosmetics, personal care, skincare, and fragrances. As the population increases, the demand for products & services of beauty and personal care is poised for more growth. Primary driving forces include weather conditions, culture and tradition, lifestyle, etc. Other contributing factors are urbanization, income levels, the impact of social media, and outreach of organized retail including eCommerce.

Challenges for businesses in the beauty and personal care sector

Competition from online businesses in the product category

The rise of eCommerce was a boon for customers and omnichannel retailers. But it made things hard for the traditional, offline retailers. And now competing with omnichannel players has become a normal affair for offline businesses in this sector. A big disruption for traditional retailers is the online marketplace platforms. Running on inventory-light models provides an edge to online retailers. On the contrary, brick and mortar businesses have to bear the brunt of investing in real estate. While online players get access to a wider geographical market, offline retailers remain confined to their local limits. Online retailers also have the opportunity to tweak their pricing strategies with volume sales. But with limited sales, traditional players have little scope to engage in price wars. Even expert salon & spa industry consultants could hardly refute it.

Margin pressure

A common restricting element for both offline and online product retailers is margin pressure. The product market of the beauty and personal care sector is dominated by a few big brands. There is nothing many businesses could do about it. The main reason for this is customer preference. Customers always prefer to go for only the known brands for their beauty and personal care requirements. Thus, product retailers in this sector emphasize the physical environment and services provided to customers as a distinguishing strategy. But there is another area where businesses can work is private-label brands. While margins can be better but quality control is of paramount importance with private-label brands.

Hegemony of offline businesses in the service category

Services in beauty care include salon, spa, massage, therapeutic parlours, etc. The physical element is inherent in the case of beauty care services. Hence, the service providers have hegemony. These businesses can adopt digital channels in ways relevant to their business. These can include online booking, managing schedules, making payments, etc. But the competition is also there between these service providers. Here, the focus remains on providing a superior customer experience.

Going beyond products and services

In the beauty industry consulting, we have been observing that now customers around the world are becoming sensitive to many issues related to the beauty industry. These concerns are related to the environment, working conditions, animal rights, geopolitics, advertising campaigns, etc. Retailers do not have much to do about these issues. But they must keep a tab on important international news and events. This will help them keep a tab on changing customer tastes and preferences pertaining to products and services.

Lacking digital marketing

We have entered an era where digital experience has become an important component of marketing and customer experience. ECommerce is miles ahead of offline retailing in this matter. Sometimes it appears as if a majority of offline retailers have almost given up. Living in a denial mode is not helping them. It is time to go omnichannel strategically. Appearances in search engine results pages are critical to enhancing branding and brand visibility. They must reach out to their digital audiences and target customers beyond the boundaries of their localities.

Need to adopt a more professional approach

There are no formulas for running and managing a business. But there are principles, practices, and tools for management that must be in tune with the contemporary industry standards. That is the essence of adopting a professional approach in business. From planning to operations, it helps keep a business organized, competitive, and growth-oriented, with a higher degree of certainty. Businesses follow established principles and standards for preparing books of accounts and balance sheets. Then why not adopt the same approach while doing market research or developing business models? The crux of the matter is to manage business professionally. The beauty and personal care business also has its niceties and detailing. It affects the conceptualization and implementation of the business. The size of the business is immaterial here. Even a small retailer or service provider can avail professional help from any competent beauty salon consultant offering salon and spa business consulting services. An experienced and competent beauty salon consultant can provide relevant insights and bring new perspectives.

Poorly defined Operations

Small and medium businesses often ignore the relevance of operational planning. With a limited number of team members and limited operations, business remains mostly manageable. But they also know very well what happens during the rush hours or the festive seasons. Orders get delayed or even have to be cancelled. Customers have to wait longer in queues. Employees are overburdened. Routine internal activities have to be kept on hold. Customer experience goes for a toss. But with some one-time effort, all these situations could be avoided. It does not matter whether it is a small or medium business or a large-scale enterprise. Whether it is situated in a gigantic mall or it is a stand-alone shop. An essential requirement for managing it properly is to have operations manuals. And this does not need vouching from any cosmetics industry consultant, personal care industry consultant or beauty salon consultant.

Difficulties in establishing loyalty and impact of pandemic

Building a loyal customer base is one of the toughest marketing challenges for MSMEs in the beauty and personal care sector. We are not talking about the big product brands here but regular salons and beauty parlours, spa parlours, therapeutic parlours, cosmetic stores, etc. Customers are known to stick to their favourite retailers and service providers in their locality or city. It takes a strong reason to make a shift to another shop or service. This is especially true for services. The product-based retailers are already facing stiff competition from their online counterparts. The pandemic of 2020 made it difficult for the local, brick and mortar businesses to keep their operations running. Because of lockdown and curfew restrictions, many businesses had to keep their business shut for months. Employees had to take pay cuts, lose their jobs, or keep their jobs without pending pay. It is an extraordinarily difficult situation for offline businesses in the beauty and personal care sector. It is a crucial time for them to revisit their business models and bring improvisations for sustainability and growth.

How YRC can help

Established in 2012, we are a boutique retail and eCommerce business consulting firm. In the beauty and personal care industry, we help startups and existing enterprises establish robust and competitive businesses. We offer a wide range of beauty and personal care market consulting services. Sometimes these services are also referred to as salon and spa business consulting services. But the essence is the same. We keep into consideration the best industry practices and the unique challenges faced by businesses in this sector. We engage a team of professional and experienced beauty industry consultants.

In market research service, we help clients gain a comprehensive view of the target market. Our team of beauty industry consultants provide actionable insights for better business planning and strategy formulation.

As many businesses struggle to emerge from this pandemic, we are dedicated to helping our clients come up with the eCommerce and omnichannel strategy that is best suited for their business. Our CX experts for personal care and cosmetics market consulting provide assistance in mapping the customer experience journey covering the critical digital and physical touchpoints.

In business model development, we strive for formulating business models that can stand the test of time under given situations. We also define the strategic framework of the value chain and the internal capabilities required to deliver the intended value. Our business plan experts shall develop the necessary financial and commercial projections and assessments. In salon and spa business consulting services, our SOP consultants help clients identify and define their business processes and operations. The operational procedures shall be established. The expected standards of performance and output shall be mapped with every activity.

For more information on our beauty and personal care industry consulting services or if you have any specific queries, drop us a message and we shall get back to you.

Let’s Talk!

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    We work only for Visionaries.

    PROCESS AUTOMATION

    The idea of having Ecommerce Consultants on-board from the beginning itself points towards reducing the involvement of the promoters in daily operations. Ecommerce Businesses willing to be a brand reaping profits & sustaining the competition must ensure that most of their processes should be automated. The more the manual intervention, the more would be the errors.

    In Ecommerce business, you get only 1 chance to impress the customer & if you mess up there, you lose the customer for long.

    Process automation in respect to all the activities pertaining to customers from order receiving to order fulfilment is a must for a seamless experience for the customers.

    Task Management is another grey area where most deadlines fail as 90% of the tasks are assigned manually & are forgotten, unheard, misunderstood or mistaken.

    YRC Team of Ecommerce Management Consultants helps to make maximum of the processes system-driven to ensure minimalistic manual intervention.

    VIDEOGRAPHY & PHOTOGRAPHY

    No matter how good your product is, the customer would know only if it looks good.

    Photography includes the following steps:

    • Cataloguing your products
    • Cataloguing your images
    • Backup your images (A few cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa, Apple’s Cloud Storage etc.)
    • Choose the right camera & lens (You may also outsource the photography to a third party agency)

    DIGITAL MARKETING

    Digital Marketing includes SEO & SMM. SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization includes activities like back-linking, meta tags, blog-writing etc. to ensure your website ranks on the 1st page on Google Search.

    Next comes SMM i.e. “Social Media Marketing” which as the name suggests including promoting your products on all the social media sites, email marketing, influencer marketing & several other BTL activities.

    These activities are going to be recurring & would decide the traffic on the website, the conversions, whether the right target market is tapped, the likes, the views, the orders, the reviews & much more. YRCs Ecommerce Consultants create a budget for digital marketing right from pre-launch to launch & for each month thereafter.

    Building digital marketing strategies in coordination with the agency, selecting them to signing them off would be the role of YRC.

    This ensures seamless coordination, detailed interactions & desired execution as it is always advisable to work with a single agency than multiple of them.

    IT INTEGRATION

    Selection of the right software for smooth functioning of back-end operations right from production to webstore display would be suggested and integrated by YRC Team.

    YRC’s Team defines SOPs of Product Movement, maps it with the locations & people. They then create a blueprint of all the features required in the software & help in shortlisting & selection.

    IT Integration involves connecting your offline inventories with real-time online webstore so when a sale occurs, inventories get deducted real time across offline as well as online platforms.

    This helps in accurate inventory management, maintaining the MOQs, re-order levels & achieving the optimum inventory levels.

    Some popular software include unicommerce, viniculum for your front-end website management & Genisys for your entire back-end Purchase, Production, Accounting, Invoicing etc. management.

    WAREHOUSE & LOGISTICS PLANNING

    • How many cities or countries you wish to sell in?
    • Where should your Warehouse be located?
    • Should you have one warehouse in each country or city?
    • Should you be having your own delivery team in your base city?
    • Would the 3rd party vendors be reliable? What happens when they lose or misplace your product during delivery?
    • How should I manage the logistics if my goods are coming from different countries?
    • How should the goods be stored and barcoded?
    • How much space do I require for warehouse?
    • I am sure several such questions must be haunting you while you think of starting your own fashion ecommerce brand.

     

    At YRC, our warehousing and logistics experts can help you devise a strategy for all of the above mentioned queries and much more.

    We design the layout of the Warehouse considering the inward, goods processing, software entry, barcoding, outward, goods return, scrap storage, goods stacking & much more.

    Logistics route plan is devised considering the manufacturer to your warehouse and from there to last mile delivery locations.

    UI & UX DESIGNING

    This Step involves 03 distinct parts:

    Part 1: Choosing the right Platform:

    From several platforms available in the market right from Shopify to magento, woocommerce, prestoshop, wordpress etc. you must choose the one that fits best for your business

    Part 2: UX Designing:

    “UX” denotes User Experience, which if put in simple language is building the functional requirements of the website.

    UX Designing includes designing the features required in the website, customer journey map, website features, the browsing features, navigation features, ecommerce order management process flow, checkout cart features, catalogue management, ecommerce payment system, cross selling features & much more.

    “As per statistics, 68% of the customers abandon the carts before payment”

    An interesting UX ensures the customer sticks on to the website for a longer time.

    Part 3: UI Designing:

    UI stands for User Interface, which means designing the look and feel of the website. UI includes using the right colours, elements and the entire aesthetics of the website.

    A good User Interface ensures the user completes the task that he has come for. It navigates the user through the journey of the brand in the simplest but most effective way.

    The UX designer maps out the bare bones of the user journey; the UI designer then fills it in with visual and interactive elements.

    If User experience is the bare bone, user interface wraps it up with an attractive cape.

    At YRC, our team if experts can help you develop the entire User Journey to ensure it is engaging!

    SAMPLING & PRODUCTION

    This step follows the “Designing” Phase, whether you have an in-house design team, freelance designers or an outsourced design company. It is one of the most exciting phases, as here you see your designs turning into products & your ideas turning into reality.

    In most start-up cases, production is outsourced i.e. brands tie-up with the established manufacturers/ job-workers to get their products manufactured.

    Sampling involves multiple 04 Stages, Fit-Sample, Prototype Sample, Pre-Production Sample & the Production Sample.

    Prototype Sample is the first sample provided to the buyer. It can be in any fabric/ colour. This sample is just to understand whether the product design looks equally great in reality.

    Fit Sample, as the name suggests is prepared to check the fit of the garment i.e. the various sizes, length, width etc.

    Pre-production is made by the actual production line. Here the stitching quality and other aspects related to manufacturing are checked. This is the last stage where rejection can be accepted.

    Production Sample is made before the production which is the replica of what is going to be finally produced.

    Once you are through with all this, you are good to go ahead & get your goods manufactured.

    PRODUCT DESIGNING / SOURCING

    Product Designing or Sourcing is the heart of the Ecommerce Fashion Brand.

    Product Designing / Sourcing can be done in several ways, as follows:

    • In-house Design Team
    • Freelance Designers
    • Outsourced Design Team
    • Ready Product Sourcing (From Manufacturer or Wholesaler)

    At YRC, we evaluate your business strategy & business model to arrive at the decision, which of the above ways would be best-fit for your business. In certain cases, product sourcing may be a combination of the above.

    These are the people who are going to build your brand! Whether they are the designers or merchandiser, your brand look is going to be in their hands.

    If you are designing each garment from the scratch, the sourcing would play crucial role in developing design identity of your brand.

    Sourcing includes fabric, trims, lining & all the raw material required to build the garment.

    BRANDING

    Branding is the “Look of the Brand”, right from logo to tagline, the colours used, the brand story, the brand communications on social media, the packaging & all the other aspects which speak directly or indirectly to the customers. Branding constitutes the look & feel of the brand & hence must be thoughtfully planned to match with the product that we are selling.

    Branding must appeal to our target audience. Example : A golden colour logo depicting finesse, art, richness, premium, however beautiful it may be individually cannot go with a brand selling affordable kids wear products. So, your logo must be in-line with your brand positioning, whether you are an expensive brand or a luxury brand or a value for money brand, it must be depicted from your “Branding”.

    It is an integral part to attract the target audience.

    ORGANOGRAMS & SOP’s

    Organogram is the “HR Blueprint” of the business which is created at the onset, to map out the team required across each function at various stages of the business. At the launch, only key people need to be got on board to ensure the project gets started & at this stage, all of them need to multi-task. Similarly, certain financial as well as operational goals are set for addition of the further team. Example, for the operations team, we hire 1 operations manager during the pre-launch phase & we add 1 more only when the business kicks-off & we reach a volume of selling more than 1000 pcs/ month or a turnover of more than 0.1 million USD.

    SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, a bible to run the entire organization right from Sales, Purchase, HR, Order receiving to Order fulfilment, Inventory Management, Accounts, Warehouse, Logistics, Supply Chain, Production & all the other relevant functions for the business. Business must be organized from its first day of operations; only then the tasks can be delegated.

    At YRC, we design the organization structure, the processes, and approximate time taken to execute each process, job profile of every member within the organization, their KRAs, KPIs & the Reporting Structure.

    CRITICAL PATHWAY

    Critical Pathway Analysis (CPA), is a project management technique which cannot be overlooked while launching an ecommerce fashion brand. Brand launch process is cumbersome with multiple inter-dependent & time-bound tasks involved, which need to be tracked to ensure the project remains on track.

    CPA outlines key tasks across the project, their turnaround time (TAT) & the dependencies of tasks upon each other. It identifies the sequence of tasks, their interdependent steps from inception to completion, their criticalities, and their dates of onset, target dates of completion along with the key responsible person for the respective activities. Critical Pathway helps in understanding the unimportant & not urgent tasks which may jeopardize the execution of the project because of an unexpected snag! It also maps out the potential bottlenecks which might be posed because of the dependencies of tasks upon each other & cases where the next task cannot be commenced before the completion of the previous one.

    CPA detects the minimum & the maximum time involvement of a particular individual or team to execute the task, thereby arriving at the overall deadlines associated with the project.

    At Your Retail Coach, we design the Critical Pathway & review it periodically to ensure the project is on track & the progress is measurable.

    BUSINESS STRATEGY & BUSINESS PLAN

    Business Strategy includes the vision, mission, goals, business model, business plan & strategy for all the functions within the organization.

    Business Strategy is a well-defined plan that outlines who, what, where, why, how & when for the company; for example, who would be the target market, how to attract the target audience, when to launch new products, where to operate from, how to handle competitors, what would be the USP, what would be long term goal of the organization & several other answers to the 5Ws of Strategy.

    Business Strategy aligns the organization towards a common goal. Business SWOT helps company to identify & overcome their weaknesses & focus to sharpen the strengths. Business strategy forecasts future risks and helps business in building skillsets to overcome the potential threats.

    YRC’s Business Plan focuses on creating a “Blueprint” of the business, thereby deriving the feasibility of the concept & gauge whether the opportunity is lucrative to invest time, energy & effort. Business Plan creates cash flow understanding i.e. building inflow & outflow cash projections from Week zero to week 60 i.e. 05 year projection. Business Plan calculates the capital investment, operating costs, one-time costs, recurring costs & all the other numbers relevant to obtain the breakeven sales, return on investment, return on capital, internal rate of return & several other ratios. Business Plan is also one of the important requirements if you are targeting the “Investor Route”. Fund raising becomes extremely transparent & channelized. With business plan panned out clearly, the business will know until what point must it be stretched & where to stop, which reduces the probability of unplanned investments.

    MARKET RESEARCH

    Starting the concept of Ecommerce Fashion brand with Market Research ensures we get detailed understanding of the industry & this research report also acts as a social confirmation for your concept. Market Research helps in understanding the target locations, their population, potential online buyers for your product, competitors for each category, and top selling products of the competitors, competitors’ price range, offers & their responses & much more. Market Research helps in thorough understanding of your brand position as compared to our competitors. It helps in identifying gaps in the market, in your category along with the scope of the said product in the desired market. This will help in validation of your concept & prevents you from making the same mistakes as your fellow brands, eventually saving your time, energy & efforts. This phase is also a make or a break phase, as the market research study may at-times come up with some eye-popping numbers & statistics which might compel you to re-think on your product or category that you are planning to sell or alter your entire concept itself!! Market Research Reports analyse the competitors’ webstore for their traffic, conversion & sales. This is extremely valuable information to derive our inventory budgets & projections, which takes us to our next phase.