Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Skincare is not just about looking good, it's about feeling confident in one's own skin: VLCC's Puneet Gulati

The burgeoning middle class, driven by rising disposable incomes, urbanisation, and the pursuit of a better lifestyle, is exhibiting a noteworthy demand for beauty and wellness products and services, says Puneet Gulati, chief marketing officer, VLCC

Published: Dec 19, 2023 04:05:52 PM IST
Updated: Dec 19, 2023 04:30:59 PM IST

Skincare is not just about looking good, it's about feeling confident in one's own skin: VLCC's Puneet GulatiPuneet Gulati, chief marketing officer, VLCC

VLCC has been betting big on growing our assisted channel (where beauty advisers offer consultation to consumers) across general trade and modern trade stores for our products. As a brand, VLCC has been under-indexed on the e-commerce channel and its strategy to gain its fair share includes acquisitions.

Also, the discretionary spends at the premium end have been rising despite the macro-economic challenges.

Storyboard18 caught up with Puneet Gulati, chief marketing officer, VLCC, to understand the trends in the skincare, beauty and wellness industry and how VLCC is capitalising on them.

Edited excerpts:

Q. What has VLCC been up to in 2023?
Year 2023 has been an exhilarating one for us, and the excitement continues to unfold. We launched a plethora of products tailored to diverse consumer needs. We introduced the Bridal Facial Kit, Gold Sensitive Facial Kit, and expanded our offerings with new products in the body lotion and face cream range.

One highlight of the year was onboarding Tamannaah Bhatia as the brand ambassador for our facial kits. We revamped the packaging, featuring her face on the iconic range.

Not only did we launch many beauty services, but we are also reinventing the beauty treatment experience. Additionally, we have strengthened our retail presence, with more than 10 new clinics across the country, and by introducing the latest advancements in beauty science at our clinics.

We are committed to providing science-backed solutions. Our goal is to empower consumers to transform into their most beautiful selves through innovative and efficacious products and services. To cap off the year, we are set to introduce 12 product SKUs in the personal care range, each standing apart from the existing ones.

Q. What went behind the making of the campaign with Tamannnaah Bhatia?
We onboarded her as the face of our iconic facial kit range. It was a strategic decision rooted in the alignment of her brand values with ours, emphasising empathy and authenticity.

As part of our campaign, she advocates comprehensive skincare through facial kits. This initiative was inspired by the collective feedback from consumers, highlighting the desire for an additional layer of facial care at the end of the week.

Despite the regular use of everyday skincare products like face wash and moisturisers, consumers expressed a need for deeper cleansing, hydration, and nourishment for their faces. This is where facial kits step in, serving as the essential component to complete their skincare regimen.

Also read: How Gen-Z women are redefining Indian beauty

The campaign reached more than 60 percent of our target audience and increased the traffic to our commerce site by 2X. It has proven to be successful, with an overwhelmingly positive response from our consumers. By resonating with their skincare needs and addressing the desire for a comprehensive solution, we've not only met their expectations but also strengthened the bond between our brand and our consumers.

Q. What are some interesting consumer trends that VLCC has noticed in the skincare, beauty and wellness industry? How is VLCC leveraging them?
Technology is revolutionising the beauty industry. Our commitment to enhancing consumer experience is exemplified by our strategic use of technology across touch points to enable a seamless and delightful experience across our products and services. We're getting closer to our consumers on the journey, ensuring convenience and ease at every step.

In response to the growing demand for transformational experiences, we understand that consumers seek more than just beauty services; they desire a journey that truly transforms their vision of themselves.

Leveraging the best of beauty science, we are at the forefront of delivering such experiences. The incorporation of cutting-edge beauty tech and industry leading experts allows our consumers to access the latest advancements in beauty science easily, empowering them to realise their own vision.

Also read: Deepika Padukone and Jigar Shah on growing 82 East to reach the Rs 100-crore ARR mark

Consumers now recognise the paramount importance of science, when it comes to skincare. In response to this demand, we have aligned our innovations with high science. In a world where consumers seek products that are high on efficacy and design, we are ensuring that our offerings are grounded in rigorous scientific research. We believe that skincare is not just about looking good, it's about feeling confident in one's own skin. Our scientifically backed innovations make this aspiration a tangible reality for our consumers.

Q. How important are the Tier 2 markets for you and how are you targeting those consumers?
With the ongoing digital revolution and increased disposable incomes, the Tier I and Tier 2 markets are contributing to the country's economic growth and transformation.

The burgeoning middle class, driven by rising disposable incomes, urbanisation, and the pursuit of a better lifestyle, is exhibiting a noteworthy demand for beauty and wellness products and services. Consumers in this segment are not only curious but also eager to explore the latest offerings. They are consistently seeking premium, science-backed products at affordable prices.

Also read: The growing online shopping craze in Tier I and II cities

We have a network of over 100 beauty clinics and more than half of them are in non-metros. At VLCC, we've established an extensive network of more than 1,000 beauty advisors across retail stores. They engage with consumers on a personal level, guiding them through the range of VLCC offerings to help them find the perfect fit. This, along with our D2C brand strategy, strikes the perfect balance, catering to all geographies. We aim at fostering a personalised and engaging shopping experience by leveraging social media, influencers, and user-generated content, and continue to grow our consumer base.

Q. What’s the VLCC strategy to enhance consumer experiences and how will it align with the brand's growth objectives?
Our strategy revolves around aligning with our target consumer’s needs, becoming an integral part of their journey across various touch points, and harnessing technology to provide the best consumer experience. We not only bring the latest advancements in beauty science but also bring the best in the country to deliver top-notch products and services to our consumers.

At the core of our mission is consumer delight, and we consistently leverage science and technology to elevate consumer experiences. Our emphasis is on incorporating the technology and innovation of beauty science into our products and services, whether it's infusing the science of serums into our facial kits or introducing the latest in cryolipolysis for consumer’s beauty needs. To complement these innovations, we have assembled a team of the finest dermatologists and physiotherapists at our clinics.

Also read: How negative reviews affect online consumers

This synergy ensures that we not only meet consumers' needs but also provide an unparalleled experience. Our commitment is not just about delivering beauty, it's about crafting an experience that resonates with consumers at every level.

Q. Can you share some details about VLCC's focus on a large network of retail clinics?
The VLCC Group’s operations currently span 310 locations in 139 cities and 11 countries, including India. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and Kenya are the other 10. We have a staff strength of over 3,000 skilled professionals, including medical doctors, nutritionists, physiotherapists, cosmetologists and wellness counsellors.