The largest retailer of beauty products in India – Nykaa – has recently opened a store in Panaji called Nykaa Lux. In an exclusive conversation with The Goan, Madhavi Irani, Chief Business Content, Nykaa.com, explains how beauty product retailer Nykaa ensures that everything it sells is 100% authentic. Irani said that Nykaa buys all its products from authorized distributors of brands and it also has a “Nykaa Seal of Guarantee” at its site to prove that all the products it sells are totally genuine
The Goan: Earlier, Nykaa was only an online retailer for beauty products. But now, you are opening offline stores too – like Nykaa Lux in Panaji. Why did you change your strategy?
Madhavi Irani: You see beauty is a very touch and feel business. If you are buying a grocery product like lentils, you can go to an online retailer’s website or a kirana store, you’ll get the same product. On the other hand, when it comes to buying a beauty product, you would want to feel the texture, see colour and you’d like to know how to apply it.
This is why we thought offline presence is also important, especially for those first-time beauty consumers, who are hesitant about using beauty products. At our stores, we have beauty advisors at each counter, who will tell you what to buy and they will do a free make-over for you so that you know how to apply a product. This will make you feel more comfortable in touching, handling and using beauty products.
TG: You’re also into men make-up and grooming products. Traditionally, Indian men have been conservative about such products. How’s the market now?
MI: A lot of men in India typically use their wife’s or girl-friend’s beauty products like face-washes, cleansers, skin-creams and shampoos. We realized that men’s skin is thicker than women’s skin and it requires products with greater efficacy to penetrate their skin. That’s why, we launched Nykaa Man website and app.
Given our hot climate, tanning, acne, oiliness and pigmentation are huge concerns for men. We have also seen men buying a lot of concealers and lip-balms, which are very basic products. I think a lot of men use these products, but they are hesitant talking about it because they think they may seem vain.
I have a couple of friends, who are dermatologists and they are on our site as well. They tell me that more and more men are coming for botox and laser skin-treatments because they don’t want to look tired. So, there’s a huge potential in India for men’s products, but it’s also true that men don’t like talking about it. However, it’s changing because people are becoming more confident of their skin and they aren’t ashamed to talk about using beauty products.
TG: In beauty market, there’s a huge concern about fake products. How do you deal with it?
MI: I agree with you that fake products is a huge issue. For us, we have something called “Nykaa Seal of Guarantee”. We guarantee that everything we sell at Nykaa is 100% genuine. And, there’s a reason why we have managed to do it.
Other online retailers are online-market places, which means anyone can become a seller on these platforms. They don’t care much about where sellers source their products from. However, at Nykaa, we only source from authorized distributors of a brand or directly from a brand itself. Since we are an inventory-led model, we have eight warehouses across India, where we store these products.
We are buying inventory at least 3 months in advance and we store it in our warehouses and then we send it to our customers. So, we control the entire chain from sourcing to delivery to ensure that everything we sell is genuine. We have also spoken to our brand partners, who have sent us signed certificates saying that Nykaa only buys products from them and from no one else. We believe it’s super important for us to establish that what we sell is not going to harm your skin or cause any sort of damage. A seal of guarantee goes a long way in ensuring that the customers trust us for selling only genuine products.
TG: You mentioned earlier in your press-conference that Goa and Western India are different markets for you than other parts of the country. Could you elaborate on that?
MI: South India, traditionally, is not a great make-up consuming market. They are in skin-care and hair-care, but they are more into traditional home remedies. North India is a very make-up heavy market. Everyone wants to wear a lot of make-up there.
However, Western India is a very cosmopolitan part of the country. We have an equal number of make-up buyers, skin-care buyers and hair-care buyers in this market. People try all sorts of products here.
TG: Why is it that big online retailers are not concentrating much on beauty products when they are selling even appliances now?
MI: Big online retailers do sell beauty products. But, the thing is beauty products need to be presented in a very aesthetic way. Most online retailers have a very standard format, which perhaps is due to their global mandate. So, a customer sees a lipstick or a face-cream on their websites pretty much in the same format in which he sees books and electronics.
On the other hand, Nykaa’s online portal talks to a woman. For a woman, experience of buying a beauty product is as important as the actual purchase. The other thing we did differently from the start is – build content, which no one else in the country has done. There are a lot of questions around beauty and we are answering them in multiple ways and formats.
TG: Aren’t other online players trying a hostile takeover of you guys because they are very aggressive?
MI: I think Nykaa is very much here to say. Our CEO, Falguni Nayar, is a very astute businesswoman. She’s in this business for the long-term. We are not going to sell out or let other players take us over.