It is said that leadership is an influence. One doesn’t lead by pointing at a place and asking people to go there. One leads by going to that place and making a case. Similarly, leaders from different brands had to lead from the front in this fight for survival.
The last one year was time for some serious strategic planning, decision making, investing in new areas, resuming business, implementing digitization, technology, innovations and also ensuring safety to the employees and consumers.
One such leader, who helped lead his brand out of the crisis and direct it on to the path to normalcy was Vikram Bhatt, Founder, Enrich. In an exclusive chat with IMAGES Retail Bureau, he talked about how his brand faqred during the pandemic and how they worked to bring back consumer and increase sales.
From your brand’s perspective, how did you fare during the lockdown and what was the consumer response in the initial Unlock phase?
During the lockdown, we continued our customer advisory to communicate with them. We conducted survey detailing the post- COVID protocol and got response from 40,000 customers. We also hand delivered the products to the clients at their door step. We came up with an initiative- ‘Call Is Well’. The primary objective of this campaign was to reconnect with our clients, offer help regarding any beauty related issues due to the lockdown situation. We also conducted DIY sessions for the customers, webinars and helped them address their queries
What steps did you take to bring the brand firmly on the road to recovery?
The first thing that we worked on was safety. Being an industry where personal touch is of the essence, we had to ensure that when we re-start, our staff and customers safety was the top priority. We had to modify/tweak our safety measures and make it more stringent. We created a new, heightened safety protocol – in fact co created this with our customers.
The home salon service was made a part of the mainstream offerings of our brand, where therapists from Enrich salons in the catchment would render the expert services at clients convenience and in the comfort of their home. We also strengthened our online play as well, information and bookings on our website and mobile app as well including retail aftercare products.
Beginning October 2020, we started an initiative called Greenrich Rewards through which we are encouraging the masses to contribute towards the sustainability of our planet, where we are rewarding our clients for every small step they take to help us achieve the goal of saving our planet. These initiatives helped in recovering lost ground in revenue terms.
Did you emphasise more on a digital presence in this time period or did you opt for the traditional retail model with minor adjustments?
COVID-19 has not only brought about a change in the approach of marketing, but it has also made companies focus on digital mediums especially social media. Being a salon brand, we have been creating content which offers customers tips and tricks to maintain themselves during lockdown, make up tutorial for festivals. We have also worked on our app and website and ensured that we give the best experience to our customers.
Have you launched any innovative consumer experiences over the pandemic period?
Personal protection kit comprising of mask, gloves, body robe, shoe cover, ABS key, sanitizer were provided to the salon staff as well as to consumers. Sensor based sanitizers, step and pull mechanism to pull the door, cash and mobile sterilizer at the front desk, glass separators for nail color service and facial, use of cartridge wax ensuring single use, air purifier and sterilizer wand etc. were installed at every outlet to ensure better consumer experience and safety.
Does your brand have an Omnichannel / Phygital strategy? If yes, elaborate.
The pandemic allowed us to work in an even more focussed manner on our Omnichannel presence. Our revenues are predominantly focussed on services but having realised the importance during these times we have a renewed focus and plan to increase the proportion of products in our mix. We took steps to deliver services across salon and out of salon. We adopted technology across all touchpoints in delivering the personal touch.
How has been the consumer response been in the festival season? Were you able to match the level of business and profit last year?
With an increase in footfall during these festive months, the revenues have also been decent but not as last year’s. Christmas and the New Year also saw a good turnout.
Has the brand reached pre-COVID levels in terms of sales? If no, how much more time will be required to reach the same?
Till November, the footfalls were 50 percent and revenue was 60 percent year-on-year. This shows that about 40 percent of consumers who visited our salon last year are yet to visit the salon again. We are hoping that coming few months with the drop in pandemic new cases the recovery becomes faster.
What are your future plans?
We will be focusing on few areas to safeguard our position with the consumers as well as our bottom-line for the coming year-2021. We will be increasing our focus on product sale and online presence. Adding technology and creating right kind of processes and structure will also be the key objective.
How much has the company grown under your leadership during COVID?
Like someone wise said, for this pandemic year ‘survival is growth’. Ensuring that we bide our time through the lockdown and survive with our team members and customers was priority #1. We are in the second phase – that is to get back to our pre-COVID revenue run rates. The good news is that we are growing month-on-month and with the festival season upon us, hopefully the recovery will be more sooner than later. Next, we will get back to our plans of expansion – hopefully more stronger, more resilient and more closer as a team, having braved this storm and learnt from this experience.