Shankar Prasad, Founder & CEO, Plum
For Plum, the last 2 years have been an (upward) roller-coaster, and with the latest signs of a third wave, we are expecting the ride to continue! In the midst of all the concern and uncertainty, two things have kept us going: one, the Indian woman’s love affair with clean beauty and personal care, and two, our ability to understand consumer needs and meet them in delightful ways that also deliver results. 2022 offers us multiple ways to continue to leverage these two factors to drive our mission of adding real goodness to the world we live in! Here are 3 of them:
We are best known for our skincare, but a lot of people also enter the brand through our kajal which has been a bestseller since 2015. So have some of the hair products that we launched earlier this year. And Plum Bodylovin’ is beginning to go places! And there is so much more to do within skin care itself. To chase the emerging opportunities in all these categories, we’ve organized ourselves into category teams that can focus on consumer needs and go-to-market strategies specific to each category and sub-category. We expect hair, makeup and bath & body to start contributing 50%+ of overall revenue in the near future, on a much larger base.
The relaunch of brand Phy for guys who care has been successful, and 2022 is going to be the year for an amplified go-to-market push. With its high-quality products, distinctive visual appeal and affordable pricing, Phy brings in a fresh, exciting new perspective to the male care market.
This one is really exciting for us. As Plum has grown and has begun to occupy an important place in people’s minds, we’ve come to realize that the relationship of the Plumster (i.e., the Plum customer) with Plum goes beyond just the face wash or shampoo she’s using. It’s a deeper, emotional connect that is deeply appreciative of the brand’s core ethos of “be good”. In 2022 we are partnering with agencies and creators to bring alive this ethos of being good in as many different and interesting ways as possible. We do hope this communication will inspire more people to join our mission of adding real goodness to our world. If there’s one thing that needs to go viral in the world today, it’s the realization that we need to be good.
2022 is also going to be the year when our communication will graduate out of the usual digital channels into a broader base of digital and traditional media. Covid-permitting, our offline activations will also start seeing a fuller push, as they had taken the backseat over the last several quarters to due to Covid-induced restrictions.
We are an omnichannel brand, with a 60:40 split between online and offline channels. As we continue to deepen the existing channels, several interesting possibilities are emerging on both online and offline channels. Within online channels, the emergence of creator-led eCommerce apps, instant commerce platforms, and horizontalization of hitherto vertical platforms offer immense opportunities for popular brands like us. Equally, on the offline side, where we are present in over 270 cities through assisted as well as unassisted points of sale, new models are emerging. Encouraged by the performance of our first exclusive outlet in Mumbai, we are in the process of opening up at least 50 others over the next 18-24 months, with 4 of them currently under fitout. Similarly, our first steps towards international expansion have been met with encouraging responses within and outside of Asia, Covid notwithstanding. This has encouraged us to step up efforts to spread the good beyond the borders of India.
Our own D2C channel will also see a big tech upgrade, which will further improve the customer experience pre- and post-shopping. We are looking to integrate several personalization technologies on our platform. Within the other ecommerce channels, we continue to partner with the marketplaces to help their customers get the best product selection experience. Lastly, there is a lot more network widening as well as same-store productivity growth to be driven through the introduction of new categories, better consumer education, and stronger brand resonance.
Overall, 2022 promises to be a hyper-active year along multiple dimensions. One unsaid, but perhaps the most important enabler of the above initiatives is going to be the people who are going to make all of this happen at a double-quick pace. We’ve been busy building a team with the right combination of skills, experience, attitude, and values, and can’t wait to see all of this come together this year.
Even as we enter the year with a prayer on our lips for an uneventful third wave, we are equally excited for the opportunities that the market holds for new-age brands that have a finger on the pulse of the consumer.