The new normals in a world where Covid-19 has become a part of our life and has brought about many changes in the way businesses will be conducted, and more importantly, the way we live our life.
In this story of Back to Business, we spoke to Manish Chowdhary, Co-Founder, WOW Skin Science to understand their learnings during the lockdown, back to business strategies and the way forward.
How are you coping up with the impact of Covid-19 on WOW Skin Science? How effectively have you used the lockdown period?
COVID-19 is something new the world is witnessing and it has hit all of us across the world with unexpected challenges. We are now at a situation that we could never have foreseen. The lockdown due to this pandemic has hit businesses across the world. For us, as a brand, things have taken a drastic turn – the impact of lockdown has been devastating for our organisation. In this period, we have practically got no revenue, which has hit the bottom line in a big way. But this is not just us, most consumer goods/FMCG companies are facing similar situation. The lockdown has had a very negative impact on our logistics. Due to this our shipping is suspended and the whole supply chain has got affected. Tough times are ahead in the foreseeable future. It is indeed difficult days that we are living in – we are learning to cope and being patient.
It has definitely slowed down our business. But that does not mean we have slowed down in working on new products or developing newer versions. The current situation might be slow, but we are preparing for the future, where in coming months we see an increased buying of personal care products. This slowdown has also helped us to look at newer segments of products. We have developed hand sanitizers and hand washes to meet the demand that this there in the market.
The quest for a solution to a particular crisis helps invent new business opportunities and sometimes leads to a revision of existing business models … What sort of innovation has or will the Covid-19 pandemic bring to your brand/industry/category?
Truly, we have had to think about being more agile and innovations have played a major part. We have actually gone back to the strategy that we followed when we were starting out as a bootstrapped company. We have tightened our capital expenditure and controlled our operating cost. The focus is to improve our value as brand for our consumers. That is why we have been working on developing new range of products based on the upcoming skincare and haircare trends. Our product strategy and marketing teams have looked at newer formulation and worked on all aspects of product development.
In the current Unlock plan being implemented by the government, how have you resumed RentoMojo?
We have been doing business through our online partners like Amazon, Nykaa, Purplle since our products fell under the essential good category. We did take the orders through our online shop and have started delivering the products across the country since the easing of the lockdown.
While the lockdown is almost over…what is your communication strategy? What will be the objective of the communication/marketing strategy?
The communication strategy will focus on wellness and new products that talk about hygiene and selfcare. We have a strong online presence and we are leveraging the social media and our blog to talk about the brand, the goodness of natural actives and how WOW skin Science delivers that to our consumers. We are using different mediums to ensure that the consumers are connected with us on a regular basis.
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
Our employees depend on the business running smoothly. Not just employees in the corporate offices but also workers who manage our warehouses are depended on us. Our employees are our biggest assets. All this time, they have been instrumental in driving the business, and helping us create our brand. So in the time of duress, we are ensuring that they stay safe and maintain social distancing. Their health is our prime focus. That is why we are following the work from home guidelines set by the government. We are also following strict sanitization guidance for those on the ground. We are also trying to ensure that their earnings are not impacted in a major way.
What are some of the new-normal business strategies that you will use to bring the business back on track or at least get it in the right direction and also create demand for yourself?
Innovation and following market trends and pre-empting consumer demand are going to drive the business for us. Since the market has been impacted severely, we expect to grow back steadily. Through the lockdown we have not stopped working on developing new products, explore latest actives. We plan to introduce range of products that up the feel-good-factor in our consumer. What with focus on hygiene and cleanliness, consumers will want products that help them stay safe, clean and have skin and hair that’s nourished and healthy. That is the need we want to target with new SKUs.
What would you suggest budding entrepreneurs and business owners to do in these difficult times?
This is the time to evaluate your business and your product ranges. This is the time to connect with your team and evaluate the hits and misses of 2019 and look at things that could be done better. Ensure that the health of your team is strong and help them develop. Think of newer ways of connecting with the consumers, look at lifting the mood of the market through innovative brand communications and products. This is also the time to be patient and resolute.