Glam Ego has garnered over 50,000 subscribers in two months and has over 22 brands on board.

Budget beauty How a startup is bringing your favourite luxury brands at throwaway prices
Atom Startups Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 21:59

Startups have been spending millions of dollars on marketing to get their ideas, products out there into the market. It has been this very cash-burning that has led to the downfall of most failed startups. And while marketing is a very important tool, using it the right way and tapping the right people through the right channels can do wonders.

An example for this is Glam Ego, a startup that works in the subscription commerce space. Having launched only in March 2017, Glam Ego has garnered over 50,000 subscribers in just two months. It has over 22 brands on board has even reached operational breakeven. So how did it manage such success in such a short span of time? A comparison of Glam Ego’s strategies with best-known marketing tips may have the answer.

Uncover a niche market

When marketing professional Lavanya Sunkari wanted to start something new, she decided that it should be something that she was personally interested in. After ruling out ideas like an art aggregation platform, she decided to do something in the cosmetics space. 

After extensive research, she discovered the concept of subscription commerce, something that is not popular in India yet . So far there have hardly been 2-3 players in this market like Fab Bag anf Envy Box.

Subscription commerce is a concept that lets consumers sample products they haven’t used before. For a certain monthly subscription amount, you receive a box or bag of four items from high-end brands that are otherwise unaffordable.

“When we go for a store, we usually buy a smaller version for a huge price. What we say is, don’t do that. You’re not even sure if it will suit your skin. For a small price, we will send you samples of brands based on your skin, body-type and preferences,” Lavanya says.

And what’s a better market for a model like this other than India where most of the population is aspirational. There are a number of us who would want to try out all the fancy cosmetics and beauty products but wouldn’t want to shell out a big sum for it.

Lavanya Sunkari, co-founder, Glam Ego

Capture the right market

This was imperative for Lavanya’s idea to work. And with the concept being fairly new, it had to reach out to as many people as possible. Glam Ego took to social media for this. It reached out to fashion bloggers and influencers with a good social media following and had them try out Glam Ego and then review the box when they received it. This made their company popular on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

All those who followed these fashion bloggers and influencers for tips and the latest trends are exactly the market Glam Ego wanted to capture. Not surprising then, that Glam Ego sees about 700-1000 registrations on a regular basis. A simple google search for Glam Ego too, throws up hundreds of results, mostly reviews of the box.

Lavanya says that she knew it was a scalable idea but did not imagine to see a traction of around 10,000 users on one day when it launched.

Brands too, are more than happy to associate with such companies as it is a marketing avenue for them. Lavanya says that this is the best way for brands to reach out their target audience and see higher conversion rates.

Brands must get personal

According to SalesForce, collecting key data from consumers, companies are able to build profiles offering targeted content and incentives to purchase. Getting personal with consumers equates to greater emotional connection with customers who will help drive word-of-mouth referrals and online reviews.

On registering, Glam Ego asks you a couple of questions like your skin type, complexion, hair-type, hygiene and make up preferences. Every month, it sends you customised products from the pre-selected items on its platform for you to try. So for about Rs 299, you get four products that are otherwise worth Rs 800-1000.

Glam Ego has an algorithm, which gives them the complete info of a customer enabling them to send them products as per their preferences. Lavanya says that there is a lot of curation that goes into it putting together a single box. 

“We look at usability, not just the product. The product has to be frequent use, should get over in a month. We don’t put two hair care, or two makeup products in one box. We ensure there is a combination of bath, body, hair and makeup products,” she adds.

And to build brand loyalty, each brand is repeated in alternate months with different SKUs.

Glam Ego has 22 brands on board across bath, body, skin, foot care and makeup categories. It is also in the process of bringing more makeup brands onto the platform.

Match your price to your promises

The whole idea behind Glam Ego is to try and buy. To get customers to try the products they have to keep the prices low. 

“When I look at such concepts abroad, some of the most popular companies do it for as cheap as $10, which is a throwaway price and I felt like this should be the case for India as well,” Lavanya says.

When it launched, Glam Ego charged as low as Rs 199 per box as the launch offer. And it is this price, Lavanya believes, helped her capture the entire market.  After running this offer for a month, it now charges Rs 299 per box. 

A box contains a combination of full-sized and sample-sized products, which according to Lavanya, sets them apart from other players in India.

And here comes the best part. Glam Ego gives you 15 days to try the product and decide if you like it or not. After 15 days, it offers those products at 50% the price, which is valid for 48 hours. And even after that, these products are always available at a discounted rate on their website. These products are available in their e-commerce section.

Glam Ego only sells products it sends in its boxes. Lavanya says that brands are also open to discounts as this is a marketing expense and a form of conversion for them. And while Glam Ego charges customers for the box, brands too pay Glam Ego for marketing its products.

Content is king

Selling a product the right way is key, according to Lavanya. Here she gives the example of how she made a luxury product like bath salts for foot care, otherwise used by few, an extremely popular product on her platform.

“We had a product from Soapsquare which are bath salts you can put in water and soak your feet. It was a luxury product, something I hadn’t heard of before either. The product description also said spa product, luxury product. But how to make people use it? It contained Himalayan and Epsom sea salts. So I looked up its qualities and found that it can heal fungus on regular usage. I used it myself and tested it and then marketed the product calling it fungus healing salts. It worked wonders,” she says.

What we infuse into people’s minds is very important. The uniqueness of the product has to be communicated to customers, according to her.

Now going forward, Glam Ego will work on its algorithm to streamline its process and offer better customisation. And with the number of subscribers growing exponentially, bringing on more brands is also a large focus. The aim for Lavanya is to touch every beauty lover in India, at an affordable price.

This article has been produced with inputs from T-Hub as a part of a partner program.

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