In June, Purplle unveiled its first-ever offline outlet in Delhi. While it is still in its early days, the 1,000sqft store already features artificial intelligence and augmented reality-based technology such as a virtual beauty mirror.
By expanding offline, CEO Manish Taneja told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the firm hopes to capture older beauty consumers, who may prefer purchasing cosmetics in physical stores.
He added that the firm hopes to capture the potential in India’s retail market. “My belief is that India is so under-penetrated from an offline beauty point of view. It’s actually an open field for anybody to go out there and get it.
“In a country of 1.3 billion people, I think there are not more than 300 or 400 beauty stores which are dedicated to beauty in India. The rest of the stores are all small stores run by local entrepreneurs. There is no organised retail in India beyond those 300, 400 stores. So, it's a big opportunity.”
The company is aiming to launch around 10 stores from now till the fourth quarter of this year.
“We are looking to add 10 stores quickly and experiment with those 10 stores. Then we are once we are able to perfect our model then we will open stores very, very quickly. I think the initial target is to open 10 stores by September or October and see how it plays out,” said Taneja.
In June, Purplle announced it had received U$33m in funding from Paramark Ventures, Premji Invest, Blume Ventures, and Kedaara.
The latest round of investments catapulted the company across the U$1bn valuation, earning it a spot among India’s many unicorn start-ups, which include beauty players Nykaa, The Good Glamm Group and Mamaearth.
In addition to its offline expansion plans, the company is aiming to invest into three areas, including technology and data science, as well as marketing. Tenaja estimated that the firm would spend at least U$25mil on marketing alone.
Lastly, the company is looking to acquire beauty brands to add to its portfolio. “We are always keen to acquire minority or majority stakes and other interesting beauty and personal care brands,” said Taneja.
“I think the criteria for us is less about category. We want to find a good entrepreneur that we can work with, somebody who has our value system, somebody who's very, very high on integrity, somebody who's willing to build at it for long term and make use of our distribution engine that we've created across both online and offline.”
The company has previously acquired feminine hygiene brand Carmesi and beauty brand Facescanada.
In addition, the company is also looking to bring in some overseas brands into India. Taneja revealed that the firm has already inked deals with a few Korean brands to satisfy the consumer demand for K-beauty.
“We will be very keen to see if there are more brands that we can bring to India,” he said.