Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) behemoth Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has changed the operations of its direct-selling businesses, Aviance and Lever Ayush range of health and beauty products, from physical servicing to an online ordering and fulfillment model, reports the Economic Times. This could likely pave the way for the company’s e-commerce debut.
Consumers can buy the Aviance and Lever Ayush range products through HUL network consultants, who will operate only online now and will no longer have any physical offices. Earlier in September, Hinudstan Unilever was said to be conducting a pilot project in the e-commerce segment. At that time it was reported that HUL would be looking to use its retail distribution reach across the country to deliver products to consumers at their doorsteps with kirana stores playing a key role in the project.
It’s worth noting that many other online marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal have begun selling everyday consumer products. For example, Amazon said categories such as skincare, baby nursing, make-up, deodorants and grooming products have grown by more than five times in the past year, as indicated by an Economic Times report. Snapdeal also expects the growth to be around 50 times in the coming three years, the report added.
It’s also worth noting that retail giant Future Group has launched a B2C portal for Big Bazaar Direct last year. The web portal currently lists mobiles, electronics, appliances, fashion, home & living, kitchen & dining and luggage & travel categories. To place an order a user needs a franchisee code which can be obtained from franchisees close to the user.
Online beauty products store Nykaa has raised Rs 20 crore through undisclosed private investors, earlier in July 2014. Nykaa currently offers beauty and wellness products across various categories like makeup, skin care, hair care, bath & body products, perfumes, colognes, and herbal products among others. It claims to offer products from more than 200 brands like Ponds, Dove, Gillette, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal, Garnier, Maybelline, Lakme, Revlon, Esprit, Jaguar, Axe, Braun and Park Avenue among others.
Other players in this segment include Purplle.com which had raised an undisclosed amount of investment in Series A funding from Blume Ventures, Mumbai Angels and Chennai Angels in August 2013, Bangalore-based VioletBag and Mumbai-based Beautykafe.com.
Mumbai-based Fab Bag (previously Vellvette) also offers a subscription based cosmetics service and had raised $500k from India Quotient and angel investors Nitin Agarwal and Siddharth Ladsariya in Feb 2013.