Background and challenge
A private equity client enlisted the services of L.E.K. Consulting to help assess a potential investment in a rapidly growing beauty and lifestyle product that used sustainable and natural ingredients. A key part of developing the investment thesis was understanding the brand’s ecommerce position and revenue growth potential within DTC channels, including the brand’s proprietary website and third-party ecommerce retailers such as Amazon. Additionally, the client wanted to better understand the upside potential in adjacent categories that could supplement future revenue growth.
Approach and recommendations
L.E.K. first assessed the drivers of growth in the beauty and lifestyle products market and identified several headwinds and tailwinds currently affecting the trajectory of the industry. We found that while COVID-19 had been detrimental to personal care products as consumers stayed home, preferences were still high for products that focused on sustainability and all-natural ingredients.
Next, we used a customer survey and several proprietary tools to provide the client with a “real-time” assessment of customer dynamics for the brand. Using Navigator, we looked at web traffic across DTC websites and various keyword search terms to assess the overall strength of the brand’s ecommerce presence. This highlighted the brand’s underperformance relative to competitors’ performance when considering traffic and search rank. Additionally, we leveraged our Fingerprint tool, in conjunction with a consumer survey, to characterize the brand’s key customer profiles. This helped us define the younger customer demographic that was primarily responsible for the brand’s sales.
With the insights derived from the consumer survey and our proprietary tools, we could provide the brand with well-articulated recommendations, such as to optimize marketing spend including paid search to drive DTC traffic.
We then turned our attention to the competitive positioning of the brand. Leveraging our consumer survey, we discovered that the brand outperformed most core competitors across key purchase criteria; with that and strong customer loyalty, the brand was primed to perform well across major third-party ecommerce retailers. However, our SKUology tool revealed that the brand was severely underperforming competitors on one prominent ecommerce platform when the brand’s differentiated characteristics were used as search terms. This revealed a significant opportunity for incremental revenue growth by stealing share from core competitors on the ecommerce site.
Finally, we leveraged our consumer survey to identify and prioritize opportunities to extend the brand’s core value proposition into other beauty and personal care categories, and we developed a long-term revenue forecast with adjacent categories included to inform the client’s investment decision.
Our work gave the client confidence to move forward with their investment, which successfully closed shortly after the project. The team also left with a better understanding of the key strategic initiatives that will drive growth for the brand and is working toward implementation.