Spreading fragrance of a golden scent
Malik Shehab, co-founder of Golden Scent.
When Ronny Froehlich and Malik Shehab, co-founders of Golden Scent, were living in Europe they noticed the boom of e-commerce industry, especially in beauty products. They decided to take a plunge into the trend and their research led them to one of the most vibrant beauty markets in the world.
"Our first step was to do our research and we found out that in the GCC women spend 4 to 6 times more on beauty [products] than the average woman in Europe," Shehab says. "Looking back at some consumer trends market research; GCC's beauty market reached $9.3 billion in 2016, which is an increase of 10 per cent over 2015; and a strong growth is expected over the next 4 years as consumers look to collectively spend $13.6 billion on their personal well-being in 2020," Shehab adds.
According to a research conducted by Euromonitor International, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) will be the fastest-growing region in beauty and personal care products. The MEA's $25.4 billion (Dh93.21 billion) market will grow by 6.4 per cent a year over the next 5 years, and globally, the sector is expected to grow 3 per cent a year. Markets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which together account for a quarter of the MEA's market, will grow by 12 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively. Additionally, Saudi Arabia dominates the overall sales market with a national spending of $5.3 billion.
"With the added special benefits the e-commerce provides such as shopping at the comfort of your home and variety of options to choose from, we knew Golden Scent will be successful," he continues.
Golden Scent, launched in 2014, is the leading e-commerce site in Saudi Arabia for high-end fragrances and beauty products.
"We achieved this status by providing exceptional service to our consumers by having high attention to details to provide a pleasant shopping experience at each step of the shopping journey. Starting from our friendly to use website and features and ending with after purchase customer services checkups. Today we enjoy having a social community of 1 million people on our social media channels and enabling us keep up with the latest products and trends that we share on social media," Shehab claims.
Shehab says his entrepreneurial journey has been amazing and rewarding. "We had a target every month and with our persistence and hard work we were able to achieve it and increase our growth month by month," he says.
"At Golden Scent we always focus on our consumer journey and how we keep improving our features to always exceed expectations and put our customer first. Moreover, our 2018 strategy is to keep increasing our product catalogue to be the biggest e-commerce beauty store in the Middle East with the widest selection of products," he discloses.
"Our business success stems from finding a solution to the shopping and self-expression needs of Saudis. Our growth has since rested on creating trust and engagement and delivering an excellent customer experience. I'm very proud to say that we've already broke even and achieved a double digital million dollar in revenue. Therefore, we're now ready to take other local and international brands and introduce them to our audience to catalyse new business opportunities and give our customers even more choice. Towards this end, we also launched a new mobile app to further expand our reach and make the Golden Scent shopping experience even more accessible," says Ronny Froehlich.
Golden Scent is planning a region-wide expansion after a successful Series A funding round, backed by top-tier vehicles such as Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures, Equitrust - the investment arm of Choueiri group, Wamda Capital and Raed Ventures - the investment arm of Almajdoui Holding.
"The strong growth as well as the vision and excellence of the founders to build Golden Scent to the number one beauty online destination in the GCC, has led us to invest in excellent opportunity," said Omar Almajdouie, managing partner and founder at Raed Ventures.
Shehab says that e-commerce in the region is still developing and growing industry and being one of the first businesses leading the industry in KSA, Golden Scent had to educate the users about how to order online and providing many payments methods to build trust with its customers and strengthen the relationship.
"There will always be challenges especially with growing industry. However, we invested in having e-commerce experts in our team to always be prepared and ready to face any challenges," he says.
Shehab says his main objective is to maintain high-level standards and services. "We are planning to expand to the UAE this year and serve the UAE market, especially with the high demand and requests we receive on social media to deliver to the UAE," Shehab says.
"E-commerce business is very fast paced and we always have to be ahead with all the trends happening around the world. Therefore, we always plan for major campaigns and new announcements to add to our profile, so stay tuned," he adds.
Shehab says the main area Golden Scent is focusing on is building credibility and trust with customers, "as in KSA we are converting offline shoppers to online shoppers. Therefore we provided multiple payment methods such as cash on delivery," he says.
He says that people, especially today more than ever, look for everything that is new so "New Arrival" is one of the popular categories as well as "Best Seller" category.
"Marketing plays a huge role in our lives and best sellers are usually products and brands that is supported by big marketing campaigns and we were able to make products as best sellers by pushing them using marketing campaigns," he concludes.