A diamond in the rough — rising above the competition
Businesses all over the world are struggling. With inflation growing out of control, and the post-COVID recession — we’re seeing more and more businesses shutting their doors or letting their staff go.
CosRX however, has found a way to grow in the midst of the recession and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Why is this impressive?
As a cosmetics company originating from South Korea — the mecca of skincare and cosmetics — the competition is brutal.
And it wouldn’t have been surprising to see the company get buried under the mountain of other brands that come from the country.
But CosRX was able to rise above these other brands and find its biggest success, not only in Korea but on the international stage.
Breaking the shackles of paid marketing
It’s no secret that paid marketing isn’t producing the same returns as it once did. The new policy move by Meta, Apple and Google, have changed the face of paid marketing all over the world.
But CosRX, wasn’t phased by the change.
When we asked how it happened, the marketing manager of CosRX simply stated, “We just focused more on our customers.”
“Obviously we were also affected by the policy change, but what we lost in paid marketing we made up for through our return customers and alternative marketing.”
For the problem with acquisition, CosRX turned towards partnerships with influencers and increasing content output on social media platforms like Tiktok or Instagram.
For their customers, they spent time improving the quality of their customer interactions and paying special attention to the VOC, in order to improve their product and service.
(Note: If you didn’t already know, VOC stands for the ‘voice of the customer’ which describes customer feedback about their experiences and expectations for your products and services. Read on for details on how CosRX utilized the VOC to their advantage.)
As a result, the revenue they produced through these alternative methods, began to outweigh the loss in traffic from paid marketing, creating a healthy inflow of new customers to their online store.
Limitations of Open Marketplaces
Before we get into the details of what CosRX did to improve their customer interactions, it’s important to note another decision that helped CosRX find success where many failed.
This behemoth of a company is currently one of the largest open marketplaces on the planet and a popular go-to channel for e-commerce brands to get products in front of millions of potential buyers without needing a private website.
Sounds amazing — but there’s also a downside.
For companies that are looking to grow their business and brand presence, open marketplaces like Amazon can offer new opportunities, but at the same time — relying solely on these spaces presents some limitations.
Some of these limitations include:
- Strict policies for posting products
- Long and tedious processes for getting listed
- Limited brand identity
- Inability to connect with customers directly
- Inability to collect feedback on their product and service
The last 2 points convinced CosRX that they needed to keep their website.
(Tip: Did you know? Marketplaces like Amazon or Shopee take anywhere from 3-6% of the item price as a fee for selling on their platforms.)
Fighting on multiple fronts — having your own website
“We avoided the pitfall of relying solely on marketplaces. Staying outside these spaces allowed us to showcase our products like a showroom, and represent our brand the way we wanted.”
And although a portion of their sales did come from these marketplaces, it was absolutely important for them to be able to connect with their customers.
(Tip: Marketplaces like Amazon limit how you communicate with buyers, making it difficult to build genuine relationships with customers.)
“Our company values the communication we have with our customers and the feedback we get from them. It keeps us alert and allows us to constantly improve our product and our service, to address the needs of our customers. Relying solely on platforms like Amazon or Shopee limited the contact we had with them.”
By maintaining this D2C model through their own website, the number of their regular customers continued to increase, helping them achieve sustainable growth, that they wouldn’t have gotten relying solely on an open marketplace.
But why is customer contact so important?
Differentiating from 98% of competitors — becoming the 2%
The cosmetics industry is cut-throat and highly competitive.
CosRX knew that in order to survive in the industry, they needed a way to differentiate themselves from 98% of their competitors and become the 2% that find success even during economic recessions.
They made the decision to stand out by strengthening and improving their customer experience and focusing on increasing the number of regulars for their store.
But in order to do this, the team decided that they needed a way to provide an in-store level of service on an online environment — which led to their discovery of Channel Talk.
And what exactly does Channel Talk offer?
(Tip: Channel Talk offers 2 weeks free trial with access to all features. You can test all of the features risk free, and see how it can help your business grow!)
In-store service… online?
“Channel Talk allowed us to connect more intimately with our customers. The live chat and CRM helped us personalize the customer experience and ensure that the customers’ voices were heard. The chatbot also allowed us to collect and address international inquiries when we weren’t available due to the time difference, like a personal 24-hour concierge.”
The platform provided CosRX with a way to “remember” their regular customers, by providing detailed information about each of them — what they purchased, what they last saw on the site, etc. — and allowed them to use this information to their advantage.
They were able to offer special promotions to first-time or key VIP customers, customize greeting messages to greet each individual customer by name, make recommendations based on other items in their baskets, or even give hesitating customers a friendly nudge to complete a purchase.
Much like the experience you would have in-store.
But above all, it helped them access the VOC, which changed the quality of their product and service like never before.
(Tip: Channel Talk provides templates that make it easy to set up your marketing and support bot features for full use. You can use as many templates as you want, as many times as you want.)
How the VOC should ACTUALLY be used
“We hold weekly meetings to review the feedback that we get from our customers. As most of our business decisions are based on this feedback, our CEO insists that we review each one with full consideration, and apply any changes as quickly as possible.”
(Tip: You can categorize inquiries using the tag feature on Channel Talk to help easily identify repeat inquiries.)
But isn’t that what everyone does?
Not quite. What was surprising about CosRX’s process, was the depth of their review and how quickly the changes were applied.
“It’s quite simple actually — and it’s surprising how many companies fail to do this — but if there’s repeat feedback about a problem, it’s important to really pay attention to what customers are saying. You need to find the root cause that led to the feedback instead of just taking it at face value.”
For example, if repeat complaints came in regarding leaking packages, they didn’t just refund the product and assume that it was poor packaging or delivery.
They introduced additional package types, sizes, or even replaced the packaging completely with stronger more durable materials to apply the VOC to their product lines.
(Note: CosRX’s Snail Cream which was only available in jar-type packaging, was renewed with tube-type packaging, and added to the line as a new release — as requested by their customers.)
Amazingly simple, isn’t it?
Because of this attention to detail, shoppers continue to purchase CosRX’s products, trusting that they’ll receive, not just a good product, but also the great service to back it up.
Centralizing the business onto a single platform — Channel Talk
With Channel Talk as part of the equation, CosRX now handles CX inquiries systematically, with everything centralized onto a single platform.
- Customer information is managed through the CRM
- Simple inquiries are automated through the chatbot.
- Order-related inquiries are handled by email.
- Questions that require personal attention are handled by live chat.
(Note: CosRX utilizes other features like the marketing feature to send promotions and reminders to customers.)
Doing this helped CosRX minimize the resources needed to handle their growing number of CX inquiries, and helped the company stay organized, address the most urgent inquiries in real-time, and build genuine relationships with their customers.
But that’s not all.
Finding their product market fit (PMF)
When they first started their expansion onto the international stage, CosRX’s assumed that products that were popular in Korea would also be popular in other countries.
But this wasn’t the case.
Through the conversations they were having with their incoming customers, CosRX was able to discover a few valuable hints about their products and their customers’ preferences:
- They found out that the Snail Mucin Line is the most popular among international customers, while One Step Pads & Full Fit Propolis Line are popular in Korea.
- They found out that specific products were popular among customers with acne-prone skin in Southeast Asia, due to the humidity and difference in weather conditions.
- They were also able to figure out that there were products that performed better on certain marketplace platforms over others.
These 3 new discoveries helped CosRX focus its attention on promoting specific products to specific target audiences, which helped them maximize the returns for their efforts.
And there’s even more.
Discovering the unknown — finding new markets through conversation
CosRX also found out that their products were picking up popularity in places that they initially didn’t expect.
They found out that 80% of their sales were coming from international buyers as opposed to local Korean customers.
They also discovered small pockets of international communities that were beginning to recognize the CosRX brand.
(Tip: Channel Talk also offers customer statistics making it easier to discover even more information.)
“It was really interesting seeing where our products were being sold. We would have never found out about these other potential markets if we hadn’t seen it through the CRM database or heard it from our customers. Finding out about these new buyers opened up opportunities for us that we never would have known about if it wasn’t for Channel Talk.”
To visit their site and learn more about CosRX's business click here.