CNME Editor Mark Forker managed to secure an exclusive interview with Rob Pye, CEO of selfologi, to find out how the technology company is positioning itself to become the ‘go-to’ platform for people looking to book online cosmetic treatments across the Middle East region.
We live in an era that many analysts have labelled as the experience economy. Our dependency on technology has intensified and we rely on mobile applications to run our daily lives.
Interestingly, despite the fact it is now glaringly evident that we value convenience when it comes to how we interact with products and services, some industries have not yet leveraged the power of new technologies to transform the way it operates its business, and one such industry is that of cosmetic treatments.
Dubai-based start-up selfologi, which aims to better educate users on cosmetic treatments across the GCC region through its innovative and customer-centric platform – have projected that there is over $2.2 billion worth of cosmetic treatments annually in the GCC.
However, there is a huge void when it comes to the information on the treatments available, the quality and credibility of the clinics, and the ability to compare services, however, they believe their platform can radically transform the experience for consumers interested in cosmetic procedures.
“Our mission at selfologi is to become ‘the destination’ for cosmetic treatments. selfologi itself is a platform in which we want consumers to come and learn more about the cosmetic procedures that are available online. For us, the learning element is a huge pillar in what we are offering to consumers. We know from our research that there is over 1 million people actively searching every single month across the GCC region for information on different cosmetic treatments, but the consistency and quality of that information leaves a lot to be desired,” said Pye.
Pye said that users interested in cosmetic treatments quickly discovered that there was no authentic central source of information for them to get the answers that they wanted.
“Currently, if you Google laser hair removal, or Botox, or fillers, the search engine will generate results from 20 different websites that all have varying credibility, quality and consistency in relation to what are the best treatments for you. What we are aiming to do at selfologi is to fill that void, and really be that go to destination to find out the information that you need to know when considering cosmetic treatments,” said Pye.
As Pye pointed out, whilst many of the treatments available are non-invasive, some are obviously invasive, so it was understandable that many people considering treatment wanted access to the best possible information available to them.
“We want to provide consumers with the ability to compare and find the best clinic and practitioner for their specific treatment. Once they decide to press ahead with their treatment then they can look at user reviews, ratings, before and after images. Essentially, we give them a catalogue of information to better inform their decision-making. We are empowering them with knowledge, and once they have selected the clinic that they would like, then they can book directly from our platform,” said Pye.
There has been an exponential increase in digital transformation since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially across the Middle East.
The fact clinics within the cosmetic treatment industry in the region have not become digitalised, is not though resistance to change, but instead the fact that they are not sure how to get to where they need to go, but now selfologi is aiming to be that enabler.
As mentioned earlier in the article, there are around $2.2bn worth of cosmetic treatments carried out across the GCC, but almost none of it is booked online, so according to Pye if online channels can be utilised effectively then there is a huge opportunity to scale. He also highlighted the influence of its founder Tamer Wali.
“We are providing a complete end-to-end experience for the clinics. We are doing the full funnel from awareness to acquisition to conversion. Today, almost 0% of cosmetic treatments are booked online, it’s typically just lead generation forms and in-clinic bookings. We are backed by an incredible founder in Tamer Wali, who is our lead investor. He has 30-years of experience in cosmetic treatments, and he has worked for the leading distributor of medical aesthetic devices in the GCC. He has seen the B2B aspect of the business, and he has witnessed firsthand the evolution of that technology, and the delivery of these services has advanced massively over the years. However, the business model and how the business operates has remained relatively static, but we are here to help the clinics, and we truly believe our platform can completely transform their business and the industry overall,” said Pye.
Pye has enjoyed a decorated career in building startups in the beauty industry, and he is very excited at what he believes selfologi can achieve in the cosmetic treatment sector in the Middle East. His confidence is well-founded considering the company secured $17.5 million in seed funding in June of this year.
Pye said that he sees the role of selfologi between the end users and the clinics as that of a matchmaker.
“I always say to our team that our B2B customer is just as important as our B2C customer, because without us bringing the demand and bringing potential customers to the platform then we’ve got nothing of interest to the clinics. However, without the clinics coming on the platform and onboarding their services then we ultimately have nothing to offer to the consumers, so we have got to be that matchmaking agent. We need to infuse and sync both elements to make the platform a success. Our promise to the clinics is you take care of the patients, and we’ll take care of the rest,” said Pye.