Fastest growing companies 2020: A cut above the rest by staying abreast of consumer trends

KC Group directors (from far left) Brian Ng, Bernard Ng and Samuel Pei at the kcuts outlet in Fusionopolis. The group now has eight lifestyle brands, with a total strength of 400 staff. PHOTO: COURTESY OF KC GROUP

Retailers and service businesses face fierce competition, but hair and beauty chain KC Group ensures it retains its foothold in the industry by providing top-notch service.

Part of that mission involves staying firmly abreast of consumer trends, such as popular hairstyles in the region.

Understanding the demands of customers has helped the group to clinch fifth place in the list of Singapore's fastest-growing companies compiled by The Straits Times and global research company Statista.

KC Group ranked ninth in the previous survey.

It expanded at a compound annual growth rate of 193.1 per cent from 2015 to 2018.

Directors Bernard Ng, Brian Ng and Samuel Pei attributed its success to setting up a robust business management system from the start to enable the company to keep up with customer demands and maintain service standards as it grew.

For instance, the group expanded hairdressing service kcuts rapidly because of the decision to grow the business through franchising.

The brand started with one outlet in 2013 in Fusionopolis and now has about 50 branches islandwide.

The directors said: "We invested in and built our own franchise business system, which includes the point-of-sale system, cash management and reporting system, and training programme.

"It took time and trial and error as we made tweaks and refined our system. But once it was set up, we had the systems in place to ensure that as the business grew, the quality and standards of service were maintained."

They added that it is essential to understand consumers.

The group even sends mystery shoppers into its outlets and conducts customer surveys.

"This allows us to identify gaps in our service delivery and take appropriate action to improve the customer experience.

"Having a deep understanding of consumer needs allows us to develop new products and services that address changing consumer needs and ensures that our products and services remain relevant to their demands.

"Staying relevant helps us to be at the forefront of consumers' minds when then they are making purchase decisions."

The group now has eight lifestyle brands, with a total strength of 400 staff.

The brands include salons such as Apgujeong Hair Studio and Myeongdong Hair Studio and beauty brand Hanbang Skin Solutions.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2020, with the headline A cut above the rest by staying abreast of consumer trends. Subscribe