Further to this, with our warehouse being based in Melbourne we were able to successfully navigate changes in our business operations while experiencing a significant surge in demand from new and existing customers. Throughout this, our two priorities have been keeping our team safe and keeping our customers happy. We’ve worked really hard to put every safeguard we can around our operating environment so that we could keep delivering to our customers – it’s clear they needed us throughout this period.
You stepped into the role of CEO earlier this year. What were your first priorities?
I have long-admired Adore Beauty – a genuine Australian start-up success story. Kate Morris, as a student at the age of 21, and her co-founder James Height started Adore as Australia’s first beauty e-commerce site in 1999 from a garage in Melbourne. They started with just $12,000, and two cosmetic companies on board.
Adore Beauty has since grown to more than 230 brands, 11,000 products, and hundreds of thousands of customers. I was impressed with what they have achieved, but even more impressive for me was how they have achieved this – taking a very values-led approach that puts customers at the very centre of how the business operates.
My first priority was to listen and seek to understand what our customer is looking for when she shops for premium beauty. Beyond that, I am privileged to have joined a business with strong foundations in terms of its people, its culture and its business model, so my focus during these early stages has been on deepening my knowledge to determine how I can further support the business to scale and drive to the next level of growth.
Throughout 2020 Adore Beauty attracted a large number of new customers, what does your data tell us about first time e-commerce shoppers? Are they loyal?
The movement restrictions associated with Covid definitely brought new customers to online shopping, and as beauty is a high-frequency purchase, we believe these behaviours are habit forming and have created new cohorts of loyal customers. Based on the behaviours we have seen on our platform, especially in those states in Australia where restrictions have eased, we are confident that the shift to e-commerce throughout Covid has simply accelerated a structural trend. Even with a strong increase in sales volume across our platform, we have maintained our high levels of customer satisfaction and retention, which gives us confidence in the stickiness of customers who are new to online shopping.
After launching the Beauty IQ podcast and Youtube channel, what plans do you have for content in 2021?
Content is a really important part of the experience we offer our customers, the chance to discover new products and brands. Through our content, we aim to empower our shoppers by offering objective, unbiased, real and authentic information, and this has really resonated with our customers. We launched our podcast Beauty IQ in August 2019 and we have since passed 1 million downloads and ranked the number one fashion and beauty podcast in Australia. Similarly, we launched our Youtube channel in March last year, which has had 1.5 million views.
Content will continue to play a really important role in the value we deliver to our customers, and we will expand the topics we cover and the channels we use to connect with our customers – for example we have recently launched TikTok.
Adore Beauty is planning to launch a mobile app and a customer loyalty program. What new capabilities will these channels add to the business?
Our app will have a content-first focus, and with this we aim to build a deep, ongoing, relationship with our customers so we can engage with them and add value to their lives on a daily and weekly basis, not just when they are shopping. Our loyalty program is another really important initiative for us, where we aim to build a personalised, tailored program that recognises and rewards our customers at all stages of their journey with us.
What are your top priorities for the business in the next 12 months?
We are focused on continuing to build an exceptional customer experience, through building out our brand and product portfolio including expanding into related categories. We will also focus on delivering a leading digital shopping experience, increasing the personalisation of all of our content, product and recommendations, as well as growing customer engagement and retention through initiatives like our mobile app and loyalty programs. We believe that by staying true to our customers, brands, values and vision, we can solve the potential challenges, and take advantage of all the opportunities that time may bring.
This article was originally published in the Australian Retail Outlook. You can download the full report here.