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Adore Beauty

Adore Beauty case study

A case study that shows why innovation is so vital in the retail beauty industry.

Australia’s largest online retailer in the beauty category, Adore Beauty, was started before the invention of broadband, smartphones or social media.

From humble beginnings 17 years ago, the company now stocks 165 leading global brands and more than 12,000 products. Its phenomenal growth is a direct result of its persistence and ability to adapt to changing market conditions through innovation.

“When we started out the retail industry was dramatically different. While we had first online mover advantage, we had the unenviable task of convincing the entire retail beauty industry of the benefits and safety of online as a channel,” says founder Kate Morris.

Identify the problem

“You first need to have a clear idea of what your business does and doesn’t do, because innovation can send you down some wild paths,” she says. “You need to identify the problem you are trying to solve and work towards that goal.”

One of the larger projects Adore Beauty has tackled was creating a database of foundation colours to address the influx of customer requests for advice on colour matching, something that didn’t exist in the industry at the time.

“We built a database with over 1.7 million pairs within it, but also an e-commerce widget in our website that improves conversion rates for foundation by almost 70%,” Kate says.

Right attitude

As Adore Beauty continued to grow, innovation was more broadly adopted across other areas of the business, such as the hiring process.

“We like to hire ‘swimmers’. I would prefer to hire someone who does not have the experience but has the right attitude, so you can throw them into the deep end and they will swim!” Kate says.

“The nature of innovation is that you have to be doing things you don’t know how to do, all the time. It’s important to find people that actually enjoy this experience.” 

Things you should know: This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. The information in this report is based on a survey of 2,195 business owners, decision makers and mangers conducted on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank by DBM Consultants between August and September 2016; and an online survey of 505 Australian retailers carried out by ACA Research on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank in January and February of 2017. Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL and Australian credit licence 234945.