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.
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.”