Adore Beauty

Australia’s #1 Online Beauty Retailer

As seen on Power Retail on 21 Sep 2015 (powerretail.com.au)

Adore Beauty Founder Kate Morris shares her insights on how to delight customers, achieve rapid growth and the importance of choosing the right ERP.

How do you feel you offer customers the optimal customer experience?

The customer experience is something that’s super important to me, and to Adore Beauty. Adore Beauty is about making cosmetics accessible and helping customers discover products that are really going to work for them. It’s about making them feel confident and empowered, and to me that’s what beauty shopping should be about.

This experience needs to extend to when the customer receives their orders. When they open their package they need to be excited about what they’ve just purchased, and we achieve that through the extra value we put in our orders. We offer all of our customers free shipping along with a couple of free samples, including deluxe trial sizes, as well as slightly larger products. We also include a Tim Tam in all of our orders as a bit of a ‘surprise and delight’ – the Tim Tam is something that always gets a great response.

The thing we’re most proud of is that Adore Beauty is a Google trusted store and we have a rating of 4.9 out of 5 from literally thousands of customer reviews. That’s vital for the longevity of any business.

What challenges were you facing, and what were you looking for in an ERP?

We’d been gearing up for some pretty serious growth from about 2011 and it involved, from the front end, a re-platforming, so we moved over to the Magento platform. But we were starting to hit the limits of what we could achieve with the system we were using to manage our orders and our inventory, and to drive the growth further we needed to have a system that was going to be able to cope and to keep that customer experience right.

When it comes to online, I think what a lot of customers rate as the customer service experience is ‘did they get the products they ordered within the timeframe that was promised?’ If you’re not managing your inventory and your scan pack efficiently and accurately, there’s no way you can consistently provide a good customer experience, so that was something really important for us to build as back-end infrastructure to support the growth.

I spent quite a long time evaluating different ERP and warehouse management software. I felt there was a real gap between systems that were suitable for little eBay stores or very small e-commerce businesses, and then you jump all the way up to solutions like SAP that really require a dedicated in-house IT function. These solutions really weren’t appropriate for the size of our business as it would have weighed us down with a very heavy and expensive platform; it was overkill. So I spent a lot of time looking for something that was going to suit that in-between stage.

I felt Qdos fit the bill because it offers all the functionality without the extra complications. Also, it could be easily customised to fit our business; it wasn’t a ‘one size fits all’ system. We worked in quite a lot of detail with the team to scope out how the software needed to work to match our business processes, rather than having to match our business processes to the software, and that was something that I felt was really important.

We have Qdos ERP integrated directly with Magento so that website orders are pushed through to the ERP, which is then passed directly to the Scan and Pack queue in the warehouse. It’s a touch-screen system that’s very easy for our warehouse staff to actually scan and process customer orders and it’s also integrated with our carriers, Australia Post and Couriers Please. We’re not flipping from system to system trying to use a bunch of different things; the more moving parts there are, the more potential for things to go wrong. We like having that system integrated from end-to-end.

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You recently sold 25% of your business to Woolworths – what does this mean for Adore Beauty?

Adore Beauty has been on a pretty big growth trajectory for the last few years, and we’d been looking for an investment partner to help us go to the next level; fortunately Woolworths and Adore Beauty found each other! It’s been a really great partnership, but it’s all about getting us to the next level of growth, moving Adore Beauty from being a small to medium business into hopefully a medium to large business. I’m really looking forward to that journey.

What advice can you give to other retailers/e-tailers looking for retail software?

Do your research, and don’t rush it; it takes as long as it takes. It’s better to make a good decision than to rush into something that’s not quite right and then you have to change after a year.

We’ve been with our solution provider for over two years now, and I don’t think we’ve come anywhere near outgrowing it yet. That’s great in a world where software and requirements change so quickly. You need something that’s going to grow with you and help you get to the next stage. Changing your ERP software is not something you want to do lightly or frequently. It’s a big undertaking that underpins all of the processes of your business, so it’s good to try and choose something that is going to last the distance.