Taking part in NORA eCommerce expedition to RedBubble and Adore Beauty

Last Friday I had an opportunity to join a unique event called “eCommerce expedition”. This series of event is organised by National Online Retail Association (NORA). It provides an opportunity to visit leading Australian eCommerce businesses at their premises and literally get true insider view of how they work. This expedition was to two very different businesses: RedBubble and Adore Beauty.


RedBubble is a 10 year old independent artist marketplace started in Australia, but now operating internationally.  The company went long way from small warehouse office in Fitzroy to IPO planned for this year.

eCommerce expedition participants got a tour through the company head office. Office set-up and design as you may see at the photos below pretty well aligned with the company brand and mission of bringing more creativity into the world.

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After the tour RedBubble CEO Martin Hosking gave a short presentation about Red Bubble business past, present and future and answered expedition participant questions.

Some interesting highlights from the presentation and Q&A:

  • RedBubble connects 3 sides of the market – consumers, artist and manufacturing companies that produce merchandises with unique design
  • There are over 1.25M customers, 400,000 artists and 12 manufacturing companies connected now
  • RedBubble achieved 62 NPS score, which is very good result, average in Australian is negative across 19 sectors and 24 for online retail
  • It translates to very solid retention rate – 34% of repeat purchases in 2016 and 45% of the artists retaining
  • RedBubble used to be artist centric, but it switched the model and now content centric, appeared that it works better
  • Due to huge amount of unique content SEM (paid search) and SEO are the most important channels to drive traffic

If you are really interested in RedBubble business there is a great opportunity to find out more about it; since the company is going to IPO there is a prospectus available, that you can download and research.

Adore Beauty

After good lunch in a local hotel we visited a second host company – Adore Beauty. Adore Beauty is an Australian cosmetic and beauty products retailer. The company was founded by Kate Morris (CEO) and James Height (COO) 16 years ago and now one of the most successful online retailer in the country.

[pjc_slideshow slide_type=”nora-adore-beauty”]

Kate and her team walked us through warehouses (Adore Beauty keep it in-house) and then through the office. Next Kate, James and other team members told us about how they do the business and answered the questions. Some interesting highlights are below:

  • Adore Beauty used to have brick and mortar store until 2013 or 2014, it was important for the industry to get cosmetic brands on-board. It still has a saloon, where customer can come and try beauty products and get consultation from cosmetologist
  • The company has just entered Chinese market, it opened store at Tmall
  • Until recently Adore Beauty finance growth from own capital, but in 2015 Woolworth came on board as an investor
  • Kate and her team constantly experiment to find the way to improve business both with digital and other sides of the business
  • Adore Beauty uses Magento Enterprise as a platform

This was a short overview of the event, just a tip of the information and insights that I and other expedition participants got from the event. It  was a great experience, so big kudos to NORA and specifically to Samantha and Ben for organising it and to Adore Beauty and RedBubble to hosting us.

P.S. For much more detailed report you can check an article of Julian Thumm from Power Retail, who also take part in this expedition.

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