#273: eCommerce Leader Leverages Loyalty to Drive Commercial Success

Adore Beauty is Australia’s number one pure-play online beauty retailer and operates as a publicly listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange.

As Head of Loyalty and Retention at Adore Beauty, we are joined once again by Miranda Bliss, who describes herself as someone with “loyalty in her blood” and is incredibly proud to have designed and launched the first ever loyalty programme for Adore Beauty customers.

As the program continues to prove itself as a strategic pillar for the business and support its continued growth (despite the roller-coaster caused by the global pandemic), we were delighted to hear the latest benefits that the Adore Beauty team have launched for members of Adore Society, focusing on relevant, educational content as well as some luxury prizes for some extra inspiration.

Show Notes:

1.) Miranda Bliss, Head of Loyalty and Retention

2.) Adore Beauty

3.) Miranda’s Pitch to the Australian Loyalty Association Board: ALA Young Members

4.) Adore Society

5.) Five keys to unlocking a successful loyalty program

6.) Beauty IQ

Audio Transcript

Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas. And if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.


Hello and welcome to episode 273 of Let’s Talk Loyalty. Featuring another of our previous guests and someone who describes herself as having loyalty in her blood, Miranda Bliss designed and launched the first-ever loyalty program for Adore Beauty, which is Australia’s number one, pure play online beauty retailer, and operates as a publicly listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange. Miranda was last on the show shortly after the launch of their loyalty program, which is called Adore Society. And she explained the whole proposition, which has since proven to be a huge hit with their customers. Over 95% of the company’s top customers are enrolled and the program has proven itself as a strategic pillar for the business, supporting its continued growth despite the rollercoaster caused by the global pandemic. Today Miranda shares the latest benefits that she and her team have launched for members. Focusing on relevant educational content, as well as some luxury prizes for extra inspiration. I hope you enjoy listening to Miranda Bliss and the latest loyalty insights from Australia’s leading online beauty retailer.


Paula: So Miranda, welcome back to Let’s Talk Loyalty. 


Miranda: Thanks for having me great to be back. 


Paula: Oh my goodness. It’s been over a year Miranda and what a year? It’s been. 


Miranda: Absolutely a huge year.  


Paula: I almost don’t know where to start. I mean, your role with the Adore Beauty, um, was actually, I suppose, at its very early stages when we did have our last conversation. Um, so it was May, 2021. And if anybody hasn’t listened to Miranda talking about the exceptional program that was launched last year, Please do go back and listen to it. It’s episode 108. So very exciting, uh, talking about all of your proposition back then. So today we’ll be talking about what’s happened since then. Um, you know, that we’re still, I think a little bit on the COVID roller coaster dare I say. Um, but despite that I think Adore Beauty is continuing to go from strength to strength. So before we get into the, uh, the full-time day job, let’s have a chat about our favorite opening question at the moment, Miranda, tell us about your favorite loyalty program.


Miranda: This one might be a little bit controversial, but I’d have to go with Qantas. Ooh. And I think the reason for me is that, I mean, we always sort of say, loyalty is not a program. Although their frequent flyer program is a very well-known program. Mm. I find that I am interacting with that brand almost every day. So my credit card is linked to earning points. Mm-hmm  so I can do anything from actually shopping with Adore and I’ll get points. Okay. Um, and there’s often credit card offer, so I’ll get extra points, the door to petrol during lockdown, when we obviously couldn’t travel. I was still able to earn points for well-being. So if I was walking and earning certain sort of achieving certain goals yeah. I’d be getting bonus points as well. Okay. Yeah. Um, I’ve also got to a point where unfortunately, during lockdown I’ve hopped so much that I’ve. Earned so many points and I’ve actually actually got to a, it’s called a Points Club Member and I’ve earned two free lounge invitations. Nice. So from an experiential perspective, that is a really great benefit to me. Yeah. Um, and also recently they have launched. Green tier. So they’re really focused on corporate social responsibility. There’s a number of initiatives that you can either sort of carbon offset or again, earn points and credits towards your balance, and then hopefully redeem it for a great holiday.


Paula: Yeah. Wow. Well, I mean, literally Miranda, like, you know, when we think about airline loyalty programs, I do think Qantas is exceptional. And I guess just for our listeners, perhaps, and other markets who mightn’t realize just why you said it was, you know, maybe a controversial choice. I think operationally Qantas has been struggling recently. As indeed, so many airports are so many airlines are. So, you know, I, I think you are acknowledging what they are still doing exceptionally well. And yes, there is operational challenges, I think seems to be inevitable, unfortunately. 


Miranda: Yeah, look, absolutely. I guess it’s a combination of, of, um, staffing challenges. Yeah. They’ve got new people that aren’t familiar with processes, so they’re really, and I suppose for Qantas, they were, they really have always been Australia’s leading airline. Yeah. So for them to not be delivering that same level of expected service has been very challenging and they’ve received quite serious backlash. But, yeah. I mean, I haven’t traveled with them in a long time, but I still am using that program. I mean, yeah. Weekly, if not daily. 


Paula: Yeah. Well that comes back to the whole point of why we’re here Miranda at the end of the day, loyalty programs are about profitable behavior change. So the fact that you can engage daily is absolutely extraordinary. I didn’t realize they had a wellness proposition. Was that one that was just in COVID Miranda or is that something that’s a core part still? 


Miranda: Uh, I think it’s actually still a core part. If you take out insurance with them, health insurance. Okay. So you can continue to earn additional points through that. I think during COVID they just introduced that as a, a bit of a taster of what you could get, but also, and a way to ensure that we are continuing to interact with the program. 


Paula: Totally totally well exciting times. And again, Qantas is on our wishlist. So please God, if they’re listening, come and join us as a guest on the show. We’d love to love to hear more, but listen back to Adore Beauty, Miranda. As I said, when we talked last time, it was May, 2021. Uh, you’d had an explosive launch, incredible success. Um, one of the businesses that, of course, ironically, uh, did benefit from the COVID kind of lockdown. Um, and having just seen your latest investor presentations, I have to say I was thrilled to see the successes continuing while acknowledging the volatility and the craziness of the changing behaviors. But I think loyalty for me has really been seen within the business there as a core strategic pillar of the whole company. So I think that must be something that gives you a huge amount of pride. If I’m right. 


Miranda: Look, absolutely. I think when I joined, they were still very much in the mindset of acquisition. Okay. And at that point, loyalty and retention, hadn’t really proven its value. Sure. It was. So there was a lot of work to really take the business on the journey to really understand a, what value these returning customers could deliver. But also what other initiatives we could implement things like loyalty so before I started there, wasn’t really a full loyalty in retention division. So that came with sort of building out a team, as you said, it’s actually for, for our financial year 22, loyalty in retention was a full strategic initiative. It was a key priority for business. Yeah. And continues to, to be that once. I mean, I think from both a, uh, the loyalty program and what that can deliver, but just understanding the value and, and offset also with the fact that the cost to acquire customers has become so prohibitively expensive of course, and continues to become a challenge. So the focus is definitely, I wouldn’t say shifting, but it it’s definitely highlighted the opportunity around retaining and repeat customers.


Paula: Absolutely. Yeah. Yes. And I’m sure every pure play retailer is facing that challenge globally. Um, so I guess you’re probably not unique in identifying the, the opportunity for loyalty, but it seems to be that the execution is extremely well understood and executed dare I say it Miranda in that you know, the fact that it is, I think literally on page one of the investor presentation, like literally alongside, we have a mobile app and we have loyalty driving 60% of our revenue. So a wonderful place to be, I guess. 


Miranda: Look, it really is. It’s um, it’s definitely sort of earned its stripes, which is amazing to see where, um, 70% of our customers are returning customers, which wow. Is, is, uh, incredible results. So yeah. Look, I, I can’t say it’s all down to the loyalty program. I’d love to say it’s totally that. I mean the 60% of revenue coming from members, that is, that’s a good, yeah. But I think it’s just, I think the fact that the whole business has embraced it. Yeah. And I think that goes back to the fact of taking everyone along for the journey and really being part of bringing this program to life. Sure. But also that there is such trust in the members, you know, I think when we first launched it was, oh, do we really wanna switch a campaign or a promotion to member only is not quite sure it’s gonna work. Yeah. Now it’s like, absolutely. This is what we are doing. It’s gonna be a hundred percent for members. There’s just that real confidence in the success and the opportunity around our database. 


Paula: Yeah, and it sounds like it’s coming almost full circle Miranda in that the, the members are enjoying the program so much that they’re behaving in a way that rebuilds that trust from the management side. And I dunno why I’m articulating it that way, but, you know, to me, there is something, um, very strongly coming through at anything that I’m hearing, which is the brand has a responsibility. What I would say to, to demonstrate its loyalty to members. And then it’s a case that the, the members do return that loyalty. So that’s what I feel has happened actually for you guys. I don’t feel. The business was built to drive, increased spend, and all of those very strong, you know, very transaction-led mindsets. It feels like it came from that place of let’s build a brand love and then they will respond. 


Miranda: And I think that’s exactly what our brand ethos is. I mean, it’s a very values led brand. I’ve never worked in such a values-led brand, which is so incredibly refreshing. Yeah. And that is at, at every level, which is, is I think really something quite unique. Um, so, and also it’s a very authentic brand, so it’s not about, you know, it’s not trying to be really salesy. It’s not about, this is what you need to buy. A big part of our business is content. Yeah. And it’s really about educating you enough to make your, the right decision for you. Yeah. So recommendations rather than that really kind of hard sales approach. It’s just not a ethos at all. And I think that really resonates with customers cuz they don’t feel intimidated. It, you know, it’s, it’s Kate Morris originally started the business because yeah, go worked in the department stores and could understand how intimidating that could often be for customers. Sure. So she wanted to take that out of it. And I think that is really where that the brand has sort of grown from. In that, it’s all about being authentic. It’s about real. It’s not necessarily about having a full face of makeup. It’s about, you know, creating beautiful skin, making you feel your best you in whatever way that means. So it’s a, it’s a really diverse business. It’s really about inclusivity. Um, Which is really important.


Paula: Yeah. Yeah. Because I, I often think we don’t get enough opportunity to talk about the role of brand to drive the emotion of loyalty. And you’ve already made the point actually earlier Miranda, loyalty is not a program. So that’s why I think in everything that Adore Beauty seems to do, as you said, it seems to be underpinning the, the mindset of the founder. And I know you also have a female CFO, which I also love to remember. We talked about that last time, so, okay. Yeah. I think that whole approach to, you know, making it as accessible as possible. I remember you talked about, uh, gender neutrality and listening to your members a lot. So I’m guessing that’s an ongoing journey is it?


Miranda: Ah, absolutely. I mean, we also are part of, um, an initiative that really started with one of the team members from Adore called Global Shades, which is all about ensuring that you’ve got access to a wide range of foundational concealer colors as well. So it sort of really talks again to that diverse nature inclusivity, um, and really being able to sort of guide you on your beauty journey, whatever that looks like.


Paula: Wonderful. So, uh, the proposition, I remember we talked last time, you made a big decision, very early on, no points in this loyalty program, which I fully applaud, cuz I’ve come from a background of again, a very different format and, and mechanics. So how has that, um, you know, continued to evolve, first of all, any regrets about the no point strategy, or is that exactly where are you where you wanted to be?


Miranda: Look, I think so. I think the results kind of speak for themselves. Um, we’ve had really. Signups, uh, all our metrics have improved significantly. I can’t be too specific about that, unfortunately, but I mean, it’s kind of sure. It’s definitely exceeded all of my expectations, particularly in the fact that it’s really only a year and a half old. I mean, it’s actually wild to think where we’ve come. Yeah. Um, I still stand by the spend versus points. Yeah. And. It it look, the only regret I have is that it makes certain pro mechanics more challenging. So you don’t have, you can’t call on things like a double points promotion. Sure. Um, yeah, you have to get a little bit smarter around that, but I think it sort of goes to the fact that I wanted to create a really holistic program that had a range of benefits. So yeah, we’ve introduced things like virtual master classes, which,is really, I mean, although quite often people will buy the tickets. It’s the sort of experience that you couldn’t go out and find yourself. So we had, yeah, people like Jo, Jo Malone, CBE, we’ve got Larry King, who’s a very well-known hairstylist.  and, and the nature of it being virtual means that it really opens it up to customers all around Australia or New Zealand. So whether they’re living remotely, I had one member feedback that they had a disability. So being able to, to attend a masterclass like this normally would be impossible for them. Yeah. But the fact that we’ve had, we’ve got them running online means it just opens it up to a, a much wider database. So that is really important to us, you know, young mothers being able to just jump on, you know, have a glass of wine on the couch, all those sort of things. It just, yeah, it just makes it all a lot more accessible. 


Paula: Yeah. And am I right? That you are sending out almost, um, some of the products for that virtual masterclass. So it is kind of quite educational as well. Yeah?


Miranda: Absolutely. So we generally, as part of the ticket price, you get a kit and they can be anything from sort of deluxe samples to full-size product. And the host will take you through a routine, whether it’s a skincare routine, a makeup look, um, we’ve, we’ve had a few hair as well. Lovely. So it’s very educational it’s that our members can ask a lot of questions and there’s really great engagement people adjust. Uh, they’re really loving it. 


Paula: You know, I just think, you know, we we’re the generat, well, sorry. I’m the generation I’ll say speak for myself who was, you know, didn’t have the YouTube, uh, opportunity in terms of ever learning how to make the most of makeup and skincare and stuff. So I can imagine you have a whole generation of people who are just lapping it up in terms of, oh my goodness. You know, like, there’s this incredible place that you can learn. And I like the kind of slight celebrity angle that you mentioned there in terms of Jo Malone for example, that must give the whole thing a bit of extra sizzle. 


Miranda: Ah, absolutely. I mean, there’s definitely those sort of master classes that are in hot demand. They sell out. I mean, some are sold out within the hour. Wow. Which is pretty wild to us.  um, and look, yeah. I mean, definitely the, the experiential nature of it, the educational element. Yeah. We also do a huge amount of YouTube videos we’ve got. Yeah. Hundreds and thousands of articles that we produce. So, yeah, I mean, if you, if there is any topic you wanna learn about you either go to YouTube, uh, um, all our articles, but also our podcast is a huge source of education. Yeah, in a delivered in a very authentic and I think quite hilarious way as well that  Joe and Hannah and our absolute rock stars that unbelievable following. 


Paula: Yes. And I saw the latest numbers again, back to your investor presentation podcast downloads grew to 4.3 million across seven podcasts Miranda. I mean, that again, blows my mind. First of all, because I think the format is not one that I ever associate with beauty. I associate YouTube with beauty. And what I don’t like about YouTube actually is the fact that you do have to sort through, to find the quality of content usually, I think that resonates. Whereas I think what adore beauty can do is of course curate as well as create. So content being a key part of your strategy. I think it’s one of the reasons I love what you guys do so much. 


Miranda: Yeah, look definitely agree. And I guess in a sense, a lot of it is, is data-driven in that, you know, our, our team is seeing what the customers are interested in, what they’re purchasing. Yeah. So they know the topics that are really trending. Sure. And. And can ensure that they’re supporting our customers in the best way possible. For sure. So, yeah, it’s definitely Beauty IQ. It’s definitely worth a listen. 


Paula: Amazing. Well guys, you heard it here first, podcast strive loyalty. 


Miranda: Oh, a hundred percent. Hundred percent. 


Paula: Brilliant. What else have you been doing with the program again? I know you’ve passed your one-year birthday. So virtual master class is obviously a huge core part now of the proposition, but what other things have you been working on? 


Miranda: Yeah. So we celebrated in March, our first birthday, which was very exciting. We ran a big competition. Um, we actually partnered with Luxury Escapes, which is like a luxury travel package company as our first prize. If you’ve ever ordered from Adore, you would know that you get a single Tim Tam, a chocolate biscuit, okay. In your package, which. It doesn’t seem like much, but people are just obsessive. It’s like that one little treat that you can’t feel guilty about because it’s only a single serve. Wow. So we actually part partnered with Tim Tam, and we gave 20 customers a one-year supply of Tim Tam. Oh my goodness. Very popular, super. And then we also had additional prizes around sort of hair experiences and a, and a skin makeover. So we really ticked all the boxes there. We’ve got huge amount of entries. Lots of, I mean, the, the winning entry she’d actually made our full prop with sound and effects and was unbelievable. So we have some very passionate customers out there. 


Paula: Hilarious. Hilarious. Um, okay. So, um, growth in competitions, ticketed loyalty, master classes, award nominations, Miranda. Tell us a bit about those. 


Miranda: Yeah. So we’ve been, um, nominated for best loyalty program from power retail, inside retail, and also International Loyalty Awards. So, oh, I mean, I was struck to be nominated in such prestigious awards in our first year of the program is really exciting.


Paula: exceptional. Wow. Wow. So going from strength to strength, obviously within Adore Society itself, and then I know last year you Miranda joined the board of the Australian Loyalty Association. So tell us a bit about that and, uh, why you got involved. 


Miranda: So I actually presented at the conference last year and then was asked to join the board a few months after, which was a really, to me, a huge honor. Yeah. It’s an incredible association. Yeah. That runs a number. It runs an annual conference, which we actually had last week. um, a number of really strong networking events and educate, they do an education course. Um, we recently, well, last week as well, actually launched the Australian Loyalty Association Young Members Initiative. So I made a, sort of brief suggestion at our board meeting in December that I think it’d be a really nice idea to sort of foster young talent and you know, what could we do around this? And from that led to a pitch, I put together to the board and the team at the ALA have created this incredible page on our site with a really great offering so essentially that is anyone that’s sort of 18 to 30 year old or 30 years old or new to the industry is invited to join it’s $99 annual membership, and they get things like a free ticket to the Loyalty Conference, um, that there’ll be sort of opportunity to meet with keynote speakers before the rest of the attendees join the meeting. There’s discounts on, um, a two-day course that is run in both Sydney and Melbourne. Um, what I think is really valuable is two, one-hour mentoring sessions. Okay. With, with experience loyalty marketers, which I think will be really valuable. Yeah. Of course. Get a little welcome gift as well. Yeah, but I think it’s just a really nice, I, I, I noticed when I joined the loyalty community yeah. In Australia, it’s probably the most supportive and caring industry that I’ve ever been a part of. Yeah. And I wanted to really make sure that the young members and, and, you know, those new to the industry were feeling that as well. And I think this will be a really great opportunity for them to access that.


Paula: Absolutely. And I remember you talked about that last time as well, Miranda because, um, it was Adam Posner, I think who first introduced us. Um, so I hadn’t been aware again of your kind of career. And then I suppose, coming into such a high profile role, it was incredible just to kind of see and talk about that and you did acknowledge the welcome that you got, and like you, I am a huge fan of the Australian Loyalty Association and the work that Sarah does. Bringing that advising board together. It’s absolutely brilliant. She’s due to pass through Dubai, I hope on, on, um, on some vacation soon. So I, I hope to get, oh, terrific time to, uh, to meet her again in person. Uh, she and I were together at the International Loyalty Awards actually in London recently. Oh, amazing. But definitely somebody that I just value in terms of, you know, perspective on our industry and having that, I suppose, global perspectives and, uh, doing incredible work there in Australia as well. 


Miranda: Yeah, absolutely. I think that just the passion for the industry, just it. Yeah. I think, I think Sarah’s incredible for what she’s created. 


Paula: Totally incredible. And my only regret was the, uh, the timing of course, with Australia and Dubai is never, um, never easy. So your conference last week, I fully signed up, um, and it started at 2:00 AM. So when I checked the actual start time, I was like, There’s actually just no way. So I know it’s available, uh, to rewatch, so we’ll make sure to get links, uh, to that from you Miranda. So anyone like me who didn’t get to see, I do believe you compared if I’m, if I’m not mistaken this year, did you? 


Miranda: Yes, I did. I had the honor of interviewing all the speakers in a Q and a session after their presentation. Oh goodness. Wow. Which was. It was really great to meet such a wide breadth of different loyalty professionals in very different industries. Yeah. We had topics, everything from sort of, um, NFTs to sustainability technology, data privacy. Yeah. Um, behavioral psychology. I mean, so many really interesting and relevant topics, it was awesome. 


Paula: Totally. Well, we’ll never get bored Miranda. I think between us, um, there, there’s a shared love of loyalty and all of those topics, as you know, we continue to, to kind of dive into as much as possible on this show. So always love getting your perspective. So listen, I think that’s all in terms of the, the catch-ups on your program, obviously, in terms of, um, You know, the Australian Loyalty Association as well. What do you think now in terms of going forward, what kind of ideas are you thinking about Miranda as possible things for the future? 


Miranda: Yeah, I think, I mean, a lot of the topics were probably covered at the conference. So it’s exploring things around NFTs and cryptocurrency of what the metaverse plays in loyalty going forward. Okay. It’s definitely, you know, we are definitely at just a scoping phase. I think it’s really understanding if it has its place in loyalty and if it hasn’t place in a, in a beauty loyalty program, Okay, definitely a lot around corporate social responsibility, things really important. We already do a lot from a sustainability perspective is probably better highlighting that, but also how we can introduce that as more of a benefit to the program, as well. I mean, the, the eternal question around CDP, and I guess with the cookie deprecation, what we sort of do around that as well will be, that really key focus for us going forward. So I think those are probably a lot of the big ones. 


Paula: Okay. And I saw some interesting terminology as well, which, um, doesn’t mean it’s it’s anything you with loyalty, but I loved that. Again, your investor presentation talks about subscription levels of, of loyalty to the business. So again, I know you look at all of these ideas and, you know, as, and when, if there’s anything that, that you guys are launching, we’ll be making sure to, to keep an eye on all of the propositions that, uh, that you do launch. I know community’s another big topic as well. So it’s almost like there’s this never-ending list of opportunity for you guys.


Miranda: Yeah, definitely. And I think for me, as, as I said earlier, it’s really making sure that there is a benefit that appeals to all of different customers and depending on their mission or what they’re there for. So yeah, community is always a big focus for us. And I think that will probably start to come through in, in person events. We have to go back to that. I mean, I think we need a blend of a virtual given we’re an con retailer. It just makes sense. But I think there’s nothing like that sort of in-person yeah. experience as well. 


Paula: Sure. Wow. Well, I think it’s a watch this space kind of, uh, area Miranda. So I don’t have any other questions. Is there anything else you wanna share with our audience before we wrap? 


Miranda: I think we’ve covered it a lot. I mean, we’ve really run through it all. I think just making sure that you are reaching out to young professionals. Yeah. Um, and supporting them is really important. I think from a mentoring perspective, I know how much I, how much value I got out of that. And I think it’s really important to continue to pay that forward. 


Paula: Lovely. Lovely. Okay. Well with all that said, Miranda Bliss, Head of Loyalty and Retention at Adore Beauty and Advisory Board Member at the Australian Loyalty Association. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty. 


This show is sponsored by The Wise Marketer. The world’s most popular source of loyalty marketing news, insights, and research. The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its Loyalty Academy, which has already certified over 245 executives in 27 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals. For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com and loyaltyacademy.org


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