Australian retailers will likely struggle to match Amazon’s efficiency but they can make up for it in customer experience, according to Adore Beauty CEO Kate Morris.

“[Amazon] are about efficiency, not love. You can’t beat them on efficiency because that’s their thing, that’s what they do. You can get pretty close, we can get an order to most places in the country. That’s pretty good,” Morris said.

“And then when you put love on top of that, that’s what builds loyalty with your customers.”

Speaking at the Magento Live conference in Sydney yesterday, Morris joked that Amazon had become a near taboo subject for Australian retailers but the future of the industry was not necessarily bleak for local companies.

Adore Beauty Founder and CEO, Kate Morris. Source: Adorebeauty.com

According to Morris, the best opportunity comes with the customer’s first order. “The moment the customer opens that first order from you, that’s the only time you get their full attention,” Morris said.

“This is the only time you really get them. So how can you exceed their expectations?”

Adore Beauty uses the opportunity to pleasantly surprise customers and strengthen their relationship in the form of a complimentary Tim Tam and a note from Morris explaining the company.

“[Customers] love it. We try and make that experience special,” Morris said.

The tactic is part of Adore Beauty’s focus on personalised customer experience as well as efficiency. The strategy helped propel Adore Beauty to being named Australia’s top customer-rated online store, Morris said.

“We achieved that because we put the love into it and because our customers can see that we really care.”

There’s “no love” in chatbots

The company has  avoided technology driven efficiency measure like chatbots in favour of more personalised customer experience initiatives like live chat. The initial expense is higher – agents need extensive knowledge of the products Adore beauty offers. But Morris says the returns more than make up for it.

“We have 13,000 products, so we could put that in the too hard basket but we don’t. We do relentless training, we employ experts,” Morris said.

“Live chat for us converts at 25 per cent, so it’s worth the investment. I doubt you’d get that from a chatbot.”

The focus on experience is part of Morris’s three pronged approach to maintaining stability amid disruption. It is also critical to maintain a focus on purpose — for Adore Beauty that’s solving problems for the customer — and building relationships through partnerships, according to Morris.

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