Adore Beauty founder Kate Morris said the decision to launch a skincare line was based on data. It marks the company’s first foray into private label.
“Skincare is the largest category by sales at Adore, and has been growing strongly as a global category for several years,” she told Inside Retail.
“Our private-label strategy is one of identifying gaps or opportunities in categories that we know well, and is based on data collected from our deeply engaged community.”
Viviology will be marketed to all genders, Morris said, as men demonstrate increasing engagement with the skincare category.
“We are seeing growth in that segment, albeit off a smaller base,” she said.
She added that Adore Beauty is well-equipped to understand the types of marketing activities that will be most effective, thanks to its two-plus decades of experience in the beauty industry.
“Viviology is run as a standalone brand, with its own brand manager. It has its own channels, website and marketing mix, which will be the approach for each private label brand,” she said.
Benefits and pitfalls of private label
Viviology is just the beginning of Adore Beauty’s push into private label. Morris said the online retailer will continue to expand its offering over the coming months and years to include a mix of standalone brands, as well as house brands that leverage the Adore Beauty identity and potentially acquisitions.
“It’s generally a smart strategy to have a good percentage of your business be private label,” Rosanna Iacono, managing partner of retail consultancy The Growth Activists, told Inside Retail.
Multi-brand retailers like Adore Beauty should aim to have 30 per cent of revenue come from private-label products, she said.
“When they have their own products, it helps them become more of a brand and create a much stronger emotional relationship with consumers,” she explained.
Private-label products are generally higher-margin and can act as an insurance policy against third-party brands that can pull their products unexpectedly, and have other risks associated with them.
But Iacono cautioned that Adore Beauty will need to invest in marketing its own products as much as the brands it sells on its website.
“There’s a real tendency for some businesses to use private label to fill in price points, or to offer an entry price point across all of their different categories. They don’t think, ‘If I was one of my suppliers, how would I go about doing this?’ she said.
“It’s really about building up those brand attributes and giving it a very powerful brand DNA.”
Robert Reid, senior strategist at Retail Oasis, believes Adore Beauty has what it takes to succeed in the private-label space.
“What Adore is doing isn’t a new concept, but they have built a large following and trust leading to strong loyalty, so they are poised to succeed in private label,” he told Inside Retail.
He added that Viviology’s inclusive and sustainable brand positioning – its products are vegan and made in Australia, and its packaging is fully recyclable – is in keeping with Adore Beauty’s core values, which is an important factor for success.
“The ethos of the retailer needs to be fully consistent with the products. For example, if sustainability is really important for a retailer but their products aren’t sustainable, it can erode consumer trust pretty quickly,” he said.
“With the Adore range being gender neutral, this goes a long way to signalling the products are progressive, and consistent with the Adore brand.”
Reid also expects Viviology to benefit from the growing demand for cosmeceuticals, a marketing term for products that contain active ingredients, such as vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which are said to have benefits for the skin.
He noted that the return to physical workplaces and in-person socialising and the ongoing hygiene concerns around testing products in a store environment have created an opportunity for online cosmeceuticals brands. But he said products must live up to their claims.
“Consumers are increasingly becoming more informed and doing detailed research from a variety of independent sources, including social media, so it’s critical that benefits spouted by cosmeceutical products are clear and intensively research-backed by reputable institutions, ideally independent from the brand.”
This was a key reason Adore Beauty partnered with Vivian on the range, Morris said.
“For a high performance skincare range, we felt that collaborating with a reputable skin expert like James Vivian was the best way to create a credible brand and strong range of products,” she said.