Meet Richard Kelly, Founder of Adimo

Tell Us About the Business, How Did it Come About?

Adimo is a shoppable marketing technology platform, connecting FMCG brands directly with their customers. In a nutshell, we enable brands to make it as easy to drive impulse purchases online as it is in store, helping the world’s most loved household brands turn clicks into customers.

Before Adimo, I worked in the digital space. I’m a self-confessed search and PPC geek, particularly because the depth of knowledge and insight involved is endless. As someone who has always thrived to deliver a good ROI for clients, this route was perfect for me.

When I started working with FMCG clients, I found that, surprisingly, the world’s biggest advertisers didn’t have the same level of data insights because they relied on retailers to actually facilitate the sales part of the journey. No purchase action was recorded that could be used to judge the success of campaigns when clients are marketing directly to customers, but also selling through retailers.

This was my lightbulb moment; if you can post a blog to your newsfeed with a button click, why can’t I add something to my basket?

I wanted to find a way to help make smart data-driven marketing decisions at scale with purchase-level analytics. I found a developer to help me make that happen and the rest, as they say, is history.

Fast forward from winning our first contract and Adimo is now in 65 countries, connecting 5bn shoppers with over 600 retailers worldwide, and working with global partners including Coca-Cola, Danone, S C Johnson, Nestle, Bacardi and more.



What Exactly is Shoppable Marketing?

Shoppable marketing is the ability for an FMCG brand to turn any of their marketing touchpoints – from their owned website, social media posts, display advertising, or even Out-of-Home or product packaging – into a moment where an impulse purchase decision can be made.

The Adimo platform integrates with any form of marketing to make it easy for consumers to buy from retailers. We connect shoppers with more than 600 retailers, so Adimo’s marketing technology enables shoppers to simply select products and add them directly to their online supermarket basket for purchase. Beyond that, Adimo also gives brands valuable behavioural data about customer decision-making to drive revenue growth.


What Have You Learnt So Far as an Entrepreneur?

I think one of the key lessons I’ve learnt is that we must always prioritise people over the product. For many years, it was quite a widespread belief that a superior product would always win and be the most important aspect of a business.

But now I know that having the right people and setting the culture is the priority and the one thing that will endure. Whereas the product will change and evolve over time, a good person is worth 10 average ones.

I followed Bill Aulet’s disciplined entrepreneurship framework which involves six steps that founders should take when launching a new business venture. Before doing so, I always thought that entrepreneurship couldn’t be taught but the framework taught me that while of course you need to have certain qualities to be successful in business, you can be taught a process that mitigates risk and failures.

It’s tempting to wing it and while some have found this a successful approach, I’m a firm believer in discipline. As your business grows, so too must your strategy. There comes a point where improvising on the go isn’t enough.

And finally, have a plan – but be prepared to adapt.


What Lessons Have You Learnt as an E-Commerce Platform Provider in FMCG?

Shoppers all around the world may speak different languages but they have one thing in common; they all crave convenience. This is the very crux of being an ecommerce platform provider; the bread and butter if you will. By providing this much coveted convenience, actions can be driven very effectively.

We’ve been fortunate enough to work with some amazing household names but despite ecommerce not being particularly new, we’ve found the market as a whole has been slow to wake up to the opportunities that ecommerce can provide. While this has been a challenge, we’ve seen it more as an opportunity to educate the sector and help in evolving the industry in becoming more data driven and predictive.

There is always a thirst for innovation. People are hungry to try new things once they’re understood – there are dedicated budgets out there designed to help make jobs more effective – part of our role is to explain why they should invest.

Another lesson we’ve learnt is that there are still huge opportunities to be capitalised on to be fully data-driven when it comes to data-driven marketing. We’re only at the tip of the iceberg.


What Challenges Have You Overcome? How Have You Responded During Covid?

Throughout Covid, we were very aware of our responsibility to clients to keep their customers connected to shopping opportunities – despite fluctuations in demand and supply. While this certainly was a challenge, we worked as hard as possible to make sure we kept that alive. This included everything from retailer integrations, through to customer success teams; advising clients on how to communicate with their customers and ensuring their end-users still had a positive experience.

I believe that this is part of the reason that we’ve had our highest growth period to date. At a time that we were all confined to our houses, this was eye opening.

Lockdown itself was a challenge. As we couldn’t meet face to face with our team members, we had to work harder to make sure new colleagues had a good onboarding experience. We had to ensure we kept up morale continuously and we did that by retaining an element of fun.

We celebrated client wins over video calls and sent out employee care packages which included SAD lamps and fun hoodies to remind our team that we were thinking about them, we value them and appreciate their efforts in this tricky period. I think it worked as our headcount tripled over the Covid period.


What are Your Plans For Growth?

An increased appetite for ecommerce and analytics solutions has brought us closer to our customers than ever and, due to a desire for innovation, there’s been more ecommerce customers than ever before.

What we need to ensure now is that we continue understanding their needs and direction and evolve the product to align with that.

We are planning to double down on our international growth – we’re fortunate enough to have a brilliant product market fit in international territories involving deals with some big names including SC Johnson, GSK and Nestle.

In line with this, we have big plans to grow our team – particularly in the US where demand is high. We hired our first US team members in 2021 and this will grow in the coming months.


How Has Covid Impacted the Online FMCG Space?

It is well understood that the pandemic rapidly accelerated ecommerce activity around the world. In the two weeks either side of the first lockdown in March 2020, we saw a 489% increase in consumers shopping for FMCG products online versus offline.

This explosion has been maintained with a 225% year-on-year increase in online shopping in 2021. This change in consumer behaviour is not going away, as new audiences have been introduced to the convenience of home deliveries and click-and-collect for their grocery shopping, the experience has already become habitual.

Earlier this year, the analyst Benedict Evans reported that UK online grocery sales doubled, to now account for over 10 percent of all grocery purchases. While this is impressive, I believe there are more insights to be gained: firstly, these figures may have been even higher if capacity restrictions hadn’t prevented consumers securing delivery times; and, secondly, there is still huge headroom for FMCG brands and eCommerce retailers to compete for.

This radical evolution of the eCommerce market means there is no longer a “typical” eCommerce consumer, as the spectrum of users as well as their volume and frequency of purchases has fundamentally changed. However, what has become consistent across all online shoppers, is customer expectations.

What, at first, is considered innovative is quickly no more than a hygiene factor. The opportunity for FMCG brands and retailers is therefore to understand these learned behaviours and use them to drive retention, in turn driving greater eCommerce revenues, which will drive further investment, spinning the flywheel of compounding investment and return.