Douglas Implements Supplier Portal for Over 800 Suppliers and Counting with Liferay

With the launch of Douglas’s Supplier Portal, the perfumery and cosmetics retailer is taking the next step in their digital-first strategy.
Months to MVP
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Overview & Key Takeaways

  • Redesigning supplier relationships: Douglas has created a consolidated information landscape for suppliers using the Liferay platform. The new supplier portal acts as a single point of entry and facilitates secure and convenient access to individual services.
  • Automation, improved user experience, and intuitive processes: The new supplier portal has enabled Douglas to automate numerous manual processes. It has also significantly improved the user experience thanks to enhanced user navigation, connected communication channels, and centralized access to all the necessary information.
  • Improved ROI with Business Intelligence (BI): The new portal provides Douglas with a channel to communicate BI data from product sales to various suppliers. This results in a rapid ROI for all involved stakeholders.
  • Digital maturity and security: Douglas is perceived as a cutting-edge partner amongst suppliers thanks to its successful digitization and automation of business processes. In addition, adherence to strict security standards and a range of reliable identity management and data protection tools ensure that the new Douglas portal is protected against potential security threats.


Douglas is Europe's leading premium beauty retailer and boasts over 160,000 beauty and lifestyle products across online shops, its beauty marketplace, and approximately 2,000 stores. In the 2021/22 financial year, the company generated 3.65 billion Euros in sales from perfumery, cosmetics, skin- and haircare, nutritional supplements, health products, and accessories.
Douglas leverages a digital-first strategy as they move from being a retailer with an online store to Europe's leading premium online beauty platform. In 2019, they launched their first marketplace for beauty products in Europe as part of an exclusive partner program. In 2020, Douglas integrated and digitally connected all their online stores, the marketplace, and physical stores on a single data-based beauty platform. Moving forward, expanding the rapidly-growing e-commerce business and digitizing the entire supply chain management will remain at the heart of Douglas's #FORWARDBEAUTY strategy program.
Douglas focuses on long-term supplier relationships in order to achieve these goals. In addition to trading goods, the company has established vital processes over the years that connect Douglas and its suppliers in their daily business. Douglas relies on Liferay to digitize and automate day-to-day collaboration for onboarding, the exchange of information with regard to sales figures (BI), and providing of product information and marketing materials.
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Against the backdrop of pursuing their digital-first strategy, it was inevitable that Douglas would also rethink how they collaborate with their many suppliers. Previous processes no longer met modern user requirements and needed to be updated.
Specifically, Douglas hoped to solve the following challenges:​​​
  1. Consolidated information landscape for suppliers: Suppliers should be able to receive and view all information in a single online location. Previous communication that used a variety of disjointed channels needed to be replaced by a single point of contact with Single-Sign-On, thus simplifying collaboration for all parties.
  2. Digitization and automation of business processes: Manual processes needed to be digitized and automated to reduce effort when sharing information. In particular, the retailer saw great potential in supplier onboarding, which was previously an almost entirely manual process.
  3. Providing self-service functions for suppliers: Suppliers should be able to access a wide range of information, such as reporting past sales or querying supplier and sales statuses in current and past years, on a self-service basis.
  4. Secure information exchange: Douglas needed a suitable channel to exchange confidential information and data, such as contractual details, with suppliers. BI data played a key role here, as it was to be displayed using MicroStrategy, which required proper integration.. 
Our collaboration with Liferay and the recommended implementation partner is going smoothly. Everyone involved in the project is cooperating admirably. We have been able to significantly reduce and accelerate manual processes.
​​​​​​​Today, we can track onboarding statuses whenever we want and take any necessary steps.
Christian Brand & Martin Smieja
Senior IT Manager &  HEAD OF Service Management, Douglas


With development and implementation only taking six months, Douglas was able to create a new modern service portal in cooperation with Liferay partner neusta webservices​​​​​​. With 800 registered users to date, this portal is the foundation for trustworthy collaboration with suppliers.
The technological foundation of the supplier portal is Liferay PaaS. Among other things, Douglas was convinced by Liferay's perfect mix of extensive basic functionality, an intuitive and user-friendly interface, a transparent licensing and subscription model, and predictable costs.
Users can access the new supplier portal to register as suppliers, view and complete open onboarding tasks, obtain information on joint sales to date, query partner status, review business intelligence (BI) data from product sales at Douglas stores and the online store, and more.
Thanks to Liferay's open APIs, Douglas has been able to flexibly and seamlessly integrate the supplier portal with existing systems such as the Douglas BI system. The retailer was also able to completely replace their outdated WordPress website.
Particularly beneficial to the rapid implementation of the new portal were Liferay's extensive out-of-the-box capabilities and functionalities, such as CMS, DAM, application integration, enterprise search, audience targeting, responsive design, Single-Sign-On (SSO), SAML connectors, workflows, and role and permission management. This avoided time-consuming and expensive in-house developments and reduced the project duration.


With the help of Liferay, Douglas extensively redesigned their supplier relationships. At the same time, the platform serves as a blueprint for additional group projects, which can be reproduced with little effort using the existing foundation.
An overview of the results:
  • A secure single source-of-truth: The Douglas supplier portal provides authenticated and convenient access to services.
  • Custom communication: Thanks to Liferay's extensive personalization functionalities, digital services can now be presented in a more targeted and personal manner. The portal also features a notification service and allows Douglas to address users individually.
  • Improved user experience and intuitive processes: Enhanced user navigation, interconnected communication channels, and central access to all required information make it easier for users to collaborate.
  • Cost savings thanks to automation: Multiple manual processes have been automated through the new supplier portal. As a result, the new supplier onboarding process, which previously involved eight manual steps, has been sped up by 50% and can be reviewed by both parties at any time.
  • Saving internal resources: Douglas employees also benefit from the automated processes, as the manual effort in the supplier business has been significantly reduced.
  • Fast time-to-market: The cloud environments required for the portal were deployed within hours. This was key to the success of the project, which was developed under significant time constraints. After just six months of development, a new, modern service portal was created and now forms the foundation for continuous development in the future.
  • Integration: Thanks to Liferay, existing systems were flexibly integrated and new digital services could be developed efficiently. Douglas was able to use Liferay's open APIs to flexibly and seamlessly integrate the supplier portal with existing systems such as the Douglas BI system. In addition, an outdated WordPress website and numerous manual processes were completely replaced by the new supplier portal.
  • Digital maturity and future-proofing: Because of the successful digitization and automation of business processes in daily collaboration, Douglas is perceived as a modern partner in the supplier market. The platform can also be easily expanded to include additional supplier processes. This flexibility was particularly important to Douglas.
  • Transparency and speed: The portal has automated and standardized the flow of information between the company and suppliers, reducing manual processes and errors, increasing speed, and resulting in improved transparency and understanding of the supply chain on both sides.
  • Security: Strict security standards as well as robust identity management and data protection tools ensure that the Douglas portal is protected from potential security threats and can provide suppliers with information from its BI system without requiring them to access internal systems directly. The strict requirements for the security of the systems can be proven with certificates such as ISO27001 and SOC2.


Douglas is now a cutting-edge partner in the supplier market thanks to successful digitization and automation of business processes. On the way to becoming the first fully-integrated European beauty platform, Douglas's new Liferay-based supplier portal also serves as a blueprint for future projects within the company, which can be reproduced on the existing basis with little effort.
Extensive standardization and internationalization of processes, a harmonization of the system landscape, and the consolidation of outdated applications – Liferay provides the technological platform to fulfill all these goals.