The challenge is to reach new generations who know products by “influencers”, by a Hot Sale or because a friend recommends it.
The winners of the E-commerce Awards Argentina 2021 and Avon won the “fashion and beauty” category. Avon. Avon wasn’t direct selling? What about resellers When we think of Avon, ties, relationships, human contact come to mind.
This method of sale by catalog, which was established 135 years ago as an opportunity for entrepreneurship and economic independence for women, even long before the right to vote.
A vision of a different world, before it existed. Imagine, then, the total paradigm break that involved promoting a digital transformation of our business. But Technology comes to supplant the human? How are we going to replace the quality of the bond of trust between people?
Five years ago, the digital transformation at Avon. At first we were not all in agreement; they were only a few who believed that digitization had the potential to reach new customers and expand the businesses of independent resellers. We did not have state-of-the-art equipment nor were we in Silicon Valley; but we had a conviction.
Like any process of change and learning, it hurt and it cost; and it still continues and will continue to hurt and cost. For this reason, I say that digital teams in traditional companies are a bit masochistic, because digitization is a path full of frustrations, obstacles and difficulties, and resistance.
What place could an e-commerce have in a company whose essence of the business was based on the power of a network of resellers who sell person-to-person, door-to-door? The answer: we think of digitization not as a mandatory path, but as one more option within the possibilities of the business model.
New channels, varied and diverse, for the variety of resellers and existing customers. The great challenge was to effectively communicate what this “new digital proposal” was about, face emerging fears and encourage a network of more than 300,000 resellers independent to try to sell in another way.
Little by little we were adding adepts, brave ones who ventured, overcoming connectivity and digital knowledge barriers, they reformed all their know-how to embrace new opportunities.
Today, we know that we have different profiles: the traditional reseller, the 100% digital reseller and those that are combining the channels, according to their customers. What we are looking for is that each one can do their business with the diversity of tools that we offer and in the way they prefer and feel more comfortable. And this is a path of continuous evolution.
In recent years, supported by the explosion of electronic commerce and the relaunch of the brand, Avon has seen new consumers arrive, challenged by a new Avon, more modern and accessible, with more shopping vehicles.
New generations who know our makeup or “skin care” routines by “influencers”, for a Hot Sale or because your reseller friend recommends it, and they fall in love with the quality of the products.
Resellers remain central to Avon’s business scheme.
New marketing channels
Over time, and especially accelerated by the pandemic, the benefits that this transformation brought to our business became clear. Today we have a platform ecosystem adapted to direct sales, offering a wide variety of channels and contact points:
- Digital brochure: the digitization of the traditional Avon catalog, a navigable and interactive document that allows you to build your shopping cart, to be sent by WhatsApp.
- Our platform E-commerce B2B2C and B2C that allows each reseller to generate their own digital store, with their own URL. Today, 84% of registered stores are resellers who sell both “online” and “offline”, and a growing percentage of resellers who are born digital.
- Exclusive mobile applications for resellers to manage their independent business (Avon On App).
- Avon Shop App: latest launch of the ecosystem; a modern and intuitive application for the final consumer, where it can also be purchased from a reseller.
Digitization poses many challenges – which may even be barriers – to people who are far from online. But in recent years, we have seen hundreds of stories of resellers who were encouraged first to a digital brochure, then to sell through social networks and who today have their own digital store -such as their own mini-e-commerce- and who are looking at their businesses growing up.
Eric Caamaño: “Like any process of change and learning, it hurt and cost; and it still continues and will continue to hurt and cost”.
And now maybe we’ll meet one new generation of entrepreneurs of beauty that move 100% digitally. This award is a recognition of a process that we face together with them and that is just beginning. Would Avon founder David M. Connel have imagined it when he started the company 135 ago?
Head of e-commerce at Avon.