The Avon lady is getting wired.
Instead of “Ding-dong! Avon calling!” customers may choose to respond to the click of a mouse. And the results could mean more sales and bigger savings for the cosmetics provider, whose business model has always been sending an army of sales representatives door to door to push products.
Some 400,000 shoppers a month visit Avon’s current Web site (www.avon. com), but a redesign rolling out in June will link to sites for each of the company’s 30,000 U.S. reps. The individual Web pages will contain 90% Avon-supplied content. The rest will be created by the rep. Customers will be able to e-mail the rep, place an order online or check the rep’s site for special offers anytime.
The 24/7 convenience of the Web is also expected to help reach the 20 million women “who we’re not reaching that want Avon products,” explains spokesperson Laura Castellano. “It will bring Avon into the Web-savvy women’s world. It is also an earnings opportunity for women who would rather not sell Avon door to door.”
Salespeople may also use their sites to recruit reps to work for them to grow their individual businesses.
Plus, Avon saves $1 to $3 for every U.S. order processed over the Web, Castellano confirms.
Almost half of the firm’s reps are already active online. The new strategy is not meant to prevent them from visiting customers in person or to phase out reps. “Even several years from now, we see the direct selling by reps still accounting for 98% of sales,” says Castellano.