The Avon lady is receiving a digital makeover

The Avon lady is receiving a digital makeover in a belated campaign by the beauty company to drag its direct sales business into the 21st century. Up to one million members of Avon Products’ global army of doorstep sellers are to receive training by the end of the year in how to exploit social networks. The push into tech-driven “social selling” is part of what Avon executives are calling a revolution at the company, founded in 1886 by a door-to-door bookseller. Yet the initiative is likely to encounter scepticism, given Avon’s long struggle to adapt to the age of ecommerce… It is Avon’s latest attempt to reverse a multiyear slide in revenues and an exodus of sales reps. Previous efforts to harness technology have failed. Avon, based in west London and listed in New York, has lost to rivals in the booming beauty sector. Its market capitalisation has collapsed from 2004 highs of almost $22 billion to $1.1 billion. The digital training forms part of $300 million in investments the company is making… It also plans to cut $400 million of costs by 2021… Having separated its North America business in 2016, Avon’s largest markets include Brazil, the UK and South Africa. It is targeting expansion in other countries including India and China.
Alistair Gray