Global News | Dec 17, 2019

Starting with a destination: Opening up Avon’s digital transformation

Opening up Avon's Digital Transformation

Benedetto Conversano, Senior Vice President, Chief Digital and Information Technology Officer

When I was presented with Avon’s digital transformation, I saw a perceived tension between our heritage and the opportunities of the future. How could we continue to sell our products using paper brochures and Reps, and adapt to the new era of digital retail?

The answer was in fact simple. It lay in the very core of our business – our millions-strong network of Representatives. Unlocking opportunities for them to become true social sellers by providing a suite of digital tools was in fact a natural extension of a business built on relationships. Social media is all about personal connections, so using it to enable our Representatives has not only helped them to reach more and earn more, but it’s also opened up Avon to an entirely new generation of consumer.

But how did we get there? By keeping our customers and Representatives at the centre of Avon’s business and being clear on our destination.

We knew we had to reinvigorate our brand. We knew we needed to create a better proposition for our Representatives. We knew we had to dramatically simplify our business – and we knew we needed to offer better access to our innovative products, at a competitive price point. And that was our global strategy, launched 18 months ago.

Digital crosses every aspect of this strategy… so for me, the challenge was about first gaining some small wins – and then scaling success. We worked shoulder-to-shoulder with five of our key markets to test and adapt plans that drove the global strategy, in a local way. This dramatic simplification of our business model meant we cut the complexity out of Avon with consistency and rigour. In the UK alone, by offering our consumers the opportunity to shop online, we have seen up to a five percent conversion rate on our site… which is a lot higher than some of the major retailers out there!

I’m proud of how far we’ve come as an organisation: our online business is now growing 80 percent year-on-year and in November reached almost two percent of our online sales, surpassing US$11 million in sales … but there is still a long way to go. We knew we had to start small and scale in order to prove that this strategy would work globally and locally.

By starting with the destination and truly thinking about how digital could benefit our Representatives – before our broader business – I believe we are on the right journey continue opening up Avon’s digital transformation.

I’m excited to see what 2020 brings.