Beauty company Avon Justine makes digital forays

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Nishani Singh, commercial transformation director at Avon Justine.
Nishani Singh, commercial transformation director at Avon Justine.

South Africa’s largest beauty company, Avon Justine, has ventured into the digital world by launching a digital store to connect customers online or through a mobile app, in a bid to lure new tech-savvy beauty entrepreneurs.

As part of its digital strategy, it has introduced the Avon App, which it says will help its representatives to increase their productivity and manage their business easier and faster, while harnessing the power of their own networks through enhanced social sharing capabilities.

The Avon App provides product and promotion notifications, order placing, access to support features including frequently asked questions, and a sharable link to the instant messaging brochure and a social media hub.

Nishani Singh, commercial transformation director at Avon Justine, says: “The journey is just the beginning – we will continue to pilot and launch new functionalities and innovations to help support our beauty entrepreneurs to unlock their full earnings potential.

“The digital interventions that we are making do not signal a change in our direct-selling business model.

“Our customers will still be required to liaise with their representatives when they make a purchase. While technology is critical in improving efficiencies, it will not replace the human touch that our business is based on,” says Singh.

She adds that Avon Justine last year introduced Direct Deliveries, a digital store feature for customers which gives them a complete digital shopping experience.

Singh notes Direct Deliveries has a number of benefits for the beauty entrepreneur. “They can now spend less time on making deliveries and more time focusing on their core beauty business and interacting with their customers.”

She explains Direct Deliveries also improves customer experience and “frees up the sales representatives from the agony of having to remember and track all customer orders – these can now be seamlessly managed via My Avon Store”.

“The introduction of Direct Deliveries is testament of our commitment to stand for and support our independent representatives with the tools required in today’s digital age. Our beauty entrepreneurs can now earn from digital purchases without carrying the cost or effort of deliveries.

“Through this feature, our customers can now get their delivery quicker via a courier direct to their doorstep, while our representatives’ commission earnings are sent directly to their accounts.”

Direct route

Avon Justine is a 130-year-old company that pioneered the direct-selling model in the beauty industry.

The direct-selling industry in SA, which comprises 31 companies, has seen a 5% decline in growth.

Big brands in the local industry include Avon Justine, homeware group Tupperware, and health and wellness company Herbalife.

According to the Direct Selling Association, the industry, which has 1.3 million distributors nationwide, made R12.8 billion in 2018, down from R13.5 billion in 2017.

The organisation says the industry consists of 79% women and in the last financial year, sales representatives in the industry earned over R4 billion.

With that in mind, Mafahle Mareletse, Avon Justine group vice-president for Turkey, Middle East and Africa, says: “We share the conviction that no country truly ever flourishes if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of 51% of its citizens.

“This is more apt in the countries of Southern Africa where we operate, which are battling the scourge of domestic abuse and gender-based violence. We believe that financial independence is one of the most potent tools to combat patriarchy, stimulate economic growth and empower women.”

Mareletse says Avon Justine’s operations have a positive, ripple effect in the communities in which it operates.

“We are a global movement that transcends beauty and creates a better world for women, through women. Our business model is contributing positively to the attainment of some of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, namely achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls, providing decent work and economic growth, and minimising environmental impact.”

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