It has been one year since South Korean company LG Household & Health Care acquired New Avon, and now, it’s a different world.
Avon launched on Wednesday a mobile-first version of its traditional product catalog on its e-commerce site. The catalog incorporates YouCam’s AR technology, a first for the company. It’s among developments LG has introduced to the 134-year-old company, including expansion to new categories over the last year, and a tiered representative structure with new representative incentives introduced in December. While makeup comprises approximately 66% of New Avon’s sales, it now also sells personal care products like toothpaste and antibacterial hand gel, and even household cleaning products. Sales representatives can customize the online catalog to feature specific categories or products. The catalog and new seller structure come at a time when more people are not only required to shop almost exclusively online but also where direct-sales companies are targeting people looking for supplemental income.
“We will always be focused on beauty, particularly makeup and skin care, but we are also taking the opportunity to [take advantage of] other sales opportunities,” said Steve Bosson, New Avon president of sales.
LG expanded Avon’s product portfolio to include more personal care and household cleaning items, and added its existing beauty brands, like The Face Shop and Belif, to the new catalog and mobile-friendly website. LG also introduced a new representative tier structure, where representatives earn a promotion to “premier” status after selling more than $5,000 worth of products, plus their commission increases from 25% to 30% and they receive a commemorative pin or bracelet charm; premier representatives earn another promotion to “President’s Club” status after selling more than $10,000 in products, and their commission increases to 40%. New representatives can also enroll in a “Pathway to Premier” program, where they earn $20 for every $200 worth of products sold and $100 for every $1,000 worth of products sold. Finally, LG introduced a new perks program, where all representatives have access to deals and coupons on products like takeout food, bicycles and educational courses, and top-earning representatives get additional perks like a diamond necklace if they achieve more than $1 million in sales.
“Incentives are critical to encouraging new representatives to join,” said Bosson.
In February, New Avon began promoting free sign-ups for representatives, and due to coronavirus, that offer was extended. Free sign-ups have also been employed by direct-sale company Beautycounter since March 1. Typically Avon sign-ups cost $25 – $100, depending on the size of the product kit purchased. Since February, there have been over 100,000 new sign-ups. Newsign-ups have remained consistent, at about 900 per day for April — up nearly 375% for the month, year-over-year. New representatives are coming in through referrals, recruitment advertising on Instagram and Facebook, and unpaid social posts. Bosson declined to state current advertising spend, but said it has not increased. Recruitment ads reference access to telemedicine and education courses, through the perk program, and the no-cost to sign-up, and feature copy such as, “We’ve got you covered,” and, “In uncertain times, Avon’s there. And we have been for 134 years.”
Bosson said Avon is appealing to a younger age demographic; the average age of a representative is over 40, but 60% of new reps are under 35.
“We have been devising a long-term strategy to attract and acquire a younger customer for some time,” said Mary Cooney, New Avon vp of digital. “This isn’t something that we did overnight, but it’s about pivoting our storytelling and visual assets, and identifying the best places to attract the customer [and representatives] that we want to attract.”
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article stated the 375% increase in new signs ups was between February and April. It is only for April.