We all thought that cosmetics is meant to be experienced with regard to physical touch and smell, but digitisation has usurped that completely.
AVON, a company that paved the way in door to door selling in cosmetics, has been bought. The selling strategy adopted was so effective and relevant to its inception; but it was caught up in the rise of what is now termed ‘The Social Media’.
Selling is the activity of making products and services available so that people buy them.
The activities of selling must now focus on digitisation more than ever. Its importance cannot be overemphasised in this era.
Natura, the Brazilian cosmetics company that owns The Body Shop, has agreed to acquire Avon Products in all stock deal that values the US-listed group at more than US$2billion, the company said late on Wednesday.
Avon was founded in 1886 by David H. McConnel. As an unsuccessful book salesman, he had concocted a rose-scented perfume as ‘free gift’ to encourage people to buy his books.
The perfume was so popular McConnell decided to abandon the book business and start a perfume company instead. In 1897, McConnell built the California Perfume Company’s first factory in Suffern, New York, which was conveniently located alongside railway line for easy access to ship his products.
In 1937, his son took over the family business. The company changed its name to AVON in 1939 in honour of Shakespeare hometown, Stratford-on-Avon.
Avon’s direct-marketing system was developed by Mrs. P.F.E. Albee in 1886. It was the first of its kind.
As Mrs. Albee sold perfumes door-to door, she recruited a team of saleswomen.
Direct marketing offered women a chance to work outside the home in an era when they had few opportunities to do so.
The company’s first catalogue appeared in 1896, with no illustrations.
The first full colour catalogue was issued in 1905.
The company pioneered the direct selling model in cosmetics by its doorstep Avon Lady sellers. But it has lost market share to savvier competitors, such as LVMH-owned Sephora, Estee lauder, and L’Oreal as the rise of social media disrupted the cosmetics business.
Cosmetic brands have quickly moved from a product-based model to an experience-based model. It is no longer just about the product. Consumers are looking for a fully interactive experience with their cosmetics brands becoming part of their lifestyle.
So big brands are responding to this; for example, L’Oreal now allocates 30 percent of its media spend to digital channels.
L’Oreal, as a cosmetic, is using artificial intelligence to predict and forecast marketwide trends, and to serve the consumer.
Artificial intelligence helps them connect with their consumers, allows them to personalise their approach and develop their business in line with their consumers.
Whether you agree or not, you must find a way to digitise a whole or part of your business that enables sales as never before, otherwise you will be bought.