February 23, 2024

Avon opens physical stores in the UK for the first time

  • Written by Lucy Hooker
  • Business correspondent, BBC News

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Avon already has a chain of stores in Türkiye

The cosmetics brand famous for its slogan “Ding dong, Avon call!” is about to open physical stores in the UK for the first time.

Avon said women want to “touch and experience” the products they buy.

For many years, the global beauty giant has relied on an army of door-to-door sales representatives, who can pitch their wares live.

But recently the Covid pandemic has accelerated the shift to online sales.

Now, in a change of direction, the 137-year-old retailer is adding brick-and-mortar stores to its arsenal of sales tactics.

In addition to the United Kingdom, the company will launch outlets in Brazil and South Africa. It already has 63 stores in Türkiye.

Global CEO Angela Cretu said the company is looking for ways to follow women “wherever they spend their time,” describing the move as “an exciting new chapter.”

Ms Creto said the UK stores, expected to open within the next two months, would be based in “neighborhood communities” rather than traditional high streets, and would serve as “mini beauty shops” showcasing a selection of the Avon range.

Avon has not yet confirmed the number and locations of the new stores.

Avon was founded in the United States in 1884, but eventually moved its headquarters to the United Kingdom in 2016.

The oft-quoted “Ding dong, Avon call!” The ad has not been used since 1967. However, the brand remains closely associated with doorstep sales and the era of stay-at-home moms, double sets, and Tupperware parties.

Retail analyst Natalie Berg said that despite its shift to social media, the Avon brand remained “a bit stale”.

But Ms Berg said opening the stores could be good for the company.

“You can't overestimate the power of the human touch and community you get in a physical store environment,” she said, adding that this is especially true for beauty products, which are still mostly sold in stores.

Ms. Berg said Avon would need to get its in-store technology right in order to compete with brands that have invested heavily in virtual and augmented reality, and personalized services powered by digital technology.

But she said local stores can have a “halo effect,” meaning they may play a role in helping customers choose which products they later go on to buy from salespeople and online.

The company said Avon's experience in Turkey suggests that brick-and-mortar stores can boost business for local door-to-door sales representatives, who will be trained to manage the new outlets as franchises.

“We want to give women the opportunity to open a business, especially in areas where it is not easy for them to launch a startup,” Ms. Creto said.

The company is also expanding its presence in Superdrug stores, following a partnership in September that saw Avon products sold in selected branches of the pharmacy chain.

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