Avon opens first shop amid declining number of stay-at home mothers

Beauty giant forced into rethinking sales strategy as more women work

One of the most memorable slogans in advertising of the 21st Century was about this. Soon, the days of Avon’s “ding dong” could be over.

For the first time in 137 years, Avon, known for its legions Avon ladies who sell door-to-door across the UK, will open stores on UK high street.

Avon was forced to rethink the way it sells its products, as more women are going to work. Its five million sales representatives were also forced to stop house calls due to the pandemic.

Angela Cretu is the chief executive officer of Avon. She said, “In the past women stayed home, but today they go to work. We have to follow these women wherever they are and make their service as convenient as we can.

Women like to feel and experience the product. They also enjoy seeing the different colours.

Avon has said that it will initially open a few shops, which will be operated by sales representatives. It has not revealed where it plans to open its shops.

In 1886, a traveling book seller began to offer free samples of perfume with every purchase. The company became synonymous with stay-at home mothers and housewives.

Initially, it was marketed as a way to help more women earn an income by selling Avon perfumes in small towns to those who didn’t have access to larger shops.

Avon’s sales representatives have continued to be a vital part of the company for decades. They go door-to–door with brochures on paper or host parties at people’s homes. Sales reps can earn up to 32% of sales over £1.

Avon’s traditional retail method has been a harder task to achieve in recent years. Fewer people are at home during the days and Avon admits that “door-to-door” sales are not for everyone.

Official figures show that the number of parents who stay at home has nearly halved from 1993 to 1.6 million.

The trend of remote working has also slowed down over the last year. More than 40% of employees are now in the office 5 days a weeks.

Online sales have increased from a tenth to over 30pc of the total before the pandemic.

Avon’s director of marketing Kristof Neirynck stated earlier this year that the company was trying to shed its outdated image in order to appeal to a larger group of consumers. Around 40% of Avon’s customer base was older than 45 in 2007.

In March, Mr Neirynck said: “When people hear that you work for Avon they either ask if the company is still in existence or say their mothers used to be Avon girls.”

He said: “When you examine the reasons why consumers do not buy Avon currently, six of the ten top barriers are related to access to the Avon brand. It’s easier to buy another brand, I’d prefer to see and touch a product first, or it takes too long for my order to arrive.

Avon has opened high-street shops in Turkey since three years ago. The company now has 63 shops in Turkey and claims that sales have doubled since the first store opened.