Avon set to open physical stores in the UK market

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

The heritage beauty business rebranded earlier this year
The heritage beauty business rebranded earlier this year

Related tags retail Avon Consumer trends brick and mortar Business D2C

Global beauty business Avon is betting on bricks-and-mortar retail as it reveals plans to open new ‘mini beauty boutiques" in the UK to support its traditional sales model.

The new shops are set to open over the next two months and the brand said they will be based in “neighbourhood communities"​ rather than traditional high streets.

According to global CEO of Avon International, Angela Cretu, the new spaces will be "mini beauty boutiques" that showcase a selection from Avon's range and will be run under the Avon brand as franchises by its representatives.

The heritage beauty company, which rebranded​ earlier this year, has also been selling via A.S. Watson’s health and beauty retailer Superdrug since October, in 100 physical stores and online.

The partnership with Superdrug saw Avon products sold in UK high street shops for the very first time and the brand said it plans to expand to sell across hundreds more Superdrug stores from 27th​ November.

The move into bricks-and-mortar retail marks a major shift in Avon’s business model.

The brand, which was founded 137 years ago, essentially pioneered the direct-to-consumer sales model as it started out by selling products directly into the home via door-to-door representatives. Its initial aim was to offer women a way to earn an independent income.

Although Avon’s door-to-door reps still exist, in recent years its business model has shifted towards online and social media in a bid to keep up with current retail trends.

The stores will feature around 150 of Avon’s products and the full collection will still only be available through its representatives.

New business model piloted in Turkey

The company launched this franchise-store model in Turkey almost three years ago and said it has seen sales growth double in the country.

It now has 63 bricks-and-mortar stores in the Turkish market and is set to launch the same business model in more international markets, such as South Africa and Brazil.

In a statement made to PA news agency, Cretu said the expansion into physical stores was a response to the fact that 80% of beauty purchases are made through this kind of retail.

Women like to touch and experience the product and have that joy of seeing all the colours available,”​ she said.

Women stayed at home in the past, but now they are going out to work and we have to follow them wherever they spend their time and make the service as convenient as possible.”

Cretu noted that the pilot in Turkey has proven that the physical stores boosted the local reps’ businesses, rather than cannibalising their sales.

“Many customers go to the stores for an opportunity to try many of the products, or simply to enjoy a pamper experience with a beauty adviser,”​ she said.

Cretu said the business will provide training to reps to launch and run the retail franchises and provide them with the technology they need to run successful businesses.

“We want to give women the opportunity to open a business, especially in areas where it is not so easy for them to launch a start up,”​ she concluded.

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