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Tuesday, 31 July, 2001, 23:20 GMT 00:20 UK
Avon calling - in cyberspace
Avon's new website is designed to boost business
From this week, Avon ladies will be calling on a new address - in cyberspace.

The cosmetics giant - famous for its 'Avon calling' mantra - has turned to the internet in an effort to boost profits.

It has created an interactive support network for its vast army of door-to-door representatives in the UK.

The company claims its relaunched website,, will improve the flow of product information and increase the sense of belonging to the Avon network.

No special training

Avon says it has a UK salesforce of 160,000, the majority of whom are self employed.

In the UK, the site will primarily be used by the company's 430 area sales managers, each of whom manage up to 500 Avon representatives.

The company claims that 95% of the website's content can be modified by its sales force without any special training.

The idea has been successfully trialled in the United States and Japan.

New business opportunities

Kathy Slater, director of Avon Cosmetics, said "Whilst the re-launched internet site is cross-functional, for consumers, area sales managers and representatives, it is the business opportunity that it presents which is of key importance.

"Our business is made up of individuals working for themselves.

"It is vital that these people have a more immediate and convenient way of hearing product news, which could present a new business opportunity, but more importantly, to promote a greater sense of 'corporate community'.

"We want them to know we're here 24/7 to support and grow their business."

Boosting sales

Avon's area sales managers will be able to use the new technology as an office management tool and to gain direct access to the company's central supply chain.

Avon representatives can place orders, access account balances, make online transactions, track orders, as well as accessing up to the minute information about the company.

The site also has features aimed at a general female audience, including virtual makeovers, health and beauty advice, competitions and round-the-clock shopping.

Avon claims similar operations in Japan, where the company is using I-mode mobile phone systems, and the US have boosted sales.

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