Building the foundation for personalisation in Avon’s multichannel business

International beauty giant shares its initial steps on journey to providing a seamless, 1:1 customer experience across multiple sales channels
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Founded in 1886, Avon represents the fourth-largest pure-play beauty company in the world. Connecting people in more than 70 countries, its 5.6 million Representatives use the power of beauty to transform women’s lives for the better; selling Avon’s beauty products and building their own beauty businesses.

Avon believes a better world for women is a better world for all, and is committed to acting for gender equality, speaking out about issues that matter and creating positive change. Together with Avon Foundation, the company has donated over US$1.1 billion, with a focus on tackling gender violence and breast cancer.

Multichannel approach with personalisation at heart

With personalised, tailored advice at the heart of its business, Avon customers can shop through a variety of channels. Famous for its iconic printed brochure, many continue to shop face-to-face through a Representative who understands them and their unique buying habits. More recently, Avon has seen its online sales triple compared to pre-pandemic levels with customers increasingly choosing to shop online, either via their Representative’s online store or their digital brochure, or directly with Avon.

In providing greater flexibility for how a particular customer may prefer to shop, the additional channels brought with them new challenges around data analysis and customer experience.

Meeting customer needs

Sitting at the intersection of audience data, experience, and real-time context, Avon knew that investing in personalisation would help the company on its mission of delivering a seamless customer journey; one that would replicate the 1:1 level of service it was known for, but digitally. Upon deciding to consolidate technology after leveraging various platforms for A/B testing and product recommendations, Avon made sure its new solution would enable the brand to:

  • Join up critical information from across platforms and channels
  • Streamline A/B testing, personalisation, and recommendations into one workflow
  • Easily kickstart experience creation through out-of-the-box templates
  • Scale experience delivery across locations through cross-site sharing
Avon then carefully plotted its next steps, aiming to quickly demonstrate the importance of personalisation, deepen buy-in within the organisation, and build a foundation for the long-term optimisation of its multiple sales channels, which included:

  • Identifying important audience behavior – The team narrowed in on what makes each segment tick through a combined analysis of data from its digital experience analytics and personalisation platform
  • Eliminating noise in reporting – The team ensured online visitor behavior from its sales representatives wasn’t influencing the measurement or optimisation of its customer segments
  • Breaking departmental silos in CX delivery – The team held a workshop to kick off and create cooperation between the various platform users
  • Targeting its most profitable customers – Following a classic RFM-based model, the team clustered its customers according to recency, frequency, and monetary value of purchases to build audiences for personalisation
From there, the team was able to launch a few initial product recommendation campaigns targeting all visitors in the UK, Czech, and Poland on both its product listing pages and product detail pages, experimenting with “Recently Viewed” and “Similarity” algorithms to determine the most relevant strategy per location at these key stages in the funnel.
Recently Viewed Recommendation Strategy Deployed on Product Listing Pages
Similarity Recommendation Strategy Deployed on Product Detail Pages
And it wasn’t long before Avon witnessed incremental uplifts in cart value and revenue generated from products bought after clicking and buying an item from the widgets. This resulted in the team expanding its implementation to other countries.

Small steps, big impact

Avon understood the need to first fix the foundational issues threatening its customer experience before exploring more complex implementations and use cases. Taking small but extremely important steps, the company is eager to invest further resources in personalisation following early positive results, with its sight set on launching recommendations in over 26 countries, surfacing product availability to power social proof messaging, creating urgency with countdown timers, reducing abandonment with exit-intent popups, and so much more – the possibilities are endless.