A few weeks back, Avon announced that they would be launching a brand new content studio to give a boost to their online sales. It’s no secret that Avon has been taking some hits lately. From having to close some of their underperforming international factories to mass layoffs to an overstock of obsolete inventory (ouch) to a negative rating from Moody’s to a weak earnings report last month, the hits just kept on coming. It seems as if investors, customers and even some of their sales associates have lost a little faith in the company.
But here’s where the story gets interesting. Avon has taken its lumps and they’ve paid attention…something most retailers and big businesses have failed to do. Yes, they are online (I mean who isn’t). Yes, they (and their sales reps) use the hell out of Facebook, Instagram and the like. Yes, they’re trying to reimagine the way women “create their own business opportunities” with their (somewhat) revamped direct sales business model. But what they’re getting right is the move into digital. It’s a serious move, not merely just increasing the amount of social media traction, and this is an excellent thing.
We’re in a critical era where there’s a struggle for customer experience. With busy schedules and user preferences leaning towards the simpler is better shopping model, many retail spots (including entire malls) are shutting down. They aren’t able to keep up with the pull of online shopping (and quiet as it’s kept, they aren’t really doing much to boost the customer experience…something I speak about in depth in the Mogul Chix Academy). Can you really blame customers who are choosing to save time and money (in some cases) and taking their business online? I mean no hassles with crowded stores, no rude sales associates, no leaving the house. They just get what they want/need and keep it moving. It’ll be delivered right to their doorstep with no hassle.
But here’s the thing. People like me are begging retail brands to give us a reason to come back into the stores. Even those who prefer to shop online want that personal in-store experience every now and then to break up the monotony. But that’s not the point of my post. You see, the brands who can come with the best digital experience will win their customers back and they will come back into the stores. Watch and see. Mark my words. If Avon hits this out the park, it can be a blueprint for traditional retailers to follow. I know you’re thinking “but Avon doesn’t have traditional stores”. No, they don’t. But they do have a direct sales force. And if they can steer customers back to that sales force, excited about the shopping experience again all because of their digital platform, it’s a hell of a miracle to pull off and I believe it’ll save retail. Change it, but save it nonetheless.
What can we learn from this move? In the age of social media notoriety, people forget that for business it’s much deeper than posting, sharing, tweeting and going live. I’ve said long ago that the companies that get digital right will dominate & those who ignore it or think it’s just about social will lose. This is how the big girls and boys play. They create an entire digital strategy with social media being a minor player in the overall strategy. I teach my Academy students about mapping out a full digital strategy. The outage of Facebook earlier this month should have served as a wakeup call. These are not our platforms and we have limited control. Mine your own digital real estate and make it easier for customers to interact and do business with you If your brand is powerful enough, no social media outage will keep them from interacting with or doing business with you.
What we also learn is how to create a digital platform that isn’t just for consumption. It should also be a way to engage and communicate directly with customers, gain valuable insight on their habits and behaviors, really hear what they ask for, and deliver. Then making sure you are driving them back to your home base. Remember, we’re always told that capture them on social media or email marketing, then drive them back to somewhere (a website, a store, and event, etc). I see nothing different with this move by Avon. Digital has evolved. We’ve gone from message boards and forums, to instant messaging, to live streaming over the course of two and a half decades. And with this move into virtual reality and artificial intelligence, brands run dangerously close to making shopping so impersonal that it warrants all of these store closures.
So here’s your assignment. I want you to take a look at Avon. Really study what they’re doing. I’ve helped you out already by giving you the link to the announcement about their new content studio. Then I want you to examine how you’re currently using social media (posts, ads, live streams, etc) and see how your engagement is going. Most of these sites give you a way to check your analytics (or insights in the case of Facebook and Instagram). Then fire up your Google Analytics and really take a look at what’s going on. Once you’ve done all of this, think about where you want your brand to go and how you want people to interact with it. Read up on where digital is headed and how others in your field are using it and preparing for the coming iteration of digital.
Once you’ve done that, you will be in a better position to start planning your own digital makeover. And if you don’t know where to start, Mogul Chix can work with you on Digital Strategy. You can schedule a free Discovery Session so we can determine if we can work with you. Overall, if you take nothing else away from this article, I want you to understand the shift and know that you can not only be prepared for it, but find your own lan before your competition gets a leg up on you. Remember, digital strategy isn’t about the latest and greatest technology or how many likes and follows you can get with content. It’s about creating a strong and impactful customer experience that will go a long way in building customer loyalty.
Til next time,
Founder, Mogul Chix, LLC