The office supplies retailer say it sacrificed some sales to improve online profitability. It also redesigned its business-facing e-commerce site, StaplesAdvantage.com.
The cosmetic retailer’s new StoreCast app marks an evolution of its Facebook strategy.
Avon Products Inc.’s Mark brand sees social networking as a means of bringing “Avon calling” into the 21st century. That’s what led the retailer to launch a direct-selling widget on Facebook last November. The widget enabled the brand’s representatives to sell Mark cosmetics on their customers’ Facebook news feeds, the first page Facebook users see when they log on to the site.
“We see the social networking space and Facebook, in particular, as a great opportunity to really blend social networking and direct selling,” says Annemarie Frank, director, e-commerce, digital media and strategic alliances. “It allows us to re-imagine the direct selling model that is Avon’s legacy for the digital age.”
However, the retailer didn’t think that the widget gave the brand’s representative enough power to tweak and tailor their messages to their customers. That’s why the retailer this month launched StoreCast Facebook Shop, an app that allows reps to create, name and customize their Facebook stores.
Mark reps can now stock their store with their own selection of products, which they can share via the Facebook news feed. Reps can send messages featuring a few products, along with a link to the rest of their inventory, to all their Facebook connections, or they can tailor the messages to particular audiences.
For instance, one rep recently sent out a message to a group of women, reminding them that one of their friend’s birthday was coming up and encouraging them to buy her the products she frequently purchases.
“Birthdays are a big thing on Facebook,” says Frank. “This was a creative way to leverage the site.”
Frank says that the retailer’s training on how to use StoreCast also notes that reps shouldn’t send out a blast to the same consumer more than a few times a week.
“We think that less is more,” she says. “We want to be very conscious of overposting.”
Since the app’s launch, Mark reps send out around 150 messages a day, says Frank. Although Avon does not share sales figures, Frank says that since the launch the retailer has seen increases in both sales and average order size.
Avon is No. 30 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.