In a significant shift from its traditional direct-to-consumer business model, Avon, a global beauty giant with a 137-year history, is set to open its first physical stores in the UK. This move marks a pivotal transition for the brand, renowned for its door-to-door sales approach, as it ventures into bricks-and-mortar retail.

Avon plans to establish several stores across the UK in the coming months. These stores, designed to support Avon’s traditional sales model, will be situated in neighbourhood communities rather than on high streets, indicating a strategic approach to location selection. Angela Cretu, the global CEO of Avon International, highlighted that these boutiques would be franchises run by Avon representatives and would showcase a selection of Avon’s range.

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The inception of physical stores in the UK is part of Avon’s broader strategy to adapt to the evolving retail landscape. While the brand’s door-to-door sales representatives are still operational, there has been a noticeable shift towards online and social media sales in recent years. This transition was accelerated by the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic, which necessitated a reevaluation of the door-to-door selling model.

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According to Cretu, the move into physical retail responds to consumer behaviour, noting that 80% of beauty purchases are made through this kind of retail. The physical stores aim to provide customers with an opportunity to experience the products firsthand, aligning with the growing trend of experiential retail. This strategy also includes giving women the opportunity to start their businesses, particularly in areas where launching a startup might be challenging.

Avon’s venture into physical retail is further bolstered by its enhanced partnership with Superdrug. This strategic move aims to enhance brand recognition and awareness in Superdrug stores utilising a freestanding retail display. The innovative retail display concept designed and manufactured by arken will feature 150 Avon products, providing customers with a 360-shoppable experience.

Tracy Scutt, managing director of arken P-O-P International comments: The Avon retail display solution at Superdrug stores is a testament to innovation, sustainability, and strategic collaboration, providing customers with a dynamic and immersive shopping experience. As a business, we’re delighted to have played our part in supporting an iconic beauty brand like Avon as it enters the physical retail landscape for the first time, bringing its products closer to consumers in partnership with Superdrug.”

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Avon’s venture into physical stores in the UK follows a successful pilot in Turkey, where the franchise-store model was introduced three years ago, leading to a doubling of sales in the country. The company currently operates 63 stores in Turkey and plans to replicate this model in other international markets, including South Africa and Brazil.

Avon’s strategic move into the UK’s physical retail space signifies a new era for the company, blending its heritage in direct sales with the modern retail landscape’s demands. By adapting its business model to include physical stores and innovative retail solutions, Avon is not only responding to changing consumer behaviours but also offering new opportunities for its sales representatives and customers alike.

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