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#PortadaLat Speaker Rebeca Ricoy, Avon: “We Want to Scale Social”

Avon's Rebeca Ricoy speaks to Portada about the evolution of the company toward digital platforms as well as challenges that the company faces on its path to digitalization.


What: Direct Sales and Social Selling are very connected. Noone knows this better than Rebeca Ricoy, Senior Manager of Digital Strategies at Avon NoLA. Ricoy speaks to Portada about the evolution of the company, which is focused on direct cosmetics sales, toward the adoption of digital platforms, as well as the challenges that the company is facing in the process. Ricoy is one of the many major brand marketers that will be participating at #PortadaLat, which will take place in Miami on June 8-9.
Why It Matters: LatAm is one of the regions that Avon is betting on the most. When it comes to revenue, Brazil is the brand’s largest market, and Mexico is the second-largest. At the global level, Avon has six million representatives, and LatAm is one of the regions that contributes the most to that statistic. In 2015, for example, 650,000 new representatives joined the company in Mexico.

Rebeca Ricoy
Rebeca Ricoy, senior manager of digital strategies at Avon NoLA

Portada: What challenges is Avon facing in terms of going from direct sales to digital/social sales? 

RR: “To us, even though we are going digital, direct sales will be maintained because we have representatives that recommend Avon products to their friends on social media. Independently of that, we have two great challenges: on the one hand, Internet penetration in Mexico is low compared to that of other countries. On the other hand, an important part of our consumer base today is made of women from a lower socioeconomic level, and older women, many of which have no access to technology. We need to incorporate more digital representatives and train our current salespeople to explain the great benefits of digital tools.”

Portada: With digital development, are direct sales more complicated?

RR:” No. Direct sales are still occurring, and even more so in Latin countries where human contact and “buying from a friend” is much more powerful than a store without a face.”

“The challenge is to give our representatives the different technological tools so that they can multiply their business and take advantage of the digital boom.”

Portada: How have consumers reacted to the evolution of the brand towards digital?
RR: “We have two targets: our consumers and our representatives. In both cases, our trend toward digital has been well-received. Especially since we re-branded through “Beauty with a Purpose” last year. This re-branding came with a 360 strategy for content strongly supported by digital. The evolution is slow, but the goal is clear.”

Portada: What challenges does marketing through digital platforms present?

RR: “There are various challenges, on the one hand, speaking to and staying relevant to the final consumer without leaving our representatives behind. On the other hand, generating adequate tools to increase earning opportunities  through platforms so that representatives can adapt to change and take advantage of it.”

Portada: What role do social media platforms play for Avon in LatAm?

RR: “They are key to communicating and interacting with our representatives and final clients. It is a great thermometer for us. It’s so relevant that we have made large investments in the last two years in which we have pushed more and more toward digital media. Of our digital investment budget, 90% goes to social media.”

Portada: Which do you use the most?

RR: “For our target and category types, the networks we use the most are Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter (in that order of importance). We are starting to explore Pinterest, although we know that this network is very niche, but aligned with our target.”

Portada: Do you use influencers?  

RR: “We still haven’t done that as much as we wanted, but we are working on some projects that integrate influencers. It doesn’t matter if they are local or multicultural, as long as the audience coincides with the target of Avon NoLA.”

Portada: How do you choose them? Do you use some type of software or special agency?

RR: “Our digital, media and public relations agency makes recommendations together; each one uses its own analytics and listening tools to come up with the best proposal. Internally, we have our own market research area that can help us understand if they are relevant to our market and our representatives.”

Portada: What other challenges do you think Avon faces? 

RR: “One of the greatest challenges we will have is attracting a younger, more digital target that can help us evolve the business. To do this, we need to scale our social sales, connecting those who look for beauty products with those that sell them through a solid digital platform to offer an experience that integrates the consumer and the representative.”


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