Getting staff working from home when the coronavirus crisis started was just the first step for beauty company Avon International: next was working out how to to keep its vast network of sales reps productive while stuck at home.
Nick Burton, chief information and digital officer at Avon, and his team initially focussed on helping the firm's thousands of employees around the world to work remotely. Their work during the past few weeks has been to use IT to support the firm's door-to-door sales representatives.
Avon has used a direct-selling model for 130 years, but it's also a model that was all-but-impossible to continue during lockdown.
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Avon normally sells its products through reps who call at clients' doors and collect orders from a paper brochure. The representatives place one or two orders a month and receive a big box of products. These products are then hand delivered by hand to …