COM0014 – Blog #4 – B2C Case Study

To buy or not to buy. Is that the right question? Or should it be how to buy? buyWe’ve all been there when the sales are on and you make a mad dash to get to the store to purchase something before the store runs out or the sale ends, right? But how many of you still shop in person? With the arrival of online and home party shopping, that whole go-to-the-store experience has gone by the wayside for many of us.

I was first introduced to Thirty-One Gifts by my step-daughter a few years back. Her best friend was starting a new business venture and to help her out, she held a home party.

In the time of non-traditional business operations, home parties have started to become an integral part of a B2C industry. Not only can you purchase products online and have delivered to your home, but you can have a group of your friends and family over and have those products showcased and presented at your own convenience. Companies such as Avon, PartyLite, Thirty-One Gifts and Tupperware are just a few of these types of companies where a lot of their sales are done through independent consultants and home parties.

avonAs a child in the late 1960’s, my mother sold Avon door to door. I remember going with her quite a few times and sitting quietly while she showed her abundance of fragrances and makeup to her customers, secretly wanting to try each one myself. I guess you could say that that was my first business experience. When I look back though, I can only imagine how hard my mom worked to get the sales she did. Walking from house to house, having tea and selling her products face to face; not the easiest of things to do for some people. But in those days, that was probably one of the few ways to sell. In today’s era though, social media and the web have placed sales in an entirely new category.

Back to my experience with Thirty-One Gifts. This company founded in 2003 by Cindy Monroe, has “one simple goal in mind – to help women by giving them the opportunity to run their own successful business. That goal remains our No. 1 priority today.” (Source: https://www.mythirtyone.ca/ca/en/info/ourstory). With over 860,000 Facebook followers, 42.1K Twitter followers, 78.1K Instagram followers, and 1,268 subscribers to their YouTube Channel, I think that Thirty-One Gifts has made incredible strides in the online B2C market.

The consultant that I purchase from, Jacquie Emes, has taken to Facebook over the past year, creating a social group to showcase her products and promotions. Every time there is a new product launch or a great sale, an invitation can be found in my inbox. Her launch party which is done by a live video feed, is very creative and engaging and gets you excited to want to try the new products and patterns in your favourite item. She has also recently held online auctions with her products that are either going offline or getting rid of her inventory. And again, amazing success with that. I’m sure she is not the only consultant to use social media to boost sales and engage with customers. Jacquie engages with her customers on a regular basis, daily in most cases not just when there are specials occurring; answers questions on all of the products she sells and is very supportive all around.

Now that she has moved to Alberta, not only does she have an entirely new group of AB customers, but she maintains contact with her Ontario customers to continue to provide great customer services. Since she can no longer do home parties for her ON customers, she has started online party options, a great way to keep engagement strong. I must say that over the past 5 years that Jacquie has been involved in the business, her success has been outstanding. Thirty-one gifts as a company uses a variety of social media platforms in their business. And since they have consultants all over the world, they work quite well.

So, back to my original question, how do you decide whether to buy or not to buy? And then, how do you buy?

Sources:

Photo ‘Buy Now’ and ‘Don’t Buy Now’, Microsoft Word 2016

Sales photo: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/beauty/article-1200813/Graduate-calling-Door-door-cosmetics-giant-Avon-targets-new-generation.html

 

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