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Of all the fashion and beauty brands looking to find a way to monetize social networking, we wouldn't have put money on Avon getting to the head of the pack. But WWD is reporting that the company, which still relies on selling through Avon Ladies and catalogues, is the first beauty brand to open a social selling application on Facebook.
Avon's Mark brand, which targets younger shoppers, launched a storefront on Facebook with a widget that lets buyers search their own friends lists for representatives. If they don't have a sales rep friend, they can make one by using the widget to search for a rep in their area. The site also lets people sign up to become reps, and the Mark Girl Facebook wall is covered in posts from its young reps calling people to shop through them.
A Facebook spokeswoman told WWD that this is the only such selling application she had seen on Facebook. 1-800-Flowers had the first functioning sales application, but Mark's storefront is the first to incorporate the Facebook friends lists into its selling features. Mark's global president Claudia Poccia argues for door-to-door sales as the original social networking: "Some 123 years ago, the representative would go door to door, geography to geography, selling to her friends and family — her social network. Mark is taking direct selling from door to door, to [Facebook's] wall to wall."
· Avon's Mark to Sell Products on Facebook [WWD, subscription required]