Amway sales to sail web

With its distribution network set, Ada's giant plans cyber link

Free Press, March 3, 1999
By Lorene Yue

Amway Corp. is adding a twist to its successful, mostly in-home sales. It plans to sell products on the Web.

The Ada-based direct-sales company plans to launch Sept. 1.

The company is keeping details about Quixtar under wraps until its debut. But Ken McDonald, regional vice president for Amway North America, said the site will feature four basic consumer areas to allow shoppers to buy nearly all 450 personal care, nutrition and wellness, home care, and commercial products Amway developed and manufactures.

Customers also are to be able to tap into services, such as long-distance telephone hookups, purchase name-brand products and link to other on-line shopping sites.

"E-commerce is one of the hottest things going," McDonald said.

In 1998, the Web accounted for $4.5 billion in on-line sales -- triple those of 1997.

Researchers predict on-line shopping will increase almost 800 percent to $35 billion by 2002, according to eMarketer, which provides information on doing business on-line.

Amway has nearly 100 people designing and implementing the site, a project that started in October 1998, said Randy Bancino, senior manager of Amway's Internet business group. A privately held company, Amway would not disclose the cost of creating the site.

Although Amway already has a Web site, McDonald said it is only an electronic billboard.

Quixtar at is expected to give Amway an electronic way to hawk its products and provide another avenue for the direct-sales giant to grow its global network of distributors.

Avon, one of Amway's competitors, has a similar Web site that allows shoppers to buy personal care items and sign up to sell Avon products.

Tupperware has announced that it will offer its food storage products on-line by the end of this year.

Visitors to Quixtar will be able to buy familiar Amway offerings such as SA8 laundry care and Nutrilite products, become a member of Quixtar and buy products at a discount or become a Quixtar distributor. Distributor kits for Quixtar are expected to be priced lower than the $130 kits for Amway, McDonald said.

Quixtar will mimic Amway by adopting the same sales, marketing and compensation framework that helped create its army of American and Canadian sales representatives, who are known as independent business owners or distributors by the company.

Quixtar distributors will be rewarded for delivering new customers and members to through bonuses on the sales volume they generate.

McDonald declined to release figures on what Amway projects the impact will be on the company, but he said its Web site, touting the arrival of Quixtar, was logging 1,000 hits a minute and 150,000 people expressed interested in becoming independent business owners.

Amway is counting on its network of distributors, known for their eagerness and face-to-face sales approach, to make Quixtar profitable. "This is possible, because we have people who can drive customers to this site without ever advertising," McDonald said.


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