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Case Studies

Amway Integrates Personal Network with the Internet
IBM's e-business solution brings together distributors and customers through cyberspace

A personal network is essential to the success of Amway. User experience and word of mouth contribute to the rapid growth of Amway's direct-selling business which includes a wide variety of products ranging from personal care to home care, and from nutrition to all kinds of associated services.

As one of the largest direct-selling companies in the world, Amway lays its foundation on partnership, the partnership that exists among the founding families, employees, distributors and customers. To further strengthen the network, Amway Hong Kong is leveraging the Internet to enhance communication and connection among the group.

Dubbed Am@net (, the Hong Kong Amway website is not only a centre for comprehensive Amway information, but a place where distributors and privileged customers can purchase quality Amway products around the clock. With just three mouse clicks, Amway distributors and privileged customers can enjoy placing orders, confirming orders and arranging delivery service offered by Amway.

The Internet fits well into Amway's unique direct-selling business model, according to Mrs. Angela Keung, General Manager at Amway. The new approach also provides room for the company to offer more creative services in Hong Kong.

"e-business is an irresistible worldwide trend. The Internet provides an interactive and convenient medium for Amway to keep in close touch with our active distributors and privileged customers," Mrs. Keung commented.

"The website fills our gap of limited shops as our partners can now sit back at home and place orders online. The Internet is a very good tool to encourage the desire to purchase products, as customers can get the most up-to-date information including product features, availability and pricing over the Internet."

In Hong Kong , Amway has over 40,000 active distributors and privileged customers who have great confidence on Amway's quality products and services. Making use of the personal network, Amway Hong Kong is actively promoting the use of the online network to its existing customer base in Hong Kong. This explains why the new website has attracted over 20,000 viewers and over HK$1 million sales has been generated via the website in the first two weeks of its launch.

In fact, Am@net is not only a company website, but an encyclopaedia itself, said Paul Lam, Amway's Information Services Manager. To make it a healthcare knowledge base for everyone, Am@net features a wide range of healthcare information such as an interactive calorie de-coder. In the near future, the company will roll out more creative services such as online healthcare consultancy that allows Internet users to access professional nutriologist advises over the Internet.

Mr. Lam sees the Internet as a cost-effective way to improve customer service and to expand business opportunities without imposing heavy burden on the overall operating costs.

"With the combination of Internet and computer technologies, all information distributors and customers need to know about Amway, including the background of the company, latest product information, sales and marketing plan, as well as bonus scheme is available with just a few mouse clicks. Customers can even view product demonstration online, with the Real Video software supplied by Amway."

Based on IBM's e-business solution that includes the high-performance AS/400 server and UDB universal database, Am@net is a dynamic business vehicle that offers a convenient and easy to use channel for distributors and customers to keep in close touch with Amway and to grow their businesses together with Amway."

Mr Lam said: "IBM's Net.Commerce solution provides a powerful platform for us to create value-added services to our customers. The solution allows both SET and SSL security measures to be implemented on the same system at the same time, providing us a reliable and safe environment for e-business transaction. It also offers us a rapid development tool for the design of innovative services on our website."

Partners with IBM, Amway will build into Am@net more advanced features in the near future. These include web-based e-mail accounts for distributors and customers to facilitate internal and external communications, and business intelligent system to capture customers' sales data and buying behavior. In addition, as the Hongkong Post will roll out the public key system later this year, Amway, in accordance with its corporate development, will also launch the online distributor registration service so the public can begin pursuing their direct-selling businesses on the Internet.

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