Jeffrey Babener, an MLM attorney and fierce advocate of direct selling, died on March 18. For more than three decades, the principal attorney in the law firm Babener & Associates served as a marketing and legal advisor to many of the largest direct selling companies in the world, as well as wrote and lectured on the subject.
Global beauty powerhouse Mary Kay announced the closure of its businesses in both Australia and New Zealand. The decision was made due to decline in market conditions and wariness of future sustainability in both countries. Mary Kay’s salesforce will be able to return product until April 6, 2020.
Kristine F. Hughes, co-founder and board member of Nature’s Sunshine Products, passed away on Feb. 23 at the age of 81. For nearly 48 years, Hughes helped revolutionize the herbal and natural wellness industry and gave rise to the modern supplement industry.
Utah-based multi-level marketing company Nature’s Sunshine used cost-cutting measures and restructuring to successfully turn a profit in the fourth quarter with a revenue drop of 5.8 percent. The company’s annual financial results reported $91.7 million in sales in the fourth quarter compared to $97.4 million in 2018, but were still able to pull at $1 million profit. The fourth quarter results for 2018 showed a $2.2 million loss. Nature’s Sunshine closed out the year of 2019 with a $0.5 million loss, compared to $2.2 million in losses for the full year of 2018.
Two former field leaders at Arizona-based Isagenix filed a lawsuit against the company in Salt Lake County claiming their sales on Amazon of Isagenix products was sanctioned by another top field leader in conjunction with company executives. Isagenix founders Kathy and Jim Coover say the company plans to file a motion to dismiss the Utah lawsuit saying the compliance department is specifically tasked with thwarting Amazon sales.
Quantum Metric, a predictive retail analytics platform, has gathered data that shows U.S consumers have been abundantly driven online due to COVID-19. Studies suggest that the 52 percent growth spike in consumer spending occurred during the fifth-eighth weeks of 2020 (Jan. 27- Feb. 23), the exact time the virus began spreading outside of Asia. Additionally, online conversion rates grew by 8.8 percent during the same time period. However both of the spikes were reversed during the ninth week of the quarter, indicating a slowdown in consumer shopping apart from items that customers would likely stockpile (e.g.., toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and food products.)
The ability to buy almost anything via the internet has changed the brand and consumer relationship over the past few years. While most direct-to-consumer brands were created on the internet, many traditional brands are making the switch. A study shows that nearly 80 percent of consumers plan to make most purchasing decisions online by 2023.
The Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates indicates that the COVID-19 outbreak is going to have a much more detrimental impact on U.S. retail container ports than expected. Factory shutdowns and travel restrictions around the world will continue to affect, if not halt completely, production and trade. According to the report, 40 percent of respondents said that they are being affected and seeing disruptions in supply chains, while 26 percent reported they expect to see more disruptions as the virus spreads.
Walmart is planning to expand on its successful Walmart Delivery Unlimited grocery delivery service by incorporating an Amazon Prime-type membership program—Walmart+. While Walmart claims that the new service will not offer the same kinds of benefits to its members as Amazon does, it will be in direct competition with Amazon Prime. Walmart is No. 3 on the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000. Amazon ranks No. 1.