By Stephanie Ramirez
Advocacy marketing network firm ExpertVoice conducted a survey and found that 82 percent of respondents said they were highly likely to follow a micro-influencer’s recommendation.
“The old way of doing things in direct sales is just not working anymore.”
—Heidi Johnson, national director of sales, BIOHM Health
What was once a simple marketing tactic has grown into an essential part of a robust marketing and selling strategy. Google searches on the term “influencer marketing” have increased 1,500 percent over the past three years, with no decrease in sight.
By Ginny Pasqualoner
There’s something so experiential about the world that we live in today. People, especially younger people, don’t think ‘work really hard for four years and you can double your income.’ They think, ‘What can I do today to pay my rent next week and have some fun tonight?
— Ann Dalton, founder and CEO, Perfectly Posh
“Of course the company is nervous when third-party apps are being used by their field due to the lack of transparency and control.”
—Colin Christensen, executive vice president, Ontrac Technologies
The social selling landscape of 2019 is vibrant and ever-changing, with the relationship between e-commerce and social selling continuing to evolve in tandem with changes in technology, social norms and legal requirements. Class-action lawsuits and regulatory confrontations have highlighted challenges regarding compensation structure, unsubstantiated advertising claims, income disclosures and more.
This new breed of brands leverages digital technology to invent faster, more automated, more personalized purchasing experiences.
“I had this craving to have a field of people who are passionate about my products. You don’t get that with direct-to-consumer.”
— Kevin Hafen, co-founder and CEO, Univia
“Cutting out the middleman” is a phrase well-known to those who utilize the direct selling model to distribute their goods and services, as they focus efforts and marketing dollars on the consultant’s ability to connect with consumers.
By Sarah Ravits
Companies capitalize on direct selling fundamentals in an effort to increase brand loyalty and customer experience.
Recognizing the power of generating a good experience for the customer, brands are once again delving into areas once dominated by direct sellers.
The pop-up experience draws its structure directly from the same principles as the Tupperware party: touch, feel, experience and fall in love, all within an impermanent setting.
When Tupperware engineered the in-home party in the 1950s, it created the experience of demonstrating products in such a manner that customers couldn’t help but fall in love with them. This “personal” approach set direct sellers apart from other retail efforts for more than half a century.
But so far in the 21st century, there have been few such clear-cut selling approaches belonging to only one channel; mainly, the lines within the world of retail continue to blur as various entities borrow best practices from each other and try out different approaches.
Companies that utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning will gain a competitive advantage over those that don’t.
The applications to business are as varied and vast as the business landscape, but one thing both AI and machine learning can provide is more confidence in decision-making by producing data-driven findings.
Machine learning has the capability to understand patterns in data at a level of complexity and nuance many orders of magnitude deeper than a human being could ever recognize.
"Amazon and other gig opportunities have been using these technologies for years. Companies must move from acting on lagging indicators to acting in anticipation of the most probable future."
—Michel Bayan, CEO, DirecTech Labs
An algorithm is a set of steps intended to accomplish a task. Your favorite chocolate cake recipe is an algorithm. The more frequently you make it, the better you get at judging how external factors such as the temperature of the butter and the moisture content in the air affect the finished cake. Repeatedly making the cake and learning from it each time will contribute to making you a better cake-baker.
By Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro
Properly crafted, gamification can improve retention, recruitment and sales.
“It not only provides ‘visualization’ of distributors’ performance, but it also creates a social community and friendly competition, by bringing distributors together in a game-like environment.”
— George Elfond, CEO, Rallyware
“Direct sales and its entire methodology and processes are a gamified type of application, with compensation metrics, mechanisms, and multi-level tiers of recognition.”
— Sebastian Leonardi, President, DSXGroup
“We like earning things like badges and prizes and advancing levels. It’s this basic concept that we all intrinsically knew as children playing games.”
— Brian Palmer, CEO, Krato
“Gamification is important because the independent salesforce needs a path to success and many coming into direct selling companies haven’t been trained,” says Brian Palmer, CEO of software firm Krato. “It creates a fun learning environment and promotes greater engagement, longer retention, and higher revenue per order.”
Gamification is the application of game mechanics into non-gaming activities, and for direct sellers, can influence sales strategy, onboarding of new consultants, marketing campaigns and promote higher levels of performance.
How smart logistics can help win the delivery game.
Getting orders out quickly with an incredible delivery speed is now standard. It’s important for operations to be set up to move quickly but also to provide great service.
—Bryce McCuin, director of marketing, A2B Fulfillment
“There is no competing with Amazon,” states Bryce McCuin, director of marketing at A2B Fulfillment. That sobering thought nonetheless finds supply chain management (SCM) professionals in the direct selling channel sprinting to keep up with customer demands that seem to grow more demanding every day.
Fulfilling the perfect order with the most efficient use of resources and low-cost strategies is a balancing act for many organizations. Advancements in technology, e-commerce, globalization, and higher customer expectations are changing the rules all across the logistics and supply chain ecosystem.
What to know before you take your direct sales company abroad.
By Sarah Ravits
As store and online retailers continue to push the envelope in terms of functionality and speed, a service standard experienced anywhere is very soon expected everywhere.
Expanding overseas presents unique challenges, but also great potential for growth. “Once you reach a certain stage and want to expand the company, it’s the logical next step,” says Janet Weil, general counsel and senior vice president of compliance and legal affairs at Texas-based WorldVentures.
Moving north from the United States into Canada is often considered the first, and most practical, step. Lewis Retik, a partner in Ottawa-based law firm Gowling WLG, says this is because the two are physically close and share similar cultures. “If you look at the two countries, there’s a very significant economic integration, perhaps more than in any other two countries,” he says. If products sell well in the United States, “there’s a reasonable chance they will sell well in Canada.”
Direct selling companies must innovate to stay competitive.
Note: The following is part of a series “New Pressures on the Direct Selling Channel.” This segment deals with the pressure resulting from innovative tech developments in other retail segments that increase consumer expectations.
As store and online retailers continue to push the envelope in terms of functionality and speed, a service standard experienced anywhere is very soon expected everywhere
In the very human business of social selling, exotic digital technology have taken a back seat to one-on-one interactions and tried-and-true business processes that emphasize personal relationships. But all consumers, including independent distributors, are becoming accustomed to more innovative technologies as part of their usual shopping experiences in other channels.