Direct sellers incorporating virtual tools to improve the person-to-person experience
Remember the early days of the internet? I sure do. The beeps and chirps associated with “logging on” through a phone line will be forever ingrained in my memory. I recall the amazement, and also the confusion, as I tried to navigate the world wide web for the first time during my freshman year of college.
I also recall the realization that I was participating in something that would change…everything. The frustrations of slow connection speeds and rudimentary browsing options were balanced by the excitement of being able to glimpse the vast potential for this new technology.
Fast forward 32 years and I find myself having deja vu. This time, that “new” technology is artificial intelligence. The term was actually coined in 1956 in the early days of computer science. However, with the advances in computer processing speeds and the advent of virtual reality and the Metaverse, millions of people across the world are now getting their first look at this new kind of digital revolution.
As I spoke with direct selling company leaders and suppliers over the past few years, I have been fascinated by the ways in which AI is being used to increase back-office efficiency and productivity, improve the customer experience and better equip the field with innovative training and selling tools.
As with any advance, there are challenges that come with it. The AI of the 21st century is requiring a thorough examination of the legal and ethical consequences of the use of this technology, especially in the realm of business and marketing and its impacts on privacy, security and finance. Lawmakers and regulators, in both the U.S. and Europe, are actively pursuing new laws and regs to govern the use of AI by businesses and entrepreneurs.
The greatest strength of direct selling will always be the human elements and the personal connections that come with the buying experience. I am eager to see how our channel will take advantage of the remarkable tools of artificial intelligence to innovate, market and educate, all the while preserving the tangible, real-life connections that set us apart.
I am always astounded when I am reminded that the span of time between the first flight by the Wright brothers and humans landing on the moon was just 66 years. Imagine the digital tools and capabilities we will have 66 years from now.
Warmly and virtually yours, David Bland!