Direct sellers adapt and innovate in the face of persistent challenges
I am very happy to share SSN’s 2022 Year in Review edition with you. It is hard to believe that December is upon us, but I believe that, in the years to come, we will look back at 2022 as the year that the direct selling channel began to fundamentally adapt, both in vision and in practice, to new socioeconomic realities that have either directly or indirectly impacted the practice of social selling.
While the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is, hopefully, behind us, the lasting impacts of this event on the world economy and global supply chain were profound. The pandemic also created significant and lasting effects on the psychographics of both direct selling distributors and consumers. The role that secondary income plays in the near-fully employed but volatile U.S. economy of today is quite different from just a few years ago. Similarly, the spending habits of American families have shifted as significant inflation continues to affect household budgets.
The convergence of these social and economic shifts have led many direct sellers to do what the channel does best—adapt. Over the past year, we have seen network marketing companies explore new avenues of social commerce through affiliate marketing platforms. Other companies are refining ways to make the Amazon marketplace work for them and their field. More brick-and-mortar experience centers are opening to allow consumers the ability to touch, sample, and experience the unique products this channel has to offer. Some major companies are even experimenting with partnerships with major retailers.
I am excited to see the results of this forward-thinking and fearless innovation in the new year. While the past several quarters have yielded lower top-line sales and profit numbers for many of direct selling’s largest companies, these companies’ willingness to pivot and experiment with novel marketing strategies will no doubt open the doors to future growth for the channel. Even amidst the downturn, the energy and optimism coming from company leadership will have their representatives primed for future success once external pressures such as inflation and the war in Ukraine begin to ease.
Finally, I would like to thank my team here at SSN for their hard work over the past year. As with any endeavor, the final product is a reflection of the passion of the people who create it. I could not ask for a better group to work with as we endeavor to keep you current on the important news, trends and opinions affecting social selling.
I wish each of you a happy and safe holiday season ahead, and I look forward to hearing from you in the new year!
All the best, David Bland!