Whether through scheduled livestreams, or impromptu one-on-one customer interactions, direct sellers can leverage their relationships online as they do in the real world, but to greater effect.
If we can learn anything from Versace, Ferrari, or Jimmy Choo, it’s that price is irrelevant — the only thing that matters is perceived value to get the sale. This week an article came up in my LinkedIn feed about high fashion brand Balenciaga introducing a new line of purses that look just like a bag of Lay’s potato chips for the low price of $1,500! Now, if I suggested to my wife that she replace her handbag with a Cheetos container that I graciously emptied for her, I would likely need new sleeping accommodations for a night or two. But the Balenciaga brand has cachet, so their buyers don’t even blink at the price tag. For years, they have exhausted considerable effort crafting and preserving their prestige. The good news is that there are simple ways to accelerate the process of creating perceived value.
A challenge in the direct selling space is that our products cost too much. To be fair, many products sold by direct sales organizations are priced significantly higher than perceived similar products found on store shelves. However, premium products come at a premium price, and that is not a bad thing. With the right approach and the right tools, higher price points won’t stand in the way of getting the sale. In this article, we will explore how livestream shopping and concierge commerce empower your field to close the value gap and turn reluctant prospects into satisfied customers.
Luxury brands have a playbook for propping up perceived value with a focus on increasing desirability and exclusivity. Four popular tactics are: pairing products with celebrities, exclusive sales channels, turning customers into walking billboards, and a focus on unmatched customer service.
The good news is these same tactics are already employed by direct selling companies, with a few important differences that make selling at a premium easier for us.
In direct selling, we don’t invest in celebrity endorsements for “macro-influencers” like George Clooney or Charlize Theron because we don’t have to. We have an army of highly coveted, micro-influencers that may not be well-known worldwide, but they are intimately known by their customers and often have deep, emotional connections to the products and opportunities provided by direct selling. This passion and proximity to the customer is the first shortcut to proper value positioning. Brand advocates connect with customers on a personal and deep level. In-person meetings are at the core of direct selling. New technologies like live video and concierge commerce make it possible to extend personalized brand experiences anywhere in the world at any time. Scheduled livestreams and impromptu one-on-one customer interactions leverage these relationships online as they do in the real world, but to greater effect.
Direct selling companies make sure that the products are sold exclusively through active sales reps, not licensing deals and mass-market retailers. We have a worldwide club of sellers who care for our brands as if they were their own. Luxury brands are careful in selecting partners they know will create value for their customers because premium product purchases are driven as much by emotion as logic. Direct selling’s best strategies extend personalized resources and combine them with technologies that simplify the buying process. Video conferencing solutions like Zoom and livestreams are good, but with a few small enhancements those same interactions can happen directly on your website or sales channels. When human contact is present all the way through the transaction, the customer feels better about the purchase.
Lastly, if anyone has mastered brand advocacy, it’s the direct selling channel. Luxury brands may be creating walking billboards, but the direct sales industry creates walking neon signs with attached private sales lounges. Each brand advocate has a personal story to tell about how the company and products they represent have changed their lives. Luxury brands would kill to have their customers as emotionally invested as our distributors. That level of personal attachment exudes desirability, but only if your sellers have a platform and a mechanism to tell their stories.
At the core, a single thread connects these ideas – empower your people to connect and provide a premium personalized experience for their customers. Your technology strategy needs to include mechanisms to support this effort. When the strengths of this channel are given the proper pathways to shine, projecting perceived value becomes the byproduct of the interaction and our advocates can better sell premium products for their value, not a misperceived premium.
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