Today, technology has impacted the way every business model works. It is helping businesses evolve at a greater speed and direct selling Industry is no exception to it. Direct selling is one of the oldest & simplest product distribution systems prevailing in India. In this system, companies appointcommon individuals, called as direct sellers, as the authorized people to conduct the product sale to consumers away from any retail locations. It revolves around the selling techniques like demonstrations, samplings, circulating testimonies of the products and thereby selling the products to friends, relatives, colleagues and acquaintances.
Today, the Indian direct selling industry is worth Rs. 7000 CR and it is forecasted to reach INR 61,000 CR by 2025. According to a report by FICCI and KPMG, the industry is growing at CAGR of 16% to 19%.
Direct selling is one of the industries that have always kept it updated with the technologies to explore various innate aspects of business. Technology has answers to many challenges faced by Direct Selling companies.
Let’s take a look at the key challenges and how technology handles them-
Convenience of doing the business:
Initially the authorized direct sellers used to meet the potential consumer in person,conducted product demonstrationsto exhibit and sale the products that was certainly a time consuming process. Now with changing technological advancements, the direct seller can simply share a video about the product to the consumer and if the consumer finds it good enough then he can purchase products directly through direct seller’s personal webpage! In order to ensure the best purchase experience for the consumers, products get delivered within 2-4 working days.
Webinars are replacing the Seminars:
Organizing seminars is a routine exercise in the field of direct selling and this helps direct sellers to address a larger number of people at once. However, recently, the concept of webinars has changed the whole experience of conducting seminars and training sessionsacross the industries. Education is one of its best examples.
Webinars can work well for the direct sellers as well; as they can address a large number ofpotential consumers across different geographical locations in one go. It is cost effective and convenient for both the direct sellers as well as to the consumers. Some of the direct selling. companies like Netsurf have already started using Facebook LIVE and YouTube LIVE to address a larger audience.
Ease of doing business:
Mobile Applications are revolutionizing the way direct selling business is conducted. The mobile apps enable direct sellers to handle their business activities on-the-go and also fulfill their desire to provide the best purchase experiences to the consumers.
Consider this exemplary difficult situation that almost every direct selling company faces about their customer retention- many times consumers find direct selling products helpful and want to buy those again. But they cannot practically buy because they have lost the touch with the direct seller who initially sold it to them. Here, the company losses on its potential loyal consumer! On the other hand, sometimesconsumers come across some marketing efforts of a direct selling company and they wish to try its products. However, as those products are not presence on shelf in the traditional market, they don’t know how to reach to direct seller to avail those products.
Such technological advancements bring in a lot of transparency in the way a direct sale takes place. The consumers can use this platform from any screen, be it a smartphone or be it a desktop. Such platforms not only empower the consumer but also boost the direct seller’s business. It is a strong answer to those denials for joining direct selling business in India on people finding it ‘a hectic door-to-door salesmanship affaire’. Needless to say, such platforms help the companies to retain and maintain their consumer base.
Technological developments are not just about the business functioning and convenience but also about empowering the consumers, the direct sellers and also the direct selling companies at the same time. Use of technology and social media are also attracting the millennials to this business.
(The article reproduced from Indian Retailer. It has been penned down by Sujit Jain, Chairman & Managing Director, Netsurf Communications Pvt. Ltd)