Direct Selling Disrupted: Reinventing the Traditional Model

In the business world, everything is now interconnected. The changing landscape of disruptive technologies affects all industries and sectors, setting new rules to develop and motivate teams, increase brand awareness, and win customer loyalty. Direct selling is no exception.

Jeffrey Bronchick, Principal at Cove Street Capital, when asked if the direct selling industry should “benchmark itself against the tech innovation activities of other retail sectors,” said it has to or it will be crushed. It’s time to get serious about the future of direct selling. Co-chair of the board of directors of Amway Steve Van Andel says, Digital transformation is a top priority in everything we [Amway] do,” speaking about a strategic company transformation that focuses on growth through the right digital tools, distributors’ personalized experiences, and product innovations. 

Let’s see how direct selling companies can innovate the traditional direct selling industry model with the right technology to thrive in the future and become key players in the gig marketplace.

Five essential components of successful direct selling model innovation

Digital disruption can actually be beneficial for direct selling companies that want to drive customer experience initiatives by supercharging their independent workforces. Any digital transformation initiative comes from the desire to optimize business processes using the right technologies that make companies agile and ready to meet the ever-changing market requirements. 

traditional direct selling model innovation

The key is choosing the right technology to go digital, not to go home. These are five key elements your digital tools have to provide to help your company bring innovation to the table.

1. Deep segmentation

Direct selling companies must segment their distributors in a smart way. At the base level, it will allow for differentiating those who joined just for the sake of purchasing products at a discount and those who want to build their business. At a deeper level, segmentation will help companies better understand their distributors’ needs and provide experiences that are in line with their goals, be it training activities, business activities, promotions, rewards, networking, etc. 

To segment your field, leverage data-driven tools that will analyze your data and group your distributors based on the chosen parameters, according to the specifics of your company. 

2. Overall simplification

Keep things simple for both distributors and customers – that’s the basic rule of Industry 4.0. Since the rapid development of technologies has led to a “chaotic, cluttered” environment with more and more point solutions instead of integrated ones, people got tired of searching for the tools instead of using them right away.

Simplification means delivering to the right individual what they need at the right time in the simplest way. This includes seamless accessibility, a user-friendly interface, and a digital solution that integrates all the daily experiences necessary for workforce success. If your people can’t get what they need within a few taps, they won’t use your tools and will only get irritated by the complexity of solutions.

3. Data-driven personalization

The principle of simplification includes delivering personalized support to every distributor. It comes in the form of bite-sized learning and business activities tailored to the current knowledge and skills level of every individual, the specific challenges they are facing at the moment, and the goals they are pursuing. 

The goal of data-driven personalization is to enable customized paths to success. They consist of triggered just-in-time activities that improve the retention of new information through its immediate application in practice. Such personalized paths are supported by smart notifications sent to the right person just when the time is right to facilitate business-building experience for every distributor.  

4. Authentic communication

Direct selling has always been and will always be people-centric. However, with the rise of social selling and online shopping, the focus on people has to be more humane than ever before. Aggressive marketing strategies and targeted ads won’t appeal to Millennials or Gen Zers. Studies show that these two generations prefer brands that share their values and that feel authentic to them.

To engage with both today’s independent workforce and customers, it’s important for direct selling companies to be authentic, be present, constantly foster trustful relationships, and show how their products change lives. According to Mention, 75% of what companies sell is “the intangible feeling that comes with a product” – the experience. Therefore, digital tools have to provide distributors with an ability to record and share those real-life stories through which the true product experience shines and engages potential customers.

5. AI-enabled automation

All the above-mentioned strategies will bring the most value once they are fully automated to keep up with the pace of changes in the business world and customer needs. Smart automation ensures data-driven personalization for every distributor and every team, being aligned with every individual’s needs and the company’s goals. 

AI-driven systems help direct selling companies optimize processes by integrating all their tools and applications and creating the ‘in-house ecosystem’. They allow every distributor to manage their business in the most efficient way by prescribing activities based on real-time insights into their current progress, needs, and goals. It’s no wonder that 76% of companies say that such AI-enabled solutions integrated into their day-to-day operations and processes deliver significant value to their business, according to McKinsey.

These five essential components are key to successful direct selling business innovation. By leveraging smart digital tools, you will smoothly enter the ‘new age’ of direct selling and ensure the success of your company in 2020 and beyond.

Rethink the traditional direct selling business model. Are you on the way to innovating your direct selling business? Get in touch with the Rallyware’s experts to see how you can optimize all your processes and support your field within a single data-driven system!