The Top 7 Direct Selling Trends to Watch for in 2020

From time to time, we all check the weather forecast. Why? To be prepared and act proactively. To know whether we need to take an umbrella, put on a warm jacket, get a pair of sunglasses or reschedule a family picnic.

The same goes for tracking the latest studies, findings, and technologies to develop the most comprehensive future-proof strategy for your business, come rain or shine. Let’s dive into the latest trends that will define the success of the direct selling industry in 2020.

Business trends for DS leaders to watch for in 2020

Trends that are pervading the direct selling industry affect all aspects, starting from distributor and customer experience to global social good. 

1. Protecting the independent worker status for all direct sellers.

Independent work in the gig economy is becoming an important topic of interest as more and more people choose to join non-traditional entrepreneurship opportunities to earn money. However, not all of them are created equal. 

“Choice is a critical distinction to make, and H.R. 3522 [Preserving Direct Seller Independence Act] preserves direct sellers’ ability to choose the products they want to sell, the customers they engage with, and the hours they will work – and make those decisions based on their own needs, responsibilities, and aspirations,” says Joseph N. Mariano, DSA president and chief executive officer. This statement was supported by more than 125 DSA representatives during the meeting with Congress. 

Members of DSA and Congress keep working closely together to protect the status of independent workers and to ensure “a flexible and low-risk pathway to entrepreneurship for millions of Americans.” Always stand by your distributors and their interests through providing just-in-time support and personalized training. By tapping into each distributor’s goals, you will make them engaged and much more active in building their own business.

2. Embracing the shopping experience from e-commerce giants.

Following the ever-changing needs of consumers and trying to make their buying experience as smooth as possible, direct selling companies address three key aspects.

direct selling trends

  • Make shopping simple. The fewer barriers between making a decision and the actual purchase consumers have, the more likely they’ll buy and engage with a brand further on. Make sure to provide a simple and intuitive shopping experience as well as clear product information.
  • Make shopping intimate. “Tech-enabled intimacy is where we can connect like-minded consumers so they can engage in conversations, and we can make it an amazing experience for them in the social media platform,” explains Monica Wood, VP of Consumer and Member Insights at Herbalife. Be present, focus on communities, and interact.
  • Make shopping data-driven. Analyze consumer behaviors to paint a clear picture of their purchasing process, interests, and needs. This way, you will target the right people with the right offer at the right time. Even more, you’ll be able to predict consumers’ needs before they realize them, immensely helping your distributors grow their businesses. 

3. Leveraging influencer marketing to attract Gen Zs.

The way direct selling companies reach their audience has changed. Now the ‘word-of-mouth’ approach can be realized through influencer marketing. Multiple studies show that 92% of companies see influencer marketing as an effective way of reaching out to a large audience, with 82% believing that the quality of customers acquired from this approach is better than from any other channel. Besides, 82% of consumers say they’re likely to follow influencers’ recommendations. 

The important thing is that influencer marketing equals Gen Zs’ trust. This generation sees influencers as credible sources for shopping recommendations because they’re authentic and knowledgeable. “They will follow beauty YouTubers or Instagram influencers and develop loyalty to those people, trusting their advice on purchase decisions,” emphasizes Genie Reese, chief strategy officer at Red Aspen. “Traditional advertising doesn’t gain the attention of Gen Z. They aren’t impressed by famous people,” adds Sean Eggert, CEO of Hanna Shea Executive Search. Be sure to drive customer loyalty through authenticity, compelling narrative, and personalization embodied in influencer marketing.

4. Supporting and developing female entrepreneurship.

The American Express study revealed that between 1997 and 2017, there was a 114% increase in female entrepreneurship, which is 2.5x higher than the national average. However, this only tells part of the story. Women entrepreneurs face a number of challenges while trying to succeed in business.

direct selling trends

  • 73% of female entrepreneurs experience a lack of capital and resources
  • 48% of female entrepreneurs claim a lack of mentors is holding them back
  • 31% of female entrepreneurs experience a lack of a support system

Direct selling companies have made great strides in helping women enter entrepreneurship and grow their businesses. For example, The Avon Foundation Argentina recently allocated $1 million to women-led social projects. The winning projects were aimed at “supporting young people to finish their schooling, promoting environmental sustainability, and facilitating the inclusion of women with disabilities into the workforce.” Mary Kay introduced the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator, offering “a guided digital curriculum supplemented by on-the-ground training and mentorship.” Mary Kay wants to remove entrepreneurial hurdles for talented women to ensure that they “have access to the tools and education they need to make their dreams of financial independence a reality, lifting up their families and communities,” as Deborah Gibbins, chief operating officer of Mary Kay, explains. Ensure that each of your distributors is equipped with the right resources, be it training, business tools, mentorship from their uplines or community support.

5. Fighting health problems through research and education.

Direct selling companies keep driving health care initiatives and raise awareness of a healthy lifestyle. Herbalife Nutrition is set to help residents of Fontana reduce the percentage of adults (39%) who suffer from obesity. The company will share its expertise in health education and fitness & nutrition programs as well as sponsor the Fontana Days Run Half Marathon.

Mary Kay will offer a $500,000 grant to five international researchers so that they can conduct cancer research at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “We plan to identify a group of dedicated postdoctoral candidates from around the globe, invite them to Dallas, and equip them with all the tools and resources they need to continue their groundbreaking research in our cancer lab,” says Jerry Shay, cell biology professor at UT Southwestern. This collaboration is one more step towards reshaping the way women-related types of cancer are treated. 

Your distributors will be happy to be part of a company that impacts the common social good. Whether it’s global research or a local event dedicated to supporting vital questions, it’s a big step towards making the world a better place.

Technology trends for the success of direct selling in 2020

Tech evolution and business transformation go hand in hand. A paradigm shift that’s happening in the direct selling industry can be realized through two emerging tech trends.

1. Integrating all operations and activities into a single customizable platform.

Since the majority of distributors are involved in a direct selling business only part-time and try to fit their side gig into busy schedules, every aspect of their entrepreneurial journey should be as smooth and easy as possible. Mark Rawlins, CEO at InfoTrax, describes the distributor experience, resorting to the McDonald’s rule: “If for $300 to $500 they’re [distributors] not staying, it means they’re spending too many hours to make that $300 to $500.” Why would one engage in a direct selling business if, in the end, they would spend more time and effort to earn that extra cash than if they worked part-time at McDonald’s? 

That’s why for direct selling companies it’s crucial to provide their distributors with tools and resources to ensure they have everything for easily achievable success. However, the nature of these tools has been reshaped and evolved. Scattered solutions for every small challenge are not an option anymore. Successful direct selling companies embrace smart systems that unify all the necessary tools to drive distributors’ success. Such systems are customizable to the core and combine training, engagement, genealogy management, payment processing, business development and other tools, ensuring that all the distributors are supported at each step on their way to success. Take care of your distributors’ business-building experience by providing them with a performance enablement hub right in their pocket that can be accessed 24/7. 

2. Data-driven to AI&ML-powered performance enablement tools. 

It hasn’t relatively been so long since companies embraced the power of data to drive strategic decisions concerning customer engagement, productivity growth, retention efforts, and so on. Until recently, data analysis helped to uncover insights into performance fait accompli. It was a good way to analyze past challenges and issues to avoid them in the future. AI and ML have become the next step in direct selling digital transformation.

Smart performance enablement systems not only combine all the key tools necessary for distributors’ success but also use the AI&ML-powered engine to provide real-time insights and continuously trigger proactive, personalized activities to prevent possible performance issues. Leverage AI&ML and predictive analytics to impact your distributors’ behavior and make them much more engaged and productive. 

Keep abreast of emerging trends and technologies to be a game-changer in your industry. 

Request a demo to see how Rallyware’s data-driven performance enablement system will help you transform the way you engage, train, and support your field!