Jan 15, 2021
Direct selling is a massive industry. Thousands of people work as representatives for global brands. But as with any other industry, changing consumer habits and a more digital world has had an impact. The challenge now is to make sure the connection between consumer and representative is not lost in a digital world.
Direct selling is selling products directly to consumers in a non-retail environment. Instead, sales occur at home, work, online, or other non-store locations. Sales representatives rely on strong relationships with their consumer base and are often dependent on being in close proximity to their potential customers to be more efficient.
To the untrained eye direct selling companies might seem pretty similar. The structure after all - whether single or multi level - is straightforward. Plus, empowering entrepreneurs is something everyone can get behind.
But anyone who actually works in direct selling can tell you that the difference between a direct selling company that's on top of their digital game and one that's are still analog is as vast as night and day.
Almost every direct selling company has a catalog as the foundation of their business model. They're not relying on complex ecommerce setups to support a direct selling model.
The make or break of direct selling is to empower your representatives to stay connected with their consumer base. And that connection is the catalog. It shows the products that can be bought from the representatives. And checkout often happens in person or through a phone call.
But this way of running a direct selling business is not adapted to modern consumer behavior. Direct selling companies that still rely solely on distribution of print catalogs and hosting events are missing out on a lot of potential business.
What might have been a slight competitive advantage a few years ago is now essential for direct selling companies. They need to have a digital version of their catalog in order to strive in this competitive market space.
The real challenge is to make sure the connection between consumer and representative is not lost in a digital world. And that is achieved by using the most popular messaging app in the world and integrating it directly in the purchase flow of the digital catalog.
"Our new and improved online catalogs were well received by shoppers and in the first few months we actually tripled the number of catalog readers! Our success is fantastic news for both our overall sustainability and digitalization plan."
Jhon Motta, IT Manager at Natura
No longer do consumers need to order products over the phone, via email or have a consultation in person. No longer do sales representatives have to reuse old catalogs that might be damaged or just incredibly out of date. And, no longer will they have to drive from house to house and risk getting stuck in traffic and missing out on a sale.
It can all be done directly from your online catalog, over WhatsApp.
With WhatsApp enabled catalog shopping consumers can browse and interact with the catalogs on their phone. When ready to buy, they can easily send their basket contents to a local representative over WhatsApp. Orders will be sent directly into their sales representatives WhatsApp inbox and can be processed immediately.
This shows just how pragmatically the digital transformation of an entire business model can be achieved. Direct selling companies know the importance of keeping up with consumer behavior. And they know that their representatives are the key to success.
Instead of looking towards innovating new platforms and adding a lot of complexity to their ecommerce setup, they looked towards merging the online social community into a digital version of their core asset. The print catalog.
“We saw results immediately after enabling WhatsApp checkout. Our shoppers say that this helps them have a fast, direct route to purchase and our sales force loves the flexibility WhatsApp checkout offers them.”
Andrea Signori, Digital Manager at Stanhome