Friday, June 2, 2023

The Changing Face of Direct Selling

It’s important that we emphasise on physical health and mental well-being. Irrespective of the career path we choose, being negligent about our own personal growth can have an adverse impact on how we lead our lives and how we inspire others. Direct selling as a concept has generally focused on individual customer requirements. The main objective is to study and analyse market trends. With innovative technological advancements, companies need to adapt and forecast customer buying patterns. Consumers, with their busy schedules are associating with brands that promote the essence of living a healthy lifestyle. Products that contribute to a healthier gut, boost our immunity and keep our skin in perfect condition results in a fulfilling lifestyle.

Diseases like diabetes and increased blood pressure levels are definitely a major concern. Adults and the elderly can succumb to the dangerous effects of such diseases without prior knowledge and warning. With companies promoting health supplements and capsules that energize our entire system, you are one step away from a healthier and sustainable living experience. On the organizational front, firms need to interact, circulate surveys and acknowledge feedback in order to arrive at customer centric promotion strategies. In all its glory, focusing on key technological aspects can help organizations better interact with associated sellers, monitor flexible compensation plans, offer accessibility in terms of product information to customers and provide pre/post sales services.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plays a very important role in spreading a social message. Direct selling firms should cooperate and strategize their operations by closely working with charitable institutions and NGOs for a stronger impact. For instance, organizing blood donation camps, walkathons for cancer awareness and conducting seminars that promote the importance of battling against diabetes is a great way to enhance brand recognition and explore into different networking channels.

The idea of marketing in general has witnessed a major transition. Direct selling compared to other forms of marketing is considered to be the most traditional form of promoting individual products. Be it any product or service rendered; companies are focusing on tapping an appropriate target audience. Analysing current market requirements and forecasting future demands contributes to effective direct selling techniques. With technology advancements, organizations are adapting to changing trends. The impact of social media has been tremendous. Having a strong online presence assists companies to focus on different product collateral and demographics pertaining to customer reach. Millennials are now inspired to be their own boss and are working as freelancers for an alternate source of income. Having a sense of independence and doing what you love has helped entrepreneurs venture into new career options. With companies offering short-term business engagements, people are working as independent entrepreneurs and part-time workers. Looking at current trends, India has a potential market for freelancers who are self-motivated to perform and enjoy lucrative benefits.

Direct selling and Gig economy- The paradigm shift

Gig economy

We cannot invest time in ourselves and create value if we are depending on others for economic reasons. The common man starts working in multinational organizations for a mere salary and has to wait month on month for a fixed salary. Also, working in shifts deteriorates health quite significantly. Early on in your life, it’s very important to realize what your passion is. The millennial crowd finds the mundane 9-6 job quite monotonous. To get out of the monotony, the market offers part-time jobs that help you focus on your passion and bank on an alternate source of income. Working in the gig economy gives rise to potential alternatives that help you share your expertise in different sectors of the national economy. For instance, direct sellers can work online, virtually interact with multiple customers and indulge in other business opportunities. Possibilities are endless because you aren’t depending on a single source to earn. Also, when you work remotely, especially in a co-working space, you can create a broader network of professionals who can help you in achieving your dream, irrespective of your primary profession. Therefore, with flexible career-driven compensation plans for direct sellers, motivation and self-worth sky rocket.

Traditional form of direct selling involved sellers physically interacting with potential customers. This comprises of on time product demonstrations, collecting reviews and analysing customer feedback. This way sellers were only able to focus and serve individual customers and build strong business relationships. Having a one-on-one session with customers enables sellers to understand buying patterns and focus on what’s missing. Products specific to health and wellness require more focus in terms of in-house demonstrations. Also, personally interacting with end consumers adds value to every purchase because it makes customers feel important.

Also, with the global pandemic COVID 19, independent entrepreneurs needn’t depend on other resources as far as fixed monthly salaries are concerned. The benefit of working as a freelancer in the gig economy eases the burden financially and provides business alternatives to explore. Social distancing is the need of the day in order to curb the spread of the virus. Having your own space can boost creativity and help you focus more on what you want to achieve in terms of health, social independence, job security and flexibility.

With social media interactions on the rise, direct sellers are motivated to serve multiple customers and build a diverse portfolio. Working independently helps direct sellers to strategize their priorities and focus their attention on a wider customer network. Corporations are beginning to realize the impact of this transition and are outsourcing most of their operations to freelancers. That being said, working on a part-time basis can have its drawbacks too. There are offers that don’t pay well and have negligible career growth. With minimal pay out options and secluded work spaces, millennials cannot count on a steady income month on month.

Impact of contract-based work in direct selling- Defying the odds

Direct selling organizations have now embraced the concept of promoting their product using the power of social media. Independent entrepreneurs working on short-term contracts can partner with companies that promote products pertaining to healthy living and sustainable lifestyle. With a commission-based payment scheme, millennials feel motivated to outperform and test their abilities. Current statistics prove that direct selling companies work with around 50 lakh self-employed individuals and is forecasted to increase to about 2 crore independent entrepreneurs by 2025. The current workforce desire to work independently, have flexible working hours, convenience and additional income has motivated direct selling organizations to provide product specific incentives in order to retain potential sellers.

Make optimum use of technological advancements

Direct selling organizations should make the most out of the technology that is available. This eliminates maintaining records manually and minimizes utilization of resources, which are otherwise not necessary. Providing tools to your direct sellers can help them interact with each other, set objectives, plan in advance and analyse customer buying trends from time to time. Online training and research in terms of product knowledge can help individual sellers up their game and earn as they learn. Also, acquaintance with online tools can help sellers to compare their performance, change prospective strategies and build strong consumer relationships.

The social media presence- A major deal breaker

People are always on the move. It’s imperative that direct selling organizations and associated sellers have a strong social media presence. Be it on platforms like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, one can interact and promote products effectively. Now, with fast paced video conferencing tools, sellers can have real-time experiences with their customers and provide timely information about products/services. Technology helps because parent companies can monitor the performance of individual sellers that help them frame plans on compensation benefits. Submitted blogs regarding social concerns, healthy/sustainable living and making the world a better place can create awareness and boost customer referrals.

Influencer marketing- The order of the day

End consumers often tend to relate to celebrities and local influencers. Products that are endorsed and promoted by influencers tend to impact customer purchase patterns. Direct selling organizations should work with such entities to retain potential customers and create awareness in regard to health & wellness. Conducting workshops and inviting esteemed guests that represent health-oriented products is an effective way to attract and create brand awareness. This way direct sellers can interact with individual participants and provide an insight on healthy lifestyles.

Health and Wellness- Understand your audience

Before implementing a social media design, it is crucial that direct sellers determine their target audience and the motive to sell. Working as a freelancer in the national gig economy gives you more control of your career. This helps you understand your audience better and effectively cater to their requirements. The impact can be significant because it makes you realize your self-worth and not get stressed about working under someone. Compared to depending on others for employment prospects, self-employed individuals have a healthy mental balance because they are able to choose for themselves. They can dictate their career growth and grab potential opportunities on the go.

Working in the gig economy helps you take control and have a sense of command on your job. This influences your choice of diet, lifestyle and mental well-being. Reports show that working for your own self and contributing your services as a freelancer gives you ample time to be physically fit and plan your entire day. Working in multiple shifts can take an adverse toll on your body. You tend to lose your appetite and severely neglect aspects that are required for a sustainable lifestyle. As a self-employed worker, one is flexible in terms of time, amount of work and avail potential business opportunities. What’s more, a smart dedicated worker may want to take up direct selling as a full-time career opportunity since the scope is ever expanding. There is a diverse range of products to sell, which requires a segmented selling approach catering to the different sets of target audience.

Promoting health and well-being as a concept

Independent entrepreneurs are beginning to associate with products that promote a sense of physical and mental well-being. This involves tips on how to keep your indoors clean, have a balanced diet, boost your immunity and work towards uplifting a socio-economic balance. Initiatives that create awareness about a clean environment seem to trigger customer attention. Direct selling organizations, considering the prevalent impact, have started to launch products that exclusively focus on the importance of leading a fit lifestyle. This has encouraged freelancers and gig workers to seize the opportunity and promote relevant products via different mediums. Information available online about staying healthy has resulted in positive customer testimonials and greater customer feedback. As talks about health and physical well-being is pretty popular, sellers can target multiple demographics and establish business connections across different backgrounds.

In conclusion, with companies focusing their operations into health and wellness related products, contract-based direct sellers are able to devise flexible strategies and focus on customer-specific requirements. It is indubitable that organisations focusing on high standards of product quality in this domain and strong business ethics, will emerge successful in the long run. Their partners in growth, their own customers – their true brand ambassadors – will change the face of direct selling, a change which will be natural, welcomed and sustainable for years to come.

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