Back in your grandma’s day, direct sales people were referred to as “peddlers.” They would go door to door in different neighborhoods, trying to sell their encyclopedias, vacuums, cleaning products and other items to willing buyers.
Nowadays, door to door salespeople may still ring your bell every once in awhile, but you are far more likely to find them online. You might be excited to accept a friend request from your old third grade buddy on Facebook, only to find he or she wants to sell you (choose at least one) jewelry, candles, health supplements, face cream and/or clothing. To understand how technology is impacting the way direct sales take place, please read on:
E-commerce is Changing Customers’ Expectations
Several huge e-commerce companies like Amazon and Zappos have set the bar very high for what consumers want — this includes great prices, super fast delivery, hassle-free returns and 24/7 availability. Customers are now expecting these same great shopping experiences wherever they choose to buy products and this includes direct selling companies. This means that companies that focus on direct selling must rise to the occasion and offer the same outstanding shopping experiences offered by the e-commerce giants.
As a side note, direct selling companies that do not meet their customers’ lofty expectations will probably also have a hard time inspiring them to be sellers. In order to attract and keep both consumers and new sellers, direct selling companies are offering their sales teams the proper technological tools that allow the sellers to give the best possible customer service. This includes 24/7 access to a place to purchase the items and direct sellers carrying Android smartphones and other handheld technology to complete sales from any location.
The Power of Social Media
As mentioned earlier, social media’s impact on direct selling companies is huge. A perfect example of a company that “gets it” and is doing social media correctly is Amway; the trusted global leader in direct sales now has a thriving online community within its YouTube, Facebook and Instagram profiles. Independent Business Owners who work for Amway have adapted over the years, going from hosting Amway parties in their homes where they would sell the company’s products and encourage others to also be direct sellers, to allowing customers to shop through their own social media pages. Potential customers will also look to the main company’s social media profiles for more information about the company as well as reviews about the products, customer service and more. Social media is also certainly having an impact on the ability companies have to attract more direct sellers; if someone is considering trying to be a direct seller for a vitamin or clothing company and he reads negative comments from other sellers online, he may reconsider. Again, Amway does an outstanding job on social media of presenting itself as a happy, modern and successful place to work.
Other Technology that Can Help Drive Direct Sales
In addition to social media and e-commerce in general, other forms of technology have the power to impact direct sales for the better. Skype is a great way for direct sellers to close more deals with their customers. In addition to making presentations about products with potential buyers who may be thousands of miles away, direct sellers might find that people are more willing to hear about their products via a low key Skype call instead of a face-to-face meeting. Skype has such clear HD video, direct sellers can easily show off their products to potential buyers and sellers.
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