Digital transformation doesn’t necessarily mean transforming your business with new and advanced digital alternatives. It is a continuous process that runs deeper transforming various aspects of the business, right from upskilling distributors to enhancing customer experience to hosting your platforms.
Direct selling, unlike other trades, needs a larger technical arena to keep the business fresh and running. Maintaining a highly engaging platform for distributors while also keeping a high priority on customer satisfaction and security has posed severe challenges for the industry through the decades. Increasing competition and the need for research into expanding markets have also kept the industry looking forward to major technical disruptions that would also positively impact the businesses.
At the DSN Tech Summit, technical experts from across the industry spoke about the changes that could possibly impact the trade. The event provided insights into the ways technology is transforming direct selling businesses across a wide array of topics related to enterprise resource planning, enterprise management, data security, and technology.
"2021 changed the way attackers focused, they’re now increasing the level of technology they use, just like we are. Whereas we’re looking at things like machine learning and AI to improve our data analytics, so are they. It is a very targeted, aggressive campaign now by these organizations because there’s real money at risk here".
— Michael A. Davis, CEO, InClaro Group, Inc.
Top digital transformation ideas for direct selling
These digital transformation ideas are a neatly laid out road map for your direct selling success in 2023. We have focussed on the key areas that drive success in the digital ecosystem.
1. Deep learning for deeper and stronger customer relationships
Deep Learning presents businesses with increasingly meaningful representations of data needed for enhancing various business processes such as customer interaction, fraud detection, and security.
In direct selling, deep learning can revolutionize customer experience by building warmer and more meaningful conversations with customers. NLP together with deep learning empowers your customer service platforms to deliver a welcoming and affirming experience based on your customer sentiments.
Fraud detection is more effective with deep learning. Deep learning powered platforms recognize fraudulent patterns in customer behavior and transactions quicker than the most advanced analysts. Deep learning can also help detect social media patterns taking you to the right influencers to promote your products.
2. Employ hyperautomation for optimized business processes
Automation has blended into every business process replacing tedious and repetitive manual tasks. It has made businesses more efficient, scalable, and cost-effective. Hyperautomation is also marked as one of Gartner’s “top strategic technology trends for 2022”.
Hyperautomation calls for the automation of as many business processes as possible with high-end technologies like RPA, AI, ML, and NLP and is an important part of digital transformation. In order to effectively implement the process, businesses must make an orchestrated use of these technologies, low-code platforms, and other process mining tools.
Few among the many direct selling business processes that could benefit from hyperautomation are
Redaction for compliance
Customer service operations
3. Data democratization is the ace up your sleeves
Everything revolves around data today predicting the future of tomorrow. Giving everyone timely access to data will translate into faster decision making and more agile teams. Data democratization will help businesses build teams that are more data-driven.
"Data democratization means that everybody has access to data and there are no gatekeepers that create a bottleneck at the gateway to the data. The goal is to have anybody use data at any time to make decisions with no barriers to access or understanding".
— Bernard Marr, Bestselling author of “Big Data in Practice.
With data comes power, the power to confidently make practical decisions regardless of technical expertise or job role. Distributors can skim through numerous customer and product case studies to educate themselves. Easily accessible data analytics reports on sales, customer behavior and patterns will help cater to the demands of the growing customer base and make valuable contributions to creating or improving products based on customer insights.
4. Customer Data Platforms (CDP) – The central transformation factor
CDPs are becoming a crucial factor in enabling successful digital transformations. Customer Data Platforms provide a 360-degree view of customers—their behavior, demands, and personalization needs.
CDPs create a centralized customer data infrastructure from all sources such as CRMs, ecommerce platforms, POS, mobile applications, or data from social networks that can be leveraged to benefit various business processes. That makes it easier for sales, marketing, and customer service teams to access data at their convenience.
Beyond acting as a centralized data repository, CDPs powered by Machine Learning can give businesses deeper customer analytics and insights on customer churn rate, ad click-through rates, buyer behavior, and customer patterns.
5. Shareable shopping cart – An inevitable ecommerce trend
Transformation in ecommerce has seen many shades, one of the smartest being a shareable shopping cart. This innovative idea of sharing the shopping cart unleashes many possibilities for distributors to bring in new customers and enhance their shopping experience.
Companies that have implemented the shared shopping cart facility have seen a significant reduction in cart abandonment and an increase in conversion rates and AOV. It also boosts omnichannel customer engagement and builds warmer customer-distributor relationships.
6. Generative AI and Augmented Reality lets customers enjoy their digital shopping destination
Brands have transformed their online stores to a new level of digital experience attracting new customers and giving existing customers a whole new visual experience. Customers are now opting for brands that allow them a free and flexible tryon and exciting shopping experiences. Technologies like Generative AI, AR, and VR transform online stores to surpass brick and mortar stores in the way they deliver customer experience.
Generative AI and Augmented Reality lets customers skip the tedious task of going from one store to another in search of products that fit their preferences and gives them a 360-degree view of products.
7. A competent omnichannel social selling platform
Channels like direct selling have moved up on the list of customer-preferred channels for the single reason of directly addressing the customer demands. This has also influenced bigger brands to adopt the direct selling approach. Social selling is another area where the impact of digital transformation has enhanced customer-brand relationships. With advanced and improved social selling initiatives, brands are quickly capturing the marketplace.
Combining the power of two, social selling platforms for direct selling businesses can help companies increase sales and establish their brand across channels effortlessly. A simple streamlined purchasing process via social media attracts more customers.
Adopting and managing omnichannel strategies is easier and more effective with social commerce platforms. It helps businesses streamline their customer acquisition and retention process more smoothly. Social selling trends, today, are paving the way for growing brands to grow wider. Digital social selling tools help distributors find and sell on platforms where their customers are.
8. Virtual platforms replace traditional offices
Pandemic has triggered insecurity and with that came the increasing demand for remote work. It has become a priority and a necessity for companies to adapt to the situation in order to maintain a stable workforce.
Giving them the comfort and space to work efficiently is primary to your success. Virtual infrastructure designed with immersive technology can create virtual environments for meetings, events, and education.
However, equipping your workforce with a laptop is not going to win the scene. Virtual infrastructure with innovative digital tools to get things done faster also needs hands-on training for your distributors. So, together with providing them the resources, introducing them to efficient training platforms are also necessary.
9. Revamp your distributor training with innovative learning platforms
Distributors have a lot to learn in each mile of their direct selling journey with you. Starting with products to build a stronger customer base to maintaining long-term relationships, they need guidance and support. Outdated training techniques can drain them of their interest in your brand. Make sure you keep them alive and kicking with innovative distributor training techniques.
Some of the most competitive and advanced distributor training platforms are
Social learning platform (SLP)
VR-based online training
Gamified Learning Experience (GLE)
Micro-Learning Platform (MLP)
View the complete set of network marketing training tools for distributors
Cyber attacks are growing and in huge numbers. Cyber incidents topped the 2022 Alliance Risk Barometer for the second time in the survey’s history. Businesses today face more ransomware attacks, IT outages, and data breaches than ever before. That also poses a major reason by which many companies falter along the way.
Having a strong security infrastructure has become imperative for companies to thrive safely and successfully in the digital space. Alongside securing your business, safeguarding customer data is also crucial to your brand trust and identity.
Adopt a cybersecurity framework that is quick to detect and mitigate risks. Setting clear cybersecurity goals and keeping a constant check on them can keep threats at bay. Implement zero trust security and train your workforce to detect and act in the event of a cyber attack. While these are the basic things you can do, an advanced plan involves employing AI and ML in threat detection and threat response.
Companies envisioning success through disruptions should focus to establish a business that is data-driven and digitally connected.
"As we think about prioritization, I don’t think it’s digital priorities versus other priorities. Digital expertise is a part of every strategy, something we need in every function and initiative. It’s not a separate strategy. It’s a part of how we have to do business and meet the marketplace today".
— John Parker, Chief Sales Officer, Amway
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