Rough waters could be a new challenge for a ship that has sailed a long route in smooth waters. But for a boat that started off in rough waters, the challenge wouldn’t be challenging enough to bother its pace.
Well, the ship here refers to veterans in direct selling while the boat is the new generation business entrepreneurs in the channel, and the rough waters are the back-to-back crises that the world has witnessed over the years creating heavy economic tremors.
Millennials, the first digital natives, and generation Z ventured into direct selling businesses with their stronger educational foundation and perseverance to chuck cliches out. Direct selling businesses were a dream fulfilling channel that gave youngsters an opportunity to become entrepreneurs and go up the ladder with their skills and talents.
However, with competition getting tighter each passing day and enormous challenges arising one after the other in a million ways, how do these energy-packed generations overcome challenges and build businesses par intelligence and excellence? Buckle down and read through how young entrepreneurs aspire to inspire and set newer milestones in the direct selling industry.
Of a hundred other factors, what makes young entrepreneurs stand out from the usual crowd that ventures in and out of the direct selling business? First and foremost, it is their attitude. Perspective is one thing that changes over generations. Generation Z has this unique customer-first attitude that could benefit direct selling businesses in numerous ways.
Transparency is given prime focus by young entrepreneurs in the direct selling business. Even if a person is a customer or not, brands staying plausible and transparent to everyone alike has got a lot to do with building brand credibility and trustworthiness.
Come to think about it, earlier generations hardly knew any basic information about a brand like who owns it, who runs it or where it is headquartered. Whereas, today, people know everything about a brand right from its inception to its revenue and sales figures which were otherwise ‘secrets’ that are not supposed to be disclosed. With the digital takeover, there are more ways through which a brand’s credibility or transparency can be portrayed. Brands even film and publish videos and other creative content on how their products are being produced at their factories to showcase their commitment to staying reliable and trustworthy to their customers.
Good or bad, customers prefer hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth. And hence, social media handles, podcasts, videos, etc that are genuinely handled or addressed by the brand’s senior management; with real information and customer-specific, customer-facing videos and content, etc are widely accepted. Engaging content like short videos, reels, and full-length videos discussing product tips or tricks, business insights, market trends, etc are widely accepted by people creating a place for the brand in their hearts.
Transparency in the direct selling business – for a direct selling/MLM business, ways through which they could build trustworthiness are through transparent payout processes. A direct selling company with an income disclosure statement that clearly states earning claims and compensation structures itself could attract more people to your brand.
Staying transparent could thus improve customer and employee loyalty, and increase investment propositions. In the long run, when a brand is transparent it could nullify when a baseless allegation or rumor arises and customers would believe what the brand says during such instances.
Staying true to your organization’s vision, mission and ethics can boost the credibility and identity of your brand by manifolds.
Customers are always on the lookout for something new. Newness attracts every generation alike to a brand. Newness does not always mean bringing in new products every now and then. It could be about bringing in genuine and exclusive experiences through products or services. Exclusivity could also be in terms of quality, testing, and transparency of newly launched products or by broadening the already established product categories too.
But when there is already a ton load of products available under various categories, why exclusivity? With the changing customer attitude and behavior, a lot of ‘expert’ products have gone into the bin already. This could increase the demand for products depending on changing trends. Staying unique and exclusive with the brand’s offerings could help the brand stay on the top of customer charts.
The direct selling industry has retained exclusivity and newness with product innovations ranging from makeup, cosmetics, and personal care, to neurostimulators and a wide range of health and fitness products. Unlike the retail industry, the direct selling sector which is in constant connect with customers alters and revamps products according to customer preferences to stay closer to their customers and build robust customer relationships. With exclusivity, a product serves as an experience that could satisfy customers and stay loyal to the brand for a longer period of time.
Customer acquisition and retention
During the pandemic period, every direct selling brand discarded the hard and fast conventional methods of acquiring customers and found their own ways to attract newer customers and retain them effectively. They altered, integrated, modified, implemented, and even revoked a few ideas and strategies to cope with customer demands that changed drastically during and post the COVID era.
A revolutionary idea was to hyper-personalize products and services according to customer interests and needs. Brands that are considerate and compassionate altered even their basic policies to cater to customers' whims and fancies and retain them for a longer period.
Another idea that showed significant results was to incentivize customers with loyalty and rewards programs for their activities that benefitted the brand beyond business. Like, when a distributor or a customer suggests the brand among their peers, every new purchase gave them a chance to win a coupon or a gift.
Beyond factors that are directly related to the brand and the business, customers were more attracted to brands that were socially responsible. It was easier for brands whose products were vegan, cruelty-free and that endorses lesser carbon footprints to get themselves to the customers because their social responsibility was a factor that got customers hooked amidst a lot of brands that are not.
Some of the direct selling organizations over the years have made sure that their compensation plans are prim and proper with no ‘conditions applied’. This drew newer customers to brands and stay for longer periods of time for the level of trustworthiness that brands maintained.
When bonuses, incentives, and every other perk are mentioned on record, it is easier to acquire new customers leaving no room for confusion and being able to maintain a consistent level of transparency right from onboarding. Restructuring business to tailor to omnichannel customer needs and wants across all digital platforms is indeed an attitude through which direct selling brands showcase their commitment to customers and their willingness to retain customers for the longest possible period.
Being able to stay grounded with their mission, vision, and policies even when their brands see exorbitant growth is another iconic attitude of the younger generations that help them scale newer heights. Even when the revenue figures hit new highs, they ensure that they stay transparent maintaining their integrity and authenticity.
There have been instances where hypergrowth caused counterproductiveness with brands being staggered midway. Whereas direct selling brands led by youngsters that came into existence in the past 18-24 months saw hypergrowth but they counted this as a possibility to find newer opportunities for the brand to reach newer extents in terms of product rarity, combinations, demographics, and every possible factor. This has widened the scope of the product and the brand's success in the market through customer happiness and satisfaction.
Millennials sure brought newness into the industry with their innovations and ideologies. Generation z is taking the same approach where they look at businesses beyond just transactions and envisions success as winning hearts through transparent business practices. Even though the channel has been welcoming men and women alike, women-owned and operated direct selling brands are making quite a wave in the industry in the past few years. From cosmetics and personal care to neurostimulators and wellness products, women have launched a huge array of products that have taken the channel by leaps and bounds. Women entrepreneurs aim at addressing women-centric issues and developing products that can uproot their customers’ concerns.
Despite increasing financial instability and wavering market conditions, what draws youngsters to the direct selling business is ultimate flexibility and borderless opportunities. The opportunity to engage with people from all walks of life and across the world is looked at as a great chance to get exposure and learn newer business approaches. Direct selling businesses’ higher earning potential is definitely attractive but at the same time, it comes with its own risks. Being able to identify these risks and overcome them strategically is where younger generations have excelled and shown incredible results.
Tomorrows seem brighter as the channel is safe in the hands of youngsters who strive to excel in unique ways delivering incredible results that not only improve sales and revenue but also welcome new enthusiasts into the industry.
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