During an investors’ meeting in 2014, Avon’s CEO Sheri McCoy put her vision, saying, “Digital technology, whether it be online recruiting, online ordering, social media, mobile apps for training and placing orders, is the enabler of our future.”
Looking from the e-commerce side, several direct selling companies have already made huge progresses. The Brazil-based direct sales giant Natura has recently announced it receives more than 98% of the orders online. It is almost no ordering activity in the offline world for Natura! Natura had launched a digital platform called “Natura Network” in 2014.This figure has reached 90% in Oriflame’s case. For many years, Amway has been North America’s #1 health and beauty products internet retailer.
Digital world is obviously not limited to e-commerce nor it can be viewed as merely receiving orders through the Internet. The tools here open untapped fields in terms of building and maintaning relationships with the customers, whoever they may be.
This whole thing naturally requires a paradigm shift in the companies though, their managements being on top of the list. But how this will happen if the people holding managerial positions refuse to bring something new just because they don’t understand? I have seen many executives who don’t feel comfortable reading something on the screen so they print it out. I even saw a C-level person who was surprised to see its attached file was not printed alongside when he printed out the e-mail itself. By the way, this was not decades back!
The transformation will start with first, opening oneself to this new world in an unprejudiced manner. This might look frightening in the beginning. However, the opportunities are vast and believe it or not, today’s digital technology itself has great tools that facilitate this transformation.
Being a people business, direct selling tops the list of industries that digital technology can contribute the most. Let’s not be digitally challenged. We should always remember that this is not a luxury, this is a requirement to be able to serve today’s better-equipped customer.
Having started this article with a quote from Avon’s Sheri McCoy, I will end it the same way: “We see that consumers are shopping in new ways and looking for information in new ways, and multi-channel and multi-approach is becoming the norm.”