I spent a few minutes talking with Nicki Keohohou the co-founder and CEO of the Direct Selling Worldwide Alliance (http://dswa.org/). Nicki has spent a lifetime working with direct sellers. She speaks to distributors from a wide range of direct selling companies such as Avon, Mary Kay, USANA and the list continues. She stated that this last year she has presented to over a million people. I was excited to get to pick her brain for a few moments on where she sees party plans today.
First, she stated that the United States and the different parts of the world are experiencing different rates of success. The rate of distributors and dollars spent in the United States continues to grow at a steady rate from 1% to 6% over the last 4 years. (http://www.dsa.org/research/industry-statistics). However, worldwide the percent of sales is up 8% in constant US dollars. Countries such as India (up 20% over 3 years), Indonesia (up 12% over three years), Philippines (up 18% over 3 years) (http://www.wfdsa.org/files/pdf/global-stats/Sales_Report_2013.pdf). In general, direct selling revenue continues to grow around the world.
The second idea was that traditional party plan companies and traditional MLM companies were learning from each other. We discussed the increase in use of parties by more traditional MLM companies. Juice companies hold tasting parties to help sell product and recruit new members. Many nutrition product companies now have skincare lines and hold parties for product testing and explanation. In addition, many traditional party plan companies have adopted a more multilevel commission structure.
The third area of change is the use of online parties. Nicki stated that she believes the traditional party still outweighs the other options. However, hosting a party on social media is a trend. The invitation is sent out to all your connections via social media. The guest clicks in and chooses the product.
One area that has not changed is the use of hostess gifts to reward for holding a party. The types of rewards are free product and reduced price items both based on the sales of the party. Nicki feels that more companies are providing unique products for hostesses that others cannot purchase. This creates a reason to host rather than to just be an attendee.
The last idea that Nicki and I discussed was the DSWA Buy it Direct program. The idea is that if we all supported direct sellers for a few dollars a month, we could make a big difference in each other’s lives and grow the industry.
Thanks to Nicki for her ideas and energy and love of the industry.