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How Technology Has Changed Direct Selling

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On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs stepped onto the Macworld conference stage and introduced the very first iPhone. Years ahead of the competition, this device could play music, make phone calls, and fully navigate the internet, displaying full websites in all their glory.

Nearly two decades later, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile machines are everyday staples for people to work, play, and communicate. And this is especially true in direct sales. Companies in the direct selling sphere utilize ever-advancing technology in an increasingly connected world to empower their distributors.

Those in direct sales have the ultimate flexibility to build a business on their own terms, putting in as much or as little effort as they’d like to generate sales and growth. More and more, this work is happening through the internet.

An Online-First Mindset

Companies like USANA Health Sciences have fully embraced the modern way of conducting business. They offer digital sales tools, virtual and hybrid events and training, first-party social media pages, and personal websites where distributors can send customers to shop. USANA is a good baseline for the digital tools and experiences a direct sales company should offer.

Here’s how tech innovations like the ones listed above have shaped today’s direct sales industry.

Electrified Engagement

Email has been around since 1965, but other channels of remote communication are more recent. Text messaging, chat apps and services, and video call and conferencing software are all widely adopted, letting direct sales distributors engage with customers on the platforms they’re most comfortable using. This works the other way, too—distributors can attend events or network with one another in person or over the internet through a literal network.

All these systems of socializing help you curate the ways you communicate with various communities. Set up a group chat with other business owners to plan meetups or share and ask for advice. Or talk individually with current or potential customers. Some people may prefer phone or video calls where your passion for the product can really shine through.

Oh, So Social

These days, social media is the thread holding many communities together. It’s a place to stay in touch with friends and family, plan parties, and share similar interests. Whether you’re into Dungeons & Dragons, succulents, or birding, you can find your niche on social media. It’s not going away anytime soon. In 2020, over 3.6 billion people actively used social media—and that number is only expected to grow through 2025.

Those in direct sales should take advantage of popular social platforms to find others with similar interests. You actually enjoy a product enough to use and represent it—so embrace being an organic influencer and invest in your community. Companies should have active social media accounts across platforms, allowing you to reshare their fun, creative content. And with the right hashtags, other users may even discover your page.

The Digital Storefront

The modern shopping experience typically happens online first. Having a professional, functional site is key to making sales and maintaining trust. Like USANA, many direct sales companies now allow distributors to utilize their well-built websites as their own virtual store. The distributor simply shares an affiliate link with customers. It’s a win-win: the user experiences a fully designed shop, and the distributor receives credit for any purchases.

Other website tools may be available, like custom, shareable product lists or the ability to set up automatically recurring orders. It’s like having your own personal UI/UX team on the backend—without the hefty salaries.

Here, There, Anywhere

Say there’s a valuable meeting you want to attend, but it’s several states away. These days, you’re likely to have the option to stream the event online. You’ll experience the same presentations and gain the same insights as those in the physical space (minus potentially cramped seating—but also minus any snacks served; we’ll call this one a draw).

This is a solid way to save the time and money that would otherwise be spent traveling, unlocking the opportunity to attend even more events. And if you network with other business owners in your area, you can split the cost to attend and set up a watch party. That’s savvy savings and network building! As a bonus, recorded content from hybrid events may be available to view or download later, ensuring you never miss a meetup.

Expanding Your Neural Network

The rise of technology has been a seriously awesome boost for accessibility. You can connect with anyone, anywhere, from your laptop or cell phone. Customers and fellow business owners are only a phone call or ping away, even if they’re across the country or on the other side of the world.

While there are legitimate mental health concerns from being overly connected to the tiny computers found in every pocket or purse, there are so many benefits. Software assists people with disabilities so they can also experience the online world and make the same connections. Families can carry on Thanksgiving conversations through group chats. Those with high-functioning anxiety and other illnesses have an easier time carrying on. And the list of silver linings goes on.

Download the Upgrade to Your Business

Regardless of the direct sales company you associate with, it’s worth looking into what virtual tools and technology they offer to distributors. You may discover a new, must-have innovation that will make all the difference as you conduct business. 

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