According to a recent report from Marketing Pilgrim, in the next five years, social media is expected to account for 57 percent of customer engagement.
The idea that social media is replacing other modes of interaction is not far-fetched. In fact, for many demographic groups, such as Gen Y, emails are increasingly replaced with Facebook and Twitter messages, and cell phones are more frequently used for messaging rather than phone calls.
But, one inference studies such as the Marketing Pilgrim report often make is the idea that social media is replacing face-to-face interaction, and that this process could prove harmful to businesses across the board.
The social media revolution has, in no way, caught the direct sales channel off-guard. In fact, while the vast majority of direct selling companies operate via a person-to-person or party plan sales strategy, direct sellers have no doubt jumped on board with the social media revolution. More importantly, however, while distributors and executives alike use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to strengthen connections with the field and with customers, direct selling has stayed true to its roots—and that provides the sales channel with a unique competitive advantage over industries that have shifted to an “online-only” model.
During last year’s DSA Be Connected Conference in Palos Verdes, Calif., Tori Molnar, President of Utoria and a Gen-Yer herself, talked about how the definition of “social” has changed over the years. As she noted, “social” today means being online, but she also stressed that Gen Y-ers – along with other key demographic groups—are so connected online that they’re actually craving in-life experiences these days.
According to a recent GfK Roper study commissioned by DSA, while consumers appreciate the benefits that technological advances and increased choice bring, they need “filters”—such as others’ insights about products and services—to make decisions more manageable and uncomplicated. In fact, more than half of Americans believe there is too much choice across most all product categories today.
That is where today’s direct seller steps in.
Direct sellers provide more than access to products or services; they provide much-needed insights and assistance with narrowing a never-ending list of options down to the choices that best fit the consumers’ needs. And, although mobile devices can provide consumers with instant access to product reviews and online shopping platforms, direct sellers provide consumers with an unmatched—and sought-after—shopping experience away from crowded malls or big retail hubs. Even more, the study found that 75 percent of Americans believe experiences are more important than possessions. Plus, 50 percent of Gen Y-ers said they enjoy in-person shopping when they are presented with a genuinely unique experience or product.
Have you purchased a product or service from a direct seller recently? Share your favorite direct selling shopping experiences with us in the comments below!