The Future of Direct Selling Agent in India
With the advancements in technology and the need for global business models in India, direct selling has been in demand for a few decades. It is a form of retailing where salespersons bring products directly to consumers without much middlemen interference, thereby making the products much more affordable and accessible. DSA agents represent their company and earn commission fees in exchange for their services. Direct selling is a dynamic route of growth, with agents cold-calling and networking extensively to promote their company’s products through robust marketing channels.
Rajat Banerji, the Chairman of the Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA) said, “The direct selling sector in India… has provided sustainable self-employment and micro-entrepreneurship opportunities for nearly 80 lakh Indians and has demonstrated consistent and sustained growth with a CAGR of 15.7% over last four financial years.” Read on to know more about direct-selling trends, opportunities in the direct-selling industry, and the future of this industry in India.
Direct selling trends that are set to continue
- Direct selling as a stable source of income: DSA agents enjoy flexible working conditions, networking opportunities, and generous compensation. Although their monthly income depends on how many products they sell every month, it is a steady income stream for those who are willing to put in the work to consistently promote their company’s products and sell them. Since the lockdown had forced several households to lose their primary earning member, the direct selling industry offered opportunities to several individuals.
- Focus on using digital marketing channels: Direct selling agents rely on cold-calling, referring, and networking to find new clients. Since 2019, most businesses have shifted online. They connected with their audience, received feedback, and actively interacted with their audience on social media platforms. Digital marketing channels enabled companies to niche down and identify a particular demographic of people, to who they want to appeal i.e. their target audience. They could also reach out to more individuals on a global scale.
- Focus on influencer-led marketing: With short-form videos and reels dominating trends throughout 2019 to 2022, the direct selling industry also focused on pushing crisp copies and video content through their direct marketing channels. In these videos, real people explained product benefits and used innovative storytelling techniques to put up skits pushing individuals to buy them. The presence of real people in video storytelling is set to continue in the future.
Why is direct selling the future?
- Demand for personalization: Direct selling checks all the boxes in the growing drive for personalization. They conduct one-on-one meetings with clients and offer their insights to help them make better purchasing decisions. This will create a competitive edge for direct-selling companies in the future, where customers are likely to demand more personalization services.
- Rapid development of technology: One of the key drivers in the growth of direct selling in India is the increasing development of e-commerce and digital platforms in the country. Direct selling companies like Andromeda Loans are already combining their decades-old financial expertise with cutting-edge technology to reach a wider audience, improve their customer experience, and streamline their operations.
- Increasing financial awareness among youngsters: Another factor contributing to the growth of direct selling in India, primarily of financial products, is the rising demand for innovative loan products that cater to the audience’s demands. Since the pandemic has cornered several individuals without a steady income, direct selling promised higher pay and flexible working conditions. The youngsters of tomorrow would also be drawn towards such flexible jobs rather than be tied to an office every day.
- Valued ethics and commitment to improving customers’ lives: A strong code of conduct is the cornerstone of building trust and establishing a connection with the consumers. Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA) members have to adhere to every code listed in their book of Ethics. There are clauses in place to address any violation of the IDSA Code of Ethics. Customers are also becoming more conscious of their environmental impact. If DSA franchises can take social responsibility and align themselves with the values and expectations of consumers, they can increase sales to a great extent.
- Emerging global markets: The world population is rapidly increasing and is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, with a significant number occupying developing countries that have a lot of untapped potential. Direct selling would open avenues of income for these people. And, DSA agents would also be able to identify their target audience among these people and promote their products.
Future of DSA agents in India
In the present working class, individuals between 25 to 30 years of age are no longer shying away from taking control of their finances, like the previous generation. With most people busy handling their professional life, DSA agents continue to be in huge demand. No one has the time to visit the physical branch of an institution. People prefer working with DSA agents, as they take over the majority of the tedious documentation processes and offer advice on choosing the best loan product, considering their income sources and existing assets.
The future of direct selling looks bright, and will only continue to expand more as the middle class becomes conscious of their spending habits and looks for financial assistance. The direct selling industry is expected to expand at a CAGR of 6.1% from 2022 to 2028, as per a report from Grand View Research.
The Indian government has also taken an interest in helping direct-selling companies establish themselves, by providing a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of DSA agents and introducing a grievance redressal mechanism for customers in their Consumer Protection (Direct-Selling) Rules of 2016. This set of guidelines was revised in 2021 with the government strictly forbidding pyramid schemes and multi-level marketing in direct-selling companies. The guidelines and regulations are an effort to increase consumers’ trust in direct-selling companies and to further promote their services in the country.
Overall, the future of DSA agents appears to be secure in the near future. As the industry evolves and the trends shift to adapt to customer preferences and the latest technology, direct-selling agencies will have to focus on personalizing their products, catering to their target audience’s demands, and incorporating the latest technology to stay relevant in the long run.