As we now deal with lockdown three, we are having to develop resilience, flexibility and patience like never before. So how, amidst all the uncertainty, can we set ourselves up for success in what is likely to be another very unpredictable year?
It goes without saying that our health has to be our number one priority, and that has been reflected in the sale of Forever’s products which grew by 25% in the UK and Ireland in the six months between March and September. And as concerns about jobs post furlough rise, increasing numbers are simply not prepared to see what happens and are instead seeking to take control of their own destinies with sign-ups increasing by 60% over that same period the previous year.
Digital transformation has enabled people to reach more people, access more training, serve more customers and build teams without geographical constraints. We are working more efficiently and smarter than ever as circumstances have forced us all to adapt. One report suggested that we saw the equivalent of four years of digital transformation in the space of three months at the start of lockdown.
There has perhaps never been a better time to start a Forever business as we quite simply will not return to the old ways of working.
Director General of the DSA UK, Susannah Schofield says “It is clear that consumers are looking to alternative channels of retail following the closure of more traditional outlets.” The sector contributes £2.67billion to the UK economy each year, and over half a million people are involved in the industry. Susannah predicts that sales will remain higher than pre-Covid levels as more people turn to direct selling to supplement their incomes.
With the transition to exclusively online events, and access to training opportunities to developing skills and knowledge, it has never been easier to get started; allowing flexibility and opportunity wherever you live. And existing Forever Business Owners are finding that by delivering product launches virtually, their productivity has increased significantly as they work more efficiently. For some it has been the digital push that was needed, and many report confidence in their new found digital skills.
Natalie Berg, a retail analyst said, “The direct selling channel is one of the few bright spots in retail right now. But how does a model based on human interaction adapt to today’s challenge of social distancing?”
Natalie hosted a DSA roundtable discussion recently with Susannah Schofield and some DSA member companies where the key takeaways from the conversation were around agility and community.
Agility: direct selling is an inherently nimble, low-risk channel. When the pandemic hit, at-home demonstrations and shopping parties quickly went virtual. The sector believes this blended experience will stick post-COVID as online and offline worlds continue to merge.
Community: The discussion focused on the importance of selling an experience, not a product. Building a community and fostering a sense of belonging will be vital for brands as we move into 2021. COVID has reinforced the importance of strengthening this in a digital setting - an active online community that swaps ideas, and advice will garner greater loyalty in the physical world.
You can watch the full discussion here