Direct and different

The benefits received by those who participate in Direct Selling has made this industry much more popular over the years now. Direct Selling not only entail a great way to meet new people, but also provide an extremely flexible schedule. We grasped a few
Chavi Hemanth

The benefits received by those who participate in Direct Selling has made this industry much more popular over the years now. Direct Selling not only entail a great way to meet new people, but also provide an extremely flexible schedule. We grasped a few interesting things pertaining to Direct Selling in the country as we chatted with Chavi Hemanth, Secretary General, Indian Direct Selling Association.

 

Vrinda Oberai (VO): How does Direct Selling ensure that the customers are convinced of the products’ quality? What encourages customers to prefer products via Direct Selling over retail outlets?

Chavi Hemanth (CH): The concept of direct selling is centered on personal interactions between sales consultants and potential customers. It is through these interactions that customers are demonstrated the product and can test them prior to purchase which ensures that they are relatively more convinced about the quality of the product compared to purchases through retail channels. In addition, customers are also encouraged by the relationship developed with the sales consultants who they might share social circles with. It is the trust built in these relationships that encourages customers to continue purchasing products.

 

VO: How would you categorize the companies which usually go in for Direct Selling? What remains to be the driving force?

CH: Typically, companies that sell differentiated products with multiple features and require a high level of customer involvement to make sales, focus on direct selling as a channel to sell their products. It is the differentiated nature and multiple features that necessitate higher customer involvement.

 

VO: What is the role that Direct Selling is playing in the retail industry today and what is the future, in your opinion, 2 years down the line?

 

CH: The direct selling channel is a part of the overall retail industry which represents a different way of reaching out to customers whereby sales are made through personal and familiar interactions between sales consultants and potential customers. In the future, companies focusing on this channel are expected to invest more towards driving that philosophy by increasing the width and depth of their sales consultant networks.

 

VO: Why, in your opinion, isn’t North India that active as compared to Southern and North Eastern parts of the country when it comes to ‘Direct Selling’?

 

CH: South India continues to be the key hub of activity for Direct Selling companies, closely followed by West India. The southern region contributes 32% of the total revenues for IDSA member companies. This continued dominance for the second year can be attributed due to:

 

• The presence of a strong base of independent sales consultants combined with high awareness levels of the direct selling concept in this region.

 

• Most new companies entering the Indian direct selling space see this region as the ideal launch pad to begin operations in India.

 

VO: What is the main role played by IDSA in promoting the concept of ‘Direct selling’ in the prevalent times?

CH: The Indian Direct Selling Association IDSA is an autonomous, self-regulatory body championing the cause of direct selling industry in India. The Association acts as an interface between the industry and policy-making bodies of the Government facilitating the cause of Direct Selling Industry in India.

 

IDSA strives to create and further an environment conducive to the growth of direct selling industry in India, partnering industry and government.

 

Role Played by IDSA

• Doing Knowledge forum once every quarter across the country in different cities.

• Releasing Direct Selling Annual Survey In association with Ernst & Young Every year.

• Reinforcing and further Self Employment, Women Empowerment through the member companies of the association.

• Maintaining Model Code of Ethics and to ensure that members comply with that code.

• Presenting the views of members to Government and to the general public.

• Working towards providing a platform to all direct selling companies operating in

India and selecting these companies based on standards provided by WFDSA.

• Distinguishing legitimate business models from pyramid schemes.

• Working along with the Code Administrator for consumer complaints if any.

 

Chavi Hemanth
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