Business

Virus set to redefine direct selling industry

The pandemic has thrown a challenge to the sector in which human interaction is a necessity. Mohammed Yousuf

The pandemic has thrown a challenge to the sector in which human interaction is a necessity. Mohammed Yousuf   | Photo Credit: Mohammed Yousuf

Workforce of 5 mn faces shift to online

India’s direct selling industry, providing livelihood to about five million people, is reinventing itself to deal with the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

It is trying to achieve a balance between human interactions, which is the bedrock of direct selling and online sales, to overcome the crisis.

Anshu Budhraja, CEO, Amway India, said “While we are expecting a short-term to mid-term impact, we are positive about coming out of this stronger than ever.

“COVID-19 has proved to be a catalyst for a smooth transition of our business from the offline to the online. We foresee continued digital transformations at every level of our operations,” he said.

Efforts to build and strengthen digital capabilities to ensure efficient functioning of the business will continue, he added.

90% transition to online

“Since the lockdown, there has been a significant shift to online ordering from 33.6% in February 2020 to 90% that demanded smart management of orders and tie-up with new vendors for product deliveries at home,” he said.

The firm is hoping to stabilise business in the next 45 days and expects to reach 80-90% of pre-lockdown business by July.

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“We firmly believe that a new consumer will emerge in the post-COVID-19 era, which will drive new business models while setting the foundation for innovative products and services,” he added.

Gautam Bali, MD, Vestige Marketing Pvt. Ltd., said, “At the heart of coping with this crisis is social distancing with everything else becoming secondary. Therefore, human interactions are going to undergo a change, and with it, inter-personal activities are going to get reformed.”

Since the direct selling industry is based on community networking, it will have to overcome this unexpected impediment like no other industry.

“There are over five million people employed and earning livelihoods from this industry in India, and it will be of paramount importance for them to continue doing so despite the disruption caused by the current pandemic,” Mr. Bali said.

“Here, the direct selling industry, being so inextricably human networking based, can not only reinvent itself around this new imperative, but also, blaze a trail for others to follow, especially in the innovative use of technology and human interactions,” he added.

“I am confident that any setback that we face will be temporary and we will pave a new path with determination, innovation and foresight towards a better and more robust times and the direct selling industry will move to greater strength in the months and years ahead,” he added.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 1:57:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/virus-set-to-redefine-direct-selling-industry/article31660283.ece

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