The Indian economy’s success story wouldn’t be the same without a mention of the power of social commerce and how it has transformed its industries and opened new avenues of growth for businesses. The accelerated pace of social media adoption to communicate and engage with consumers has paved the way for innovative channels for marketing and distribution that have favoured the rise of social commerce and is driving business.
This has also marked a turning point for the direct selling industry as digitally empowered entrepreneurs enable the sector to tap into new revenue streams, irrespective of their geographical boundaries. Adapting to the digital age and embracing social media is giving direct sellers the right ammunition to expand their reach beyond the conventional audience, irrespective of their professional experience or how tech-savvy they are.
As a corporate employee, Kolkata resident Saswati Dasgupta often found it difficult to balance her personal and professional commitments when she became a mother. Having aspired to become a successful entrepreneur someday, she decided to tread the path when she got to know about direct selling platforms like Amway. She also saw how well the brand’s range of nutrition and health products could fit into a modern-day family’s lifestyle.
She has been an Amway Direct Seller for over 20 years now and with sheer hard work, has managed to take her venture to newer heights of success. And with the dominance of digital times, she quickly gauged the opportunity to engage with more consumers and prospective direct sellers via social media. “As a software professional, I was well versed with digital tools, but to help me get better acquainted with the know-how of social media and building online communities, Amway organized a few one-on-one sessions while guiding me to become more comfortable in building teams to generate sales and connect with consumers across the country”, says Saswati.
It was only a matter of time before her hard work paid off and her business grew as social media helped her build a community of people with similar interests, leading her to become the successful businesswoman that she always aspired to be and a role for many other women. Today, her community on healthy living on Facebook has over 1000 active members who share the same passion.
For hundreds of direct sellers like Saswati, social platforms are a great help in not just increasing consumer base but also in boosting consumer engagement and connecting with more aspiring entrepreneurs who are as passionate about entrepreneurship as them. And to this context, companies like Amway have made significant strides towards unleashing the power of entrepreneurship through social commerce for go-getters. Furthermore, as an organization that strongly believes in the empowerment of women, Amway has consistently fostered an environment of growth by offering opportunities for women to realize their full potential through its guided entrepreneurship. This is evident from the fact that currently over 60% of Amway’s distributors are women who independently own and operate their direct selling businesses while exploring their passions around fitness, healthy cooking, beauty and adventure through social commerce.
Tapping into the social network
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital adoption among consumer groups at an unprecedented pace with social media becoming a powerful medium of communication, blurring the geographical boundaries to pave the way for new opportunities and grow business.
For Swagatika Chand, social media became an outlet to channel her passion for fitness and run a successful business with Amway. The Bengaluru resident’s Instagram account ‘Milkywaytrails’, is a 1,500-member strong community of followers where she motivates them to stay fit with tips and guidance from her own fitness journey.
Amway had a sharp focus on social commerce much before the pandemic and in line with Amway’s 10-year global growth vision, it had begun integrating offline to online to drive targeted results. The pandemic only acted as a catalyst to further this transformation. And with people spending more time online, Amway distributors in India built online communities around shared interests and passions and found innovative ways to connect and sell products through variety of social formats. In fact, Amway witnessed online sales through its website doubling from 33.6% in February 2020 to over 70% today.
The rising digital adoption, ease of communication through social platforms and the growing popularity of online transactions have bridged gaps between direct sellers and consumers. This is reimagining the direct selling industry and enabling even students, housewives and retired professionals to turn entrepreneurs, gain financial flexibility and contribute to household incomes.
At the same time, social media have been helpful in boosting engagement through entertaining content and letting brands create digital communities across channels. These interactions might be online, but they open-up several opportunities for working on personalized solutions, diversifying with multiple platforms, generating leads and leveraging social media analytics. They might be restricted to their homes, but that doesn’t stop direct sellers from spreading awareness about their products, encouraging their teams and interacting with potential customers, all thanks to social media.
So, be it doling out beauty tips on Instagram reels or hosting exercise sessions on Facebook live, social media is creating a level-playing field for small entrepreneurs to push their boundaries and make strides. In this context, as a company that invests heavily in training and upskilling its distributors, Amway’s ‘Creators’ programme is another platform that provides its distributors the digital skills that they need to build and grow their business through social commerce. The core focus of the programme is to groom its distributors for social selling as an increasing number of customers are taking buying decisions online. With an increasing number of consumers on social platforms preferring to purchase from people they know, the creator-led communities act as ambassadors to build trust and scale while also driving sales.
Plus, direct selling is serving as a way out of the economic gloom that the pandemic has left behind. Losing a job and being forced to stay at home might be a heavy blow for any professional, but the digital transformation of direct selling platforms like Amway has emerged as a suitable solution for anyone seeking a career alternative or supplemental income during the pandemic.
Amway India has moved from strength to strength to equip its distributors with relevant capabilities, so that they keep up with the changing times. These efforts have been instrumental in making it easier for entrepreneurs to run their businesses, despite the crisis.
As companies like Amway embrace unleash the power of social platforms to support growth, the direct selling industry is headed towards an exciting future that features the best of both the worlds.