The direct selling distribution channel delivers an increasingly wide spectrum of products and services. Whether offering mobile service, lipstick, life insurance, energy drinks or home security, companies have found success in the person-to-person model. In parts of Africa, the direct selling channel is flexing its marketing muscle in another form—as a means to bring economic empowerment and essential, life-changing products to remote areas.
At Fast Company, Co.Exist contributor Michael J. Coren shares how a growing number of organizations are bringing products and services to often off-the-grid locations through a salesforce he calls the “Avon ladies of Africa.”
Barefoot Power, VisionSpring, Solar Sister and similar organizations are providing solar technology, affordable phone-charging products, stoves, eyeglasses and other products specifically targeted to improve quality of life among low-income populations. At the same time, these companies bring economic opportunity to the individuals that take their products the proverbial last mile—or in this case, many miles—to the homes of their consumers.
Coren highlights The Paradigm Project, which has topped $3.5 million in sales over the last 18 months through a team of about 25 sellers in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Rwanda as well as a U.S.-based corporate staff. Paradigm and its fellow pioneers are working to refine the distribution model for greater profitability, building upon one of direct selling’s greatest strengths—plenty of room for innovation.
Read the full story from Co.Exist.