Smartphones, tablets and similar devices are redefining the term direct selling. Many direct sellers have already adopted mobile technologies that enhance distributor support and customer acquisition and retention.
Custom clothier J.Hilburn offers its style consultants a Style Kit iPad App featuring a “full catalog, individual client profiles, the ability to create style boards, and access to up-to-date stock information.” ViSalus enables iPhone, Android or Blackberry users to “promote the Body by Vi™ Challenge, access and manage your business on-the-go, shop, and enroll others” through its Vi-Net Mobile App. These are just a couple of many direct selling companies integrating mobile strategies.
In an article titled “Tap-To-Pay Smartphones: The Coming Near Field Communications Tsunami,” Forbes recently featured an evolving technology that could soon deliver a literal payoff to mobile-minded companies. Near Field Communication or NFC is the hardware component that enables smartphones to process tap-to-pay transactions. The author asserts the likelihood that Apple will soon include NFC functionality in its iPhone, sparking third-party developers to create apps that increase the capabilities of a mobile wallet.
Mobile technologies have already enhanced direct selling’s inherently social business model. As tech companies offer consumers increasing ease in mobile transactions, they also offer direct sellers a wide-open space to innovate in helping their distributors build better businesses.