The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations kicked off its 14th triennial World Congress Nov. 10 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As the first order of official business, the WFDSA’s CEO Council elected Amway President Doug DeVos as Chairman to succeed Natura’s Alessandro Carlucci.
DeVos will begin his three-year term as chairman at the close of the event. He has pledged to continue to support the organization’s long-range plan, which encompasses four key objectives: improve processes and structures of direct selling associations and the World Federation; promote alignment of direct selling companies; promote ethics, and strengthen direct selling’s image.
During a joint press conference, Carlucci and DeVos highlighted the WFDSA’s recent research report, which found direct selling generated more than $178.5 billion in retail sales globally in 2013. The World Congress host country was the world’s fifth-largest direct selling market last year, with retail sales of nearly $14.2 billion, a 7.2 percent increase from the prior year.
They also discussed the theme of the 2014 World Congress, “Direct Selling: the Original Social Network.” It is a crucial topic to tackle, Carlucci said, because customers continue to dramatically change the way in which they prefer to buy products and services, using technology more and more. If handled correctly, this offers a huge opportunity for direct selling companies.
“It is not Natura or Amway selling a product, it is more than that,” he said. “It is someone that has a name and a surname from each one of these companies who is recommending a product. They are saying, ‘Look, this product is very good. I use it or I have some clients that are using it.’ This is very contemporary, when we think about what is happening in social media where we are relying much more on the number of stars or referrals from our friends … than in advertising.”
The theme will carry through much of the World Congress programming, including a presentation by Facebook Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions, Dan Levy, on the start of day two. The event also features sessions and workshops entitled, “New Generations: Enchanting Consumers through Innovative Relationships” and “Direct Selling: Social Engagement and Mobilization.”