Friday, May 29, 2020

How is direct selling without social contact

As the name of the activity says, "direct selling", until recently also called "door-to-door", assumed direct contact between consultants / resellers and their customers. A classic in Brazilian retail, especially in the cosmetics sector, where brands such as Natura, Avon, O Boticário and Mary Kay operate, direct sales, however, were also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and social isolation guidelines, but has sought ways to maintain activities.
According to the Brazilian Association of Direct Selling Companies (ABEVD), the country occupies the 6th global position in the sector, having moved R$ 45 billion in 2019, representing growth of 1% over 2018. For this year, the entity does not risk making a prediction, but its executive president, Adriana Colloca, points out that the activity is a job opportunity and income for four million people in all corners of Brazil.
"Like the entire economy, direct selling suffered business impacts in April and May. But the industry was very quick to adjust and use social media, websites and apps to continue the sales pace," says Adriana. She also says she has a perception that the demand for activity by those who want to undertake or have a source of income has increased.
"The difficulty of entering the labor market makes direct sales one of the most important sources of income for women in the CDE classes," said Breno Barlach, director of research and innovation at the consultancy Plano CDE. The researcher explains that women in this social extract are less employed than men CDE and women in classes AB for two reasons. The first is that there are no jobs in their neighborhoods, further away from the centers, and without jobs and with low incomes they have to take care of their children. The second reason is that all of their acquaintances are from the same neighborhood, with the same schooling and similar life trajectories. With this, they do not have access to a "networking" capable of indicating them other opportunities.
Even before the pandemic, digitization was already a trend in the sector, due to the evolution of society itself. After all, technology reaches the highest socioeconomic classes faster, but it also unfolds over time to others and influences the habits of the entire population. "We have already been encouraging the use of digital tools for the dissemination and sale of products. Direct selling has to keep up with trends in relationships in general. If relationships are increasingly digital, direct selling follows this path", points out Adriana, from ABEVD, for whom the sales force of these companies also helps that personal care items reach people's homes, through a delivery system without contagion and without circumventing the rules of isolation, since products have been delivered by the companies themselves.
Study of the association conducted in the first months of 2020, pointed to WhatsApp, websites and social media as the main means of sales and dissemination of products of this sales force. In the survey, Adriana says, 84.7% elected WhatsApp as the main channel for sales and dissemination of products.
"Really, scanning is inevitable. The business model of these companies does not stop without this innovation", analyzes Breno Barlach, of plano CDE. But for the researcher, in the context of the pandemic and isolation, there are two sides of the coin to be seen.
According to him, on the one hand, internet sales (he confirms that at the base of the pyramid, this means practically talking about WhatsApp) have become the only way to sell for many women and since most cosmetic retailers have their friends as main customers, such sales are relatively simple to be scanned via WhatsApp. "On the other hand, just as we see what's happening in the remote education offering, there's a huge gap in digital literacy," Breno said. This means, in the case of small resellers, with lower income and education, that there may be difficulties, for example, in buying on the brand's website or knowing how to access new customers through the digital environment.
Present for some time in the Brazilian market, The American Mary Kay also highlights the "totally new" scenario for all sectors and says she is "working day and night" to seek tools to continue supporting the business of thousands of women who constitute its independent sales force, to reduce the impacts caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
Rosana Bonazzi, vice president of sales of the company in Brazil, says that among the initiatives are the extension of promotions, review of requirements for programs and campaigns, intensification of online content, exemption from the subscription value of My Site Mary Kay Plus, where they can receive orders online, and the delivery of materials to support the dynamics of beauty consulting in a virtual way.
"We can already see that Independent Beauty Consultants have learned that they can be together with their clients virtually, not only to sell, but to support them even emotionally, that's the Mary Kay way. We are offering virtual tools for them to perform virtual beauty sessions. It's also an opportunity to share the importance of self-love, self-care, and how wonderful it can be to learn to take care of yourself and put on makeup without leaving home," says Rosana Bonazzi.
Although she says that the current context will certainly accelerate the process of digitizing direct sales, the executive says it is too early to scale this growth, but shows optimism: "We offer a business with an independent career plan that gives opportunity to every woman, and with unlimited results that only depend on her. Mary Kay is a great opportunity for this moment, both for people to start a new business, with a low investment, or even to supplement their income."
The researcher of the CDE Plan already recommends caution to the segment. For him, after the pandemic, the activity will probably resume the role of income complement. The problem is that the duration of the pandemic is unknown and the income of many retailers can fall dramatically, having impacts on household indebtedness and brands. "The resumption of the sector depends on that there are enough resellers left in three, four months, with investment capacity (purchase of products for resale). Brands should pay attention to this", warns Bruno Barlach.
According to ABEVD, in 2019, more than two billion items (in products and services) were sold by direct sale in Brazil. The categories with the most adherence are cosmetics and personal care (54.7%); clothing (8%); accessories (7.9%); home care (6.5%); healthy food or supplements (4.3%); telephony, internet, pay TV (3.7%); books, toys, CD, DVD, software, games (3.4%); home renovation services (3.3%); household items (3.1%); financial products (2.8%) and wines and frozen food (2.3%).
Meio&Mensagem - 29/05/2020 News Item translated automatically
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