Direct selling is a big and growing industry with $40.5 billion in sales last year. An estimated 6.7 million have been earning their paychecks selling directly. Most direct sellers and consumers are women (75%), and wellness and personal care products are some of the top sellers in the market. In other words, this is a great time to be a direct seller. And it’s also a great time to get direct selling support to help you build and grow your business!
What Is Direct Selling?
Historically, direct sellers depended on face-to-face interactions to build relationships. Today, many of the opportunities have moved online. This business model encourages entrepreneurs who want to provide for themselves and their families without being confined to a brick-and-mortar retail location.
While this model can simplify some aspects of running a business, it can add challenges, especially when it comes to fulfillment.
How Fulfillment Provides Direct Selling Support
The right fulfillment partner can help you scale growth as sales ramp up during various seasons and prepare for potential droughts between those spikes. To provide the direct selling support your company needs, you must choose a fulfillment partner that understands direct selling models and how they succeed.
One key requirement for your direct selling support includes scalable infrastructure. It’s tempting to save money wherever you can in any business. Unfortunately, this is where the adage, “a penny wise but a pound foolish” comes from. Watching only those pennies can set you up for a big mistake that can cost you big in the future if your fulfillment partner isn’t set up for the ups and downs in your business.
For instance, a buy-one, get-one-free marketing promotion or a new subscription service could lead to a nice bump. The right celebrity being seen using your product in a social media post could cause a viral sensation. Your product being mentioned by a third party as one of the best products to try for the year may also increase sales. Or your new product launch may be exactly what people have been searching for, leading to long-term or exponential growth. Yay!
Unless, that is, you don’t have the right fulfillment partner in place, and orders are lost, products are delayed, or customers feel like you just don’t care. Good direct selling support can mitigate these problems.
Here are a few things to look for to ensure your partner can scale with you—through big spikes or unfortunate downturns.
- Multiple locations across the country can reduce the cost of transportation and decrease delivery times.
- Warehouse expertise is a strong way to support your direct selling. A well-run warehouse with continuous improvements to warehouse layout, processes, automation, and more can cut time and labor costs and quickly scale for changing order volumes. Expertise can also help you build better kits and save costs on packaging and postage.
- Money-saving options, such as decreases in postage and shipping costs, as the 3PL has developed relationships and negotiated rates with several couriers for all of their customers. Because postage can be such a big fulfillment expense, the right 3PL may be able to deliver savings right to your bottom line.
- Cross-training within a multi-client warehouse so staff can seamlessly move from one account to the next as various companies experience changes in volume without interrupting sales and service for your customers.
- Accuracy is vital when it comes to delighting your customers. With every package delivered, you have the opportunity to make an impact and build brand loyalty. Providing the right product helps prevent returns. Plus, with custom packaging, your brand can stand out from a crowded field.
- Dedicated account management can help you navigate the highly complex aspects of logistics and fulfillment. Most fulfillment services only provide a one-size-fits-all program that may not fit your company at all. QuickBox offers a different, personalized partnership that works with you as you grow, providing true white-glove client services.
- Full real-time visibility throughout the order process from the moment your customer hits the buy button until the product is safely delivered to their doorstep. You also want to be able to easily see inventory levels and be able to customize your dashboard to view what’s most important to you.
Fulfillment needs vary per customer. That’s why you need a fulfillment partner that can adjust to your changing business, inventory fluctuations, sales spikes (and troughs), and packaging that differentiates you and your brand.
Contact QuickBox today to discover how we can provide direct selling support for you and your company.