Direct selling is a channel that is characterised by requiring personal contact through networking, and it is locally referred to as a “people business”. However, this business is increasingly migrating towards opening other channels by expanding into customer service points in notable shopping centres, and digitising catalogues to send to customers though mobile devices so they can make purchases through social networks.
Expectations for the national market to regain a good growth rate after very modest results and uncertainties, is leading direct sellers to resume their expansion plans, such as expanding their infrastructure, transfer of operations and the opening of new facilities. Likewise, they have been recovering and reopening manufacturing plants that had been closed to increase the production capacity of different products.
Networking continues to gain strength as a strategy amongst different industries in the country. However, global network marketing platforms continue to be exploited by fraudulent schemes where the Superintendence of Corporations has intervened to stop companies or individuals that present themselves as legitimate direct sellers.
There is the possibility of unfair competition in all channels, due to their informality, lack of regulation or the presence of illegal players. For almost a decade, direct selling in Colombia has regulations that facilitate the control and formality of its players, looking to have free competition and avoid fraudulent schemes.
Having close contact with consumers in direct selling is expanding to be more than simply a contact network where agents visit customers with their catalogues; instead, consumers can now obtain the products they want, when they want. Therefore, points of sale such as Amway Shop and Esika are increasingly opening in shopping centres or strategic areas of cities.
Expectations that the Colombian economy will recover is attracting new players to direct selling. Among them stands out the arrival of Youngevity, which seeks to enter strongly in intermediate cities with its jewellery line to expand later with other products within its portfolio.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Retailing market research database.