The Direct Selling Industry
An Independent Salesforce Business Model
Direct selling is unique among retail channels because of the way in which products and services are marketed to customers. Instead of relying on traditional retail outlets or online marketplaces, direct selling companies maintain a salesforce of millions of independent workers that added $36 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015. Real estate, insurance, travel and technology companies and well-known brands also rely on independent workers to deliver products and services to consumers. Independent work adds value to those who choose to pursue it, to the economy and to society.
The direct selling channel differs from broader retail in an important way. It isn’t only about getting great products and services into consumers’ hands. It’s also an avenue where entrepreneurial-minded Americans can work independently to build a business with low start-up and overhead costs. Start-up costs for most direct selling companies are a few hundred dollars or less because direct selling isn’t reliant on overhead like real estate, facilities and equipment or traditional advertising that can cost tens- or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.