Multi-Level Marketing and E-Commerce Online: Underpricing Product, Online Selling and Recruitment?Janette Toral
Ever since I launched the E-Commerce Boot Camp and Digital Influencer Boot Camp, got to meet more folks in the multi-level marketing space who would like to learn how they can use digital marketing and e-commerce to be effective in conducting business online.
I think the usual pitch on a face-to-face basis is usually not taken well when conducted online – especially when done via social media. Even the face-to-face ones do not work – if the person doing the pitch was more focused on selling and recruitment – rather than striving in building a relationship and show empathy to their prospective recruit or customer.
The last MLM I joined was to support a trusted friend and try the products he is selling (picked the one under the category of weight loss), rather than build my network. At that time, I decided, if I like the product, then I wouldn’t mind promoting and selling that specific item for others to try out. Based on research, the product brand was also prominent so I guess it won’t hurt to try it out.
My product experience did not go well though, as the product taste didn’t suit me. Found myself stuck with monthly deliveries that I can’t consume anymore. Had to stop it after 3 months and it was a bit of a long process done via email to their representative office here.
Before this MLM, I had engaged in direct selling mostly under the category of beauty, lifestyle, and garment-related products.
Looking at how MLM folks pitch online, I notice that the following is done by those in the health category segment:
1. Earning potential
The first minute of a discussion with an MLM person immediately zooms in on the earning potential. This includes how much money can you make from recruits, overriding commissions, rebates, and other benefits.
They will also show pictures of check payments received, cars and properties bought travel and lifestyle change.
It would usually show also how their life has changed from what they were before to what they are now.
2. Product quality
Most MLM sellers would assert how ground-breaking or how their products have to save lives. Some will mention the identities of persons who got saved or benefited from the product.
Although from my understanding, most of these would fall under the category of “no approved therapeutic claims“.
Why it doesn’t work?
1. Unknown product and user
If it is your first time learning about the product, especially anything that is meant for intake, we are wary as messing around with our health is something that most of us won’t take for granted.
Even if the seller claims using it and has benefited, if you hardly know the person, likely, you won’t believe it 100%. Unless you know the person before and have seen the transformation.
2. Unable to assert product knowledge or product segment authority
I think a product seller must know a product so well and how it fares better than known brands available in the market.
If it is a multivitamin product, then why would I let go of my current brand? Unless you can show me a side-by-side comparison of why it is better.
One must observe how prominent brands are marketing their product and should be able to provide an answer to the question, “why is your product better?” If a specific direct-to-the-point answer can’t be given, then it will be tough.
3. The motivation to make money online and offline.
Almost everyone wants to earn something extra. But if we can earn from a product or service we truly believe in. Have tried it ourselves and it served us well, the natural inclination to refer it to others, and if better, earn from it, will come.
Is MLM sustainable online?
To build a sustainable MLM business online, I think sellers should note the following:
1. Start with tried and tested credible products to build your identity on.
If you can go for household-recognized brands, the better. This way, you will be looking for customers who may have tried the product before and lost contact with their original supplier and wants to try it again.
Another way is to add established products to which your product item fits in for familiarity and “brand grouping” building.
2. Add new products to your inventory.
Invest in trying new products (and even the established competing products) and see if they will work well for you.
Always think like a consumer when trying out new products. Be critical especially if there are other established products in the market.
If this is too tedious, ask your customers what have they been buying and consider their product preference to your inventory.
3. Invest in knowledge.
Allot a chunk of your time in watching or listening to health-related programs, reading relevant articles, and attending workshops.
The more you know, the more you will be able to communicate effectively with your customers. Furthermore, connect the dots on how your product or service can fulfill a need in this space.
3. Write and share stories.
With so many MLM sellers online, I think the ones who will stand out are good storytellers, not pitchers.
They will focus on stories that customers would like to learn and hear more about – not necessarily about the product. This includes practical healthy living tips, sports activities, consumer warnings, and new products or services, among others.
You can use your blog and social media presence in this regard and start exerting authority on the subject. Remember that you are what you sell. Be real and authentic when sharing your stories. Link to credible sources for further learning rather than assert a “know-all” imagery.
4. Provide a point of purchase.
Ensure as well to show product seals stating that your product is BFAD-registered and approved to be distributed in the Philippines.
5. Catch underpricing culprits
Managing an inventory system for online selling requires keeping track of all the products you sell, monitoring their stock levels, and ensuring that you have enough inventory to meet customer demand. There is various software to help you organize your inventory to fulfill orders efficiently and set up automated alerts for low stock levels.
An issue often complained about is underpricing and not being able to identify the culprits behind it. To track where your products go especially if you have various distribution outlets, you can use a barcode or QR code system for tracking and recording their movement. If done well, you will be able to find out the source of underpriced products. You can contact your e-commerce marketplace account manager as well on how to properly register your brand and approve reseller listing.
If you have an e-commerce website or e-commerce marketplace integration software, an option is to utilize it as your cross-e-commerce-platform inventory management system. That way, your online inventory is updated across various e-commerce marketplaces.
Will you be the “one”?
The more real you are, the more trustworthy you will become. Sooner or later, you don’t have to sell anymore as people will turn to you for practical advice and trust the products you will recommend for purchase (whether they can get it from you or elsewhere).
I still have to meet this kind of MLM digital personality. Who knows? That could be you.