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July 01, 2017

Publisher's Note

Looking to the Future

by Lauren Lawley Head

During the past few months, the team at Direct Selling News has been examining the trends shaping the future of direct selling. You saw the first phase of that work in last month’s edition, which unveiled the 2017 Global 100 list of the largest direct selling companies in the world and analyzed the results of that research project. In this month’s edition, we continue the effort with writer Courtney Roush’s cover story on the consumer trends impacting the channel, as well as take you inside the U.S. Direct Selling Association’s annual meeting for a look at the leadership changes, policy initiatives and research work happening there.

Technology, of course, is a key driver of change on all fronts. It is changing the way all of us communicate, conduct business, make purchases and even relate to one another. Savvy direct selling companies are investing heavily in understanding these changes and adapting their business model to keep pace. LegalShield CEO Jeff Bell offered this call to action in his interview with Roush: “We must put technology at the center of everything we do. It must be in our presentation, our client service, and our business management. We must do more for our distributors than Uber does for their drivers.” 

Innovation extends beyond the implementation of new technology, and you will see this in action in all three of the feature stories on direct selling companies in this month’s edition. The Company Spotlight on Viridian International beginning on Page 38, for example, explores how a new corporate structure can reshape a brand. A year after its acquisition, the new team at Viridian is focused on expanding the salesforce, product line and geographic reach. At California-based Youngevity, featured in the Company Focus story beginning on Page 50, a strategy of acquiring smaller companies has been driving a product line evolution that now spans six retail categories. And at WineShop At Home, featured in a story beginning on Page 64, executives have been focused on transforming the business while remaining committed to the traditional strengths of direct selling: personal touch. In this case, the personal connection between the corporate office and the sales field has been critical to success, says President and CEO Jane Creed, because it fostered trust and belief in the brand and the team. “We were ready to walk through the fire and make it happen, and that’s what we did.” 

Where will direct selling take you and your company next? We hope that the stories in this edition provide inspiration and practical tips to help you shape a positive future.

All the best,