I hate that I have to write about this. I hate that companies do this. But it’s real, it’s scary, and choosing to build your network marketing business with a company that sells through other channels is going to hurt your business.
The latest company to go down this road is BeautyCounter (read press release here). I have several friends that are BeautyCounter reps and I’ve seen them embracing this partnership between BeautyCounter and Target. I’ve seen them even advertising this union on their social media! The social media channels that should be reserved for talking about THEIR business. OMG…
If you’re sitting there wondering what the big deal is, let’s chat.
If I am a BeautyCounter devotee, and I am a loyal customer of a BeautyCounter rep, but I see the BeautyCounter branded face wash at Target, I’m probably going to pick it up. It saves me from having to order and wait for my product. It saves me shipping. And, to be honest, I’m probably going to grab the face lotion as well. I have become brand loyal, and I don’t realize that by buying this product on my weekly Target run instead of from my BeautyCounter rep, I have taken money out of her pocket and put it directly into corporate’s coffers. Most people will not realize that this is harmful to their friend that is working tirelessly to build a BeautyCounter business of her own. And even if people do realize it, the availability and ease with which they can get it from Target is going to override the hassle of ordering online or directly through a BeautyCounter rep.
Tyra Beauty is another company that has gone down the direct sales road as well as the Home Shopping Network road. I’ve actually found some products bundled for HSN at a different price than I could get from my rep. How is the rep supposed to make a living? And how is someone just getting introduced to a product or brand supposed to know which way to purchase? They are going to purchase the way that is the cheapest and easiest. And if I see a deal on tv, I’m probably not going to call up my rep to find out if they have the same deal or they can do better than the deal on tv. Nope, not going to happen, cos they only have a certain number of deals available, so I better order right this minute.
I’m sure this happens in other MLM niches, but I see it in the beauty arena because I run a beauty based network marketing company.
Regardless of which company you are with that goes down this road, in the end, reps are going to have a really hard time competing with corporate. Corporate has advertising budgets that are unrealistic for the average rep. Reps are limited by their presenter agreements as to how they can advertise. Corporate is obviously not limited by the same restrictions they put on their reps.
My advice? If you are looking to get into a network marketing company, make sure the company has said they will never sell any other way than direct sales. Make sure they do not allow sales displays in other businesses (a la Rodan + Fields). Make sure you are protecting yourself and your future business. If you are already in a network marketing company that is doing this, depending on how successful you are and how long you have been with the company, I would seriously look into other companies.