In the 1980's a direct sales company, Yurika Foods, introduced the concept of a "Local Distribution Center" or LDC. A distributor would dedicate space in their home, or rent a storefront, stocking the company's products for customers and distributors within driving distance to purchase for themselves and their families. The centers also served as venues for product demonstration, customer education, distributor training, networking and related business events.
Granted, those were the days before the Internet, fax machines and online commerce, but perhaps LDCs are an idea whose time has come again.
As energy costs continue to rise, so will the cost of shipping. As we discussed in Snack Bar Sticker Shock, shipping and handling (S&H) fees add a lot to orders, especially smaller ones. Retail stores are more competitive because they don't charge S&H fees. Customers may think twice about buying from us when S&H adds $10 or $15 to the cost of each order.
In populated areas it may make sense to have an LDC for customers and other distributors to walk in and purchase their products. The company would support the distributor who takes on the cost and risk of stocking the LDC by offering free shipping for bulk purchases, provide guidance on which products are most frequently ordered by customers and distributors in the area, simple order tracking and volume transfer software, etc.
An LDC could be much more than a local "company store." Distributors can meet customers in person and get to know and serve them better. The LDC could become a community hub for demonstrations, training, networking, classes and other types of activities that make sense for the customers, distributors and company.
The LDC concept fits in perfectly with causes such as Buy Local, Shop Small and the Sharing Economy. It also allows the distributor to build relationships and raise awareness of the direct sales company and products to people in the area.
Despite technology drastically shortening the time of online ordering and home delivery, it still costs money. People crave real human interaction, and an LDC enhances the people-helping-people, human touch advantage of our industry because there is someone to talk to, ask questions and have fun working with.
Our industry is all about bringing people together in relationship and community. Perhaps LDCs are an idea whose time has come again?
What This Blog Is About
What This Blog Is About
Most web sites and blogs about Direct Sales / Network Marketing / MLM focus overwhelmingly on the negative - what's wrong with it, bad experiences, scams, etc. This blog is different. While we discuss the Three Fatal Flaws and other problems with current industry practices, our focus is on positive and pragmatic SOLUTIONS.
Our Vision: To reform and transform this noble and time-tested industry into a positive force for good that powerfully and effectively serves and supports the best and highest good of people, community and planet.