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.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Industry Trends and Direct Sales - Are We Becoming Obsolete?

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Recently I participated in a lively discussion on Facebook. The thread began with a post about Walmart's effect on sales tax revenue in communities where they are located, then shifted to the general impact of big-box and online retailers on locally-owned small businesses (not positive).

One of the participants brought up two good points:
  • Low prices benefit consumers, especially lower income people
  • Major shifts in the retail industry have been going on for years
I countered by asking about the cost of those low prices - the loss of jobs and wealth creation in local communities - then expressed my concerns with the increasing concentration of power and wealth when a few giant corporations become the sole source of most consumer goods people buy.

Here are several articles about the detrimental effects of Walmart, Amazon and retail industry concentration:

Obviously big-box stores and Amazon are not going away anytime soon and will continue to take a larger and larger share of the retail market. More and more mom-and-pop stores will close. Retail chains will shutter locations or go out of business. Once-vibrant Main Streets and suburban shopping malls will become ghost towns.

Ever the pragmatist, I believe the best solution for regular people like us, at least for now, is to strike a reasonable balance between (a) shopping at big-box and online and (b) supporting local small businesses in our community whenever possible - including friends and family in Direct Sales. Obviously the playing field is heavily tilted toward the big guys and it takes extra effort to Shop Local and Shop Small...but it can be done.

I worry, though, that the trend toward big-box and online will be overwhelmingly detrimental to locally-owned businesses and those of us in Direct Sales. I'm concerned that we will be left behind or become increasingly viewed as obsolete -- especially if we don't stop the insane focus on recruiting

Perhaps the idea of person-to-person business (democratized commerce) is a quaint idea from the past, no longer relevant in a world increasingly dominated by innovative and constantly-evolving technology?

Yes, we offer unique value to a certain type of customer, but is it enough? Are there enough of those customers to go around? Is it truly sustainable and scalable? Can we compete against technology, one-stop-shopping convenience and those low, low prices? Are we fighting a losing battle over the long run?

What do you think?  

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