Not your mother’s Tupperware: The influence of social selling on today’s consumer buying behavior.
If you’ve ever attended the modern-day equivalent of a ’60s Tupperware party (think Pampered Chef, PartyLite, Thirty One, Premiere — the list goes on and on), you’ve undoubtedly experienced first-hand a tried and true form of marketing known to influence consumer buying behavior. While I have to admit, I’ve collected my fair share of various housewares, candles, make-up and jewelry that I didn’t really need, I never felt a hint of buyer’s remorse when I made those purchases. Being surrounded by friends, sharing some wine, refreshments and good conversation, there is no better environment to open your mind and your wallet to what a sales representative has to offer.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of an in-home direct selling party, it basically involves a sales representative coming to the home of a host or hostess to showcase or demonstrate products to guests (friends and family) that the host has invited to the event. Typically the host will receive a gift or discount in return, and the sales representative will receive some type of commission or free product from the company based on total sales. Those who attend are often encouraged to host a party of their own or even become a representative for the company.
I know there are people out there who may disagree with the effectiveness of this type of marketing, feel it’s outdated, or who have felt buyer’s remorse after attending a party, but there is plenty of evidence showing that social sharing and word of mouth affect consumer buying behavior and sometimes even brand loyalty. The success of brands that rely on this type of commerce is proof.
Even though the in-home selling industry has evolved over the years, it is essentially an early form of social networking. The success of a party relies on the host reaching out to his or her network of friends, family or acquaintances who have common interests, tastes or beliefs that motivate them to buy. Once those people are exposed to the product or brand, they will frequently share their experience with others they know, continuing the sales cycle and growing the network. Adapting this format online is an obvious extension that has enabled many companies to capitalize on existing social networks and potentially influence consumer buying behavior through a variety of social platforms. Just a few examples include:
Do you see the traditional format of direct sales parties influencing consumer buying behavior well into the future? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.