As digital technology continues to transform the direct selling industry, one area we haven’t placed enough attention is the virtual party. And this isn’t just a party plan company issue. More and more, traditionally MLM companies are also using group events. In my opinion, mastering the virtual party will make a huge difference in a direct selling company’s ability to compete and excel in today’s business environment.
Imagine if you will an ideal online party…people log on from the comfort of their own home (or from the sidelines of their kids’ sporting event, etc.):
- There can be a live demo which is also recorded for those that can’t come at the live time.
- A live-streaming video of the consultant appears so that she can welcome her guests, set the tone, and give her brief presentation.
- Guests sign in with their name and email, and the system feeds that information directly into a database which auto-generates an emailed thank you note to each person that attends and puts that person onto the list to receive the consultant’s newsletter.
- The platform allows our consultant to run polls (and show results to everyone) as well as play games which are pre-programmed, so she just needs to select the game and add a few customizations related to her product line and what she plans to present.
- As she presents each product, the photo of each product appears on the right, along with a link to add that product to the customer’s wishlist or shopping cart. The customer can zoom in on the product, spin it around, etc, just like with any online shopping site. Meanwhile the consultant is explaining the features of the product on her video which is always on screen.
- During her presentation, the consultant can have the company’s opportunity video play for all of the guests at the same time, making the opportunity portion of her presentation easy. “Join Now” and “Get More Information” buttons are available.
- At the end of the presentation, guests can message the consultant privately with any questions while browsing the entire catalog, reviewing their wish lists and placing their party orders.
- Guests can message each other to ask their opinions before making purchases.
- Links to purchase, host a party, and join are readily available on the screen the entire time.
- All of the links and buttons are live whether you are viewing the demo in real time, or viewing the recording.
Some companies within our industry have started adding the technology to support a virtual party. You can add an order to a particular hostesses’ party when shopping online. But we need to go further, because our current technology is simply a glorified catalog party, without the human element that’s so important in our business. Technology companies that want to win the business of direct selling companies need to provide features such as those described above, because these will directly contribute to the success of individual distributors, and the company as a whole.
And having a standard platform that many companies use will make it easier for guests as well. They will know what to expect when attending, and will be able to find things easier. Consultants won’t be so limited by budget and technology to set up an event that doesn’t look amateur. Our consultants are way out in front of us when it comes to these parties. It’s time to give them professional-looking tools to get the job done well.
One last point…sometimes we as an industry worry that something is going to “kill” the direct sales industry as we know it. First it was online ordering and the web. Then it was Facebook. But just as we have learned that these online technologies have not destroyed the business but rather enhanced it, we need to understand that virtual parties are a logical step for our industry. Social tools are enabling our distributors to reach a much wider audience than when they could only focus on their local area. Now we need to give consultants the tools to invite those folks to the party. Virtual parties give people the chance to experience our products in a way that a typical online shopping site never will. That’s the magic of our industry…what the consultant brings to the table. Now we need to use technology to help our consultant give that experience to anyone she touches, no matter where she lives.
Have you offered virtual parties? What would make it easier for you to do so? Which features are you looking for in a virtual party platform? Would love to read your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!