As part of my consulting work, I often sit in meetings with direct selling companies where at least one person at the table is from Generation Y. And almost without exception, that young person confides at some point during the meeting that they would never host a direct selling party with their friends. It doesn’t matter the company, the product line, or the part of the country, the attitude is always the same.
Does this shock you? It should. And it’s indicative of a massive shift that’s occurring right under our noses.
Right now business as usual is probably going to be OK because our target market is slightly older than Gen Y. But they’re coming. Within 10 years they are going to be our main target market. Maybe some of them will “come around” as they move out of their parents’ houses and buy their own, but can we bank on that? That MAYBE they will change their attitude about the party?
And so our industry is going to have to do something we traditionally find difficult. We are going to have to be nimble. We are going to have to reimagine the shopping experience. Because “business as usual” is only going to take us so far in this rapidly changing environment.
Some companies are already starting to go down this path. Stella & Dot, for example, no longer has a formal presentation. Instead, they simply put out the jewelry and let people try it on. The stylist highlights features more socially than formally as people interact with the product. Other companies need to follow suit.
I recommended to the Direct Selling Association that they include a session on this topic at Annual Meeting, and I’m pleased to see that they have taken that recommendation. It’s incredibly important that we all take a step back and look at our parties. Even if we offer our party in different “flavors,” so to speak, to appeal to different generations, we must go down the path of becoming more social and less formal.
Are you associated with a party plan company? Do you find that members of Generation Y are interested in hosting? Has your company done anything to reimagine the party? What? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.
image credit: Cassandra Kinaviaq Rae