What is Direct Selling?

Direct selling is a popular topic in our modern environment. But what precisely is direct selling, and what makes it such an important role in our society? This page will answer those questions and more about the industry. From examples of direct selling to how direct selling works, learn more below.

What is the Definition of Direct Selling?

As mentioned, direct selling is not a new business model. In fact, it is a time-tested business model that has proven to be successful again and again. By definition, direct selling is a retail channel that funnels products directly to consumers.

The stars of the direct selling industry are independent representatives. These entrepreneurs sell goods directly to consumers outside of a retail environment. This model is beneficial to both the independent representative as well as the consumer.

Many companies utilise the direct selling model because it reduces overhead costs. But the benefits don’t stop there. Direct selling also gives companies more control over how they market their products. And furthermore, the industry provides companies with greater flexibility to react to changes.

Entrepreneurs appreciate that direct selling model for these reasons as well as others. Simply put, direct selling offers a low-risk entry point to business ownership. This is because the model caters to flexibility, training, and mentorship. These are cornerstones of business development, and they are built into the direct selling model.

Further, direct selling is ripe with income-generating opportunities. And contrary to myths surrounding income, it takes hard work. Consumers like convenience, personalised service, and high-quality products.

The model has deep historical roots. Long before retailers became the middlemen between producers and consumers, tradespeople sold and bartered their goods directly to their customers. Later, travelling salespeople provided a direct link between producers and customers. Before this link, these consumers did not have access to markets in the big city.

In 2021, more than 128 million distributors generated US$186 billion in revenue worldwide.

In the mid-20th century, the direct selling model evolved. This effort was largely spearheaded by companies like Tupperware and Mary Kay. These companies empowered their customers to leverage their personal networks. The result was additional earned money by selling products directly to friends, family, and neighbours.

Today, many global companies have adopted the direct selling model. This enables them to effectively distribute a variety of exclusive and premium products. While these products are vast in range, some common categories are:

• health and wellness
• cosmetics and personal care
• jewellery
• home goods
• and much more

And the model is twofold in its success. While consumers get premier access to top-quality products, independent representatives have their own success. Direct selling provides millions of aspiring entrepreneurs with the opportunity to build their own successful businesses.

In today’s day and age, having support on your when starting an independent business is crucial. And with direct selling, it is an advantage that everyone has.

Fighting Disinformation, together.

Awareness, Knowledge, Action.

Unfortunately, day and age also brings a wealth of disinformation along with it. Again, like direct selling, disinformation is not new. But the modern tools available to us have made it easier and more prevalent than ever.

Firstly, it is important to understand what disinformation is. By definition, disinformation is the deliberate spreading of false information. You have certainly seen this occur through mediums such as social media. And when it comes to the various types of direct selling, it is incredibly common.

This is largely because many individuals don’t understand what the industry really is. Or, more to the point, how it operates. The idea that a business model can be so flexible and rewarding leads some to believe it must be a scam. But, this is not the case.

People commonly have doubts about things they don’t understand, this industry is no different. Because of this, we are making it a goal to spread awareness about disinformation. It is not harmful to consumers and to young professionals trying to get their business off the ground.

If you are concerned about information you are reading, we have created a resource to report and discuss. Our goal is to root out disinformation in any way we can, especially when it comes to the direct selling industry.

Fighting Disinformation, with Awareness, Knowledge, and Action


Direct Selling Industry FAQs

According to the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations’ (WFDSA) 2021 Global Sales Report, Direct selling is a $186.1 USD billion industry worldwide that encompasses 128.2 million independent distributors. These independent distributors affiliate with a direct selling company but enjoy the freedom of building a business on their own terms and time. Many join because they love a company’s products or services and want to purchase them at a discount. Others sell to their friends, family and communities and earn commissions on their sales. The most successful entrepreneurs encourage others through support and mentorship to build their own successful businesses.

The direct selling business model is all about reaching out to customers and members with premium, exclusive products that are not generally available through retail stores. Most of these products, both durables and consumables, have features and benefits that have to be explained to the customer, it is not something an individual would directly pick up off a rack. In the case of consumables, the efficacy of the product has to be established to ensure repeat purchase. The success of any direct selling company is reliant on this aspect.

An example is QNET, whose product price is the prerogative of the manufacturer/seller. It may be pertinent to note here that most consumer products have a cost of 30% of MRP and the remaining is distributed over marketing expenses and margins of the wholesaler and retailer. The formula applied by direct selling companies is the same.

Reference: Is It True That Direct Selling Products Are Expensive?

Direct Selling is a great platform to look for an additional source of income or for a full-time business. However, just like any other business, some people succeed, and some don’t. And therein lies the beauty of direct selling: It allows you to work at your own pace, which also explains why the results vary from person to person. Here are seven reasons why some people make money in direct selling (and others don’t):

    • They are focussed
    • They don’t procrastinate
    • They are consistent
    • They take relationships seriously
    • They don’t expect overnight results
    • They don’t overcomplicate the business
    • They have supportive uplines

Reference: 7 Reasons Why People Make Money in Direct Selling

The direct selling industry is serious about protecting its members. That’s why it has regulations in place that also help to create confidence in the market. Direct selling protects its customers and entrepreneurs in two ways: (1) Self regulation through the Code of Ethics and (2) Laws in individual countries. Direct selling rose to popularity in the U.S. from the 1900s onwards. That required an independent body to protect the sector, which led to the formation of the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA). The DSA created the industry’s Code of Ethics to maintain the highest standards for doing business. These ethics cover what direct sellers can and cannot do when it comes to building the business. Today, more than 60 countries have their own direct selling associations. Local DSAs are a crucial part of the industry’s support structure. They act to promote the industry and to build trust and integrity around it.

Reference: Is Direct Selling Legal and Safe?

Our mission

We’re here to educate, empower, and provide readers with the resources and data they need to make an informed decision about the direct selling industry

Drawing from our own experiences as pioneers in the direct selling industry in many emerging markets, QNET is on a mission to educate the public with accurate and factual information about the direct selling industry and address allegations made against QNET in an open and transparent manner.

Establishing credibility is a key tool in a business’ arsenal in the fight against disinformation. An important element of this is being able to communicate data and hard facts that allow readers to cut through the fluff and get to the crux of the message.

QNET is a prominent direct selling company with customers in many parts of the world, including in emerging markets where direct selling is either unknown or still in its nascent stages. This has led to a lot of misinformation about QNET being propagated in the public narrative.

Additional Resources

Report Misinformation about QNET Today

If you are approached by someone with information about QNET that sounds suspicious or inaccurate, please report the disinformation to us with as much detail as possible. If you are being harassed or pressured by someone in the name of QNET, please let us know immediately.