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                          Last updated: 07 May, 2021  

                          Qnet.9.thmb.jpg Direct selling industry has potential to grow exponentially: QNet Ltd. Regional Director

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                          SME Times News Bureau | 07 May, 2021

                          In an exclusive interview with SME Times, Rishi Chandiok, Regional Director (South Asia), QNet Ltd., an e-commerce enabled direct selling company, said that the Indian direct selling industry has the potential to grow exponentially.

                          1. Please tell our readers about QNET India and how it provides an opportunity to become an entrepreneur?

                          QNET is an international e-commerce powered direct selling company established in 1998. QNET offers a diverse range of health, wellness and lifestyle products, through its proprietary e-commerce platform and has customers and distributors in nearly 100 countries including India. QNET’s direct selling business model allows aspiring entrepreneurs to become distributors of the company’s products and services and earn commissions based on product sales by them and their referrals.

                          In India, QNET has been offering a wide range of exclusive products, developed in partnership with both SMEs as well as prominent brands, for nearly ten years through a local franchisee operation. The QNET business opportunity is available to anyone in India over the age of 21. We provide all new distributors with an onboarding process, training programme and a support system to help them build their business. In recent years, Direct Selling has seen tremendous growth in India due to the flexibility it offers to those looking for self-employment opportunities. We believe QNET in India is well positioned to tap into this trend with our high quality products and our attractive compensation plan that has helped thousands of Indian micro-entrepreneurs build a successful sales business.

                          2. Please share your views on growth of the Direct Selling industry in India & how it's helping entrepreneurship.

                          The direct selling industry has the potential to grow exponentially due the flexibility it offers to its distributor workforce. As per a report by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA), the Indian direct selling industry has recorded USD 2.47 billion sales in 2019 with a 12.1 percent YOY industry growth. This ranks India at the 15th place globally, up four places from the previous year.

                          Historically, direct selling has always been a recession-proof business. People look for supplemental income opportunities during an economic recession, or those who have lost their jobs and are unable to find new employment turn to direct selling as a means of self-employment. During the recent economic fallout from the pandemic that derailed many businesses and industries, the Direct Selling sector is one of the few industries that has recorded a positive growth by addressing issues of youth unemployment. A report by Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA) says that the sector saw 53 lakh new entrants in the direct selling sector, in the first six months of the previous financial year.

                          Due to the flexible nature of the business model, direct selling is very popular with women as they can schedule their business requirements around their family and household responsibilities. Approximately 3.6 million (as per a report by FICCI-KPMG) women are part of India’s direct selling workforce in a part time of full time basis.

                          3. Growth in health, wellness, and home & living segment in this regard... your views?

                          Owing to the pandemic, health & wellness have become a major focus area for all of us. We have witnessed a steady demand for products that help with boosting immunity and promote overall wellness. At QNET, we have strengthened our Nutriplus range of health supplements with ImmunHealth, GutHealth, DailyHealth, and LivHealth, a range of products targeted at improving specific aspects of our bodily functions. This product category also comprises antioxidants, wellness teas, energy boosters, bone and skin health supplements, and superfoods like monofloral honey.

                          Our monofloral honey products are sourced naturally from forests in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and they support local farming communities. Our Celesteal range of Green and Black Tea is sourced from Darjeeling from a single estate helping to support a local SME. We also ensure that all our products are sourced ethically and responsibly with minimal environmental impact, while providing support to small businesses and local communities.

                          Over the next two years, we envisage our health and wellness portfolio to grow substantially. Also, we have observed a rise in demand for our home and living products. The home care appliances like SHARP-QNET ZENsational and the latest SmartAir room air purifier cleanse indoor air and features Sharp’s patented Plasmacluster Ion Technology (PCI) that helps deactivate airborne novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), when exposed to the technology for approximately 30 seconds by 90% (As per report by Sharp Global. This product has been particularly useful this part of the year as more people have been confined indoors.

                          4. Please tell our readers about the digital shift at QNET in the Covid situation.

                          Thanks to the fact that the QNET business is primarily conducted on the e-commerce platform, we have been early adopters of the digital ecosystem. The past year has shown all businesses that digital transformation is a necessity to sustain and grow in these unprecedented times.

                          Our focus has always been to support our distributors through this challenging time. We have switched to online trainings for our business and products. Every week, we conduct virtual training programmes for our distributors to help them understand our products and our business model.

                          Our business tools and marketing materials are available as e-books and videos through our online content library. We were pleasantly surprised that our distributors seamlessly shifted and adapted to conducting their business in the virtual world

                          In March 2021, when our annual convention was organized in a virtual format, we were amazed that it attracted a record-breaking viewership of nearly 350,000 distributors from over 50 countries, including India!

                          5. What according to you will be the industry trends in 2022?

                          Social selling has emerged as a big trend in this past year. With the digital native Gen Z getting into the workforce, use of newer social media platforms such as Instagram to promote products using creative videos and visual posts has become quite popular. Millennials and Gen Z continue to drive influencer marketing for brand and product awareness.

                          Virtual trainings which started as a response to lockdowns have proven to be very effective providing access to many who were otherwise hindered by monetary or logistics challenges. We think that virtual trainings are here to stay even in the post-Covid world.

                          In India, the government’s initiative 'Vocal for Local' is encouraging Indians to buy more locally made products. More and more international direct selling companies operating in India are focusing on Make in India products. With the increased focus on overall wellbeing, the industry is focused on catering to this segment with indigenous products. At QNET India, we have over 80 products in the health, wellness, and lifestyle segments, with 75% of them ‘Made in India’.

                          6. Please share your views on revising the functioning of work for distributors to maintain social distancing

                          At the very heart of direct selling is the personal touch and the one-on-one relationships that are formed between distributors and customers. In the pre-Covid era, the best way to build the business was through personal meetings and group presentations about the business. With social distancing in force, the very crux of the direct selling business model was under threat. However, as history has shown, this is a very resilient and highly adaptable industry. Both the companies in the business as well as distributors made the switch to virtual platforms and digital tools to keep in touch with their teams and to organize presentations and training programmes.

                          All the leadership and personal development training from the pre-Covid times came in handy as distributors everywhere remained unfazed and found new, creative solutions to overcome the challenges posed by social distancing. The results speak for themselves, as most direct selling companies around the world are showing a positive growth.

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