Direct selling firm Vestige focuses on digitalisation to drive growth
New Delhi: With the coronavirus pandemic severely testing the direct selling industry and affecting the nature of trade, Vestige Marketing is focussing on digitalisation and will continue to leverage technology to drive its growth, according to a top company official.
The homegrown direct selling firm is looking to tap on an increase in distributors from tier II and tier III cities with more people, who lost jobs due to COVID-19, taking up direct selling as an alternative source of livelihood.
“The pandemic has severely tested the direct selling industry. The need to always follow social distancing, the constant fear of infection and, of course, the lockdowns have had a significant impact on the business dynamics of the industry,” Vestige Marketing Pvt Ltd Managing Director Gautam Bali told PTI.
The old, meet and greet model of referrals, meeting customers, showcasing, and demonstrating products critical to the business has shifted online, he added.
“It is seen that in the post-pandemic world, this will continue as shopping virtually is the easiest, most time-efficient and productive method. It has opened newer sales avenues and dramatically enhanced incomes of sellers as well,” Bali said.
Commenting on how the company plans to build on the shift in trend, he said, “Vestige will continue to leverage technology and innovation to serve customers and communities within a changing environment through digitalisation. These measures helped online orders to grow by over 300 per cent.”
Even during the peak of the pandemic, he said, “Vestige recorded over 52 per cent increase in its distributor network with over 60 per cent of them being below the age of 35 in 2020. This increase was led by distributors joining from tier II and tier III cities.”
While he did not disclose the total number of distributors citing business confidentiality, Bali said the company currently has “48 branches, with over 3,500 online and offline centres” with over 600 employees.
Explaining the growth of direct selling in smaller cities and towns in the wake of the pandemic, Bali said, “The nation saw the aftermath of unemployment, salary cuts and job displacement in both the formal and informal sectors. Add to this the reverse migration of millions of migrant workers going back to their home states and the emerging young talent pool that enters the market every year.”
He further said, “All this led to the direct selling industry to be perceived as an alternative source of livelihood to millions who lost their jobs and created an opportunity for people to regain lost financial independence and emerge as a sustainable alternative career prospect, especially in the tier II and III markets.”
Vestige, which started in 2004 with 10 products, currently has over 300 stock keeping units (SKUs) across 19 categories with annual turnover of over Rs 2,000 crore. By 2025 it plans to expand to new geographies, besides the six countries it is present in now