Thought Leadership

How Drone Delivery Could Change Direct Selling

TL;DRTo determine whether drone delivery poses a threat to direct sellers, we take a look at how the industry has responded to disruptive technologies in the past.

Check out the video above. Do you remember it from back in 2013? It’s a first look at Prime Air, Amazon’s drone delivery service, released shortly after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced development of the program. Essentially, Amazon’s plan was to have unmanned octocopters deliver packages directly to your door in as little as 30 minutes. In an interview with 60 Minutes at the time, Bezos indicated that Prime Air could be available within four or five years.

When it was first announced, Prime Air seemed completely insane. But a little more than three years later it’s getting closer to becoming a reality.

What could drone delivery mean for the #directselling industry? Click To Tweet

Amazon released another Prime Air video late last year (featuring former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson) with actual footage of a Prime Air flight, indicating that the program is much further along in development. Around the same time it was revealed that both Walmart and Google are developing their own drone delivery programs, the latter reportedly aiming to launch by 2017. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to finalize regulations on commercial drone delivery sometime this year.

If drone delivery happens—or, more likely, when it happens—it could have serious ramifications for a number of industries. But what effect might drone delivery have on direct selling? Imagine that a consumer can get on their computer or phone, place an online order, and have a product in their hands just 30 minutes later. Can a business model built on live demonstrations and personal connections compete?

Drones in Direct Selling

This isn’t the first time that direct selling has come face-to-face with disruptive technology. Before this it was e-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay, which some commentators speculated could pose an existential threat to the direct selling model. Instead, direct sellers found ways to incorporate ecommerce into their businesses, providing their distributors and customers with new opportunities to share the products and services that they love.

This isn’t the first time that #directselling has come face-to-face with disruptive technology. Click To Tweet

Drone delivery can be viewed in a similar way. Rather than threatening the direct selling model, drones could improve it by ensuring that products get delivered faster and more efficiently. Forget about tracking packages online for weeks or losing product to the mail system. Soon, distributors might be able to give a live product demonstration to a customer, help them place an order on a tablet, and have that product delivered by an unmanned drone before the meeting is over. A perfect blend of human connection and technological innovation.

Users Want Speed

That scenario is still years away, but there’s a reason that the idea of drone delivery is so appealing right now. In a world where everyone is connected and information travels at lightning speeds, we’ve come to expect that everything—everything—should happen faster. Personally, I get annoyed whenever I have to wait for a physical piece of mail. The fact that I still need to visit a government office and wait in line to renew my driver’s license seems almost criminal. Make it faster.

'Make it faster.' @GarrettBHughes on #payments delivery in #directselling. Click To Tweet

Drone delivery promises to address our growing demand for speed in all things, but there are ways that you can do that right now. Here at Hyperwallet, we know that faster is better. Our global financial network lets companies send commission payments to distributors all around the world in (or near) real-time, and distributors can manage their earnings from their computers or mobile devices. And because Hyperwallet lets users track payments like they would track a package, distributors know exactly when they’ll receive their commissions.

It’s not drone delivery, but it’s a good start.

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