Non-Retailing and direct selling

A whole range of such non-store retailing methods, as detailed below, has been gaining ground in India in recent years.

Non-store retailing methods gain ground

1. Direct selling/Home selling.
2. Multi-level marketing
3. Network marketing.
4. Marketing by vending machines.
5. Consumer fairs.

Non-store retailing and direct marketing are not one and the same

At this juncture, it is essential to offer a clarification. Some experts treat non-store retailing and direct marketing methods together, treating them all as non-store retailing methods. We are taking this approach because there is a basic difference between the two. While non-store retailing methods are methods of retailing, direct marketing methods are methods of marketing.

The methods of non-store retailing as shown above are discussed below one by one. The common feature of all of them is that no store is involved. The consumers secure the product having to visit a retail store.

Direct selling/home Selling

Direct selling/home selling, also known as door-to-door selling is one of the major non-store retailing methods. Of course, it is the most ancient method of marketing known to man. Before marketing channels came into being, the producer was selling his product to the user directly. However, direct selling in the context of modern mass marketing of branded products needs to be explained specifically.

Direct selling and home selling are almost synonymous

Let us first clarify the terminology. The two terms direct selling and home selling, which have emerged concurrently, denote the same thing. Both of them are person-to-person selling and both take place away from and without the help of any retail store.

Some experts make out a minor distinction between the two, by referring to direct selling by employee sales persons as home selling, and direct selling by independent sales persons-cum-distributors as direct selling. There does not seem to be any logic in this approach. On the contrary, we can think of one or two more meaningful distinction between the two. While home selling invariably takes at customer’s home, direct selling can take place either at the customer’s home or her work place. Second, while home selling is always one-to-one, direct selling can at times be to a group. The latter method is referred to as party selling or one-to-many direct selling.

It is, however, safer and more logical to treat them as one and the same.