It is the Time to Reimagine the Processes and Invest in Technology: Rishi Chandiok
In the latest conversation with BW People, Rishi Chandiok, Regional Director (South Asia), QNET discussed the upcoming trends in the direct selling industry; challenges experienced during the recent disruption, and how are they keeping their employees upbeat.
How are you ensuring business continuity during these uncertain times?
As with many aspects, QNET as a company has been surprised and inspired by how our distributors have reacted to the new challenges. Our distributors maintained social distancing yet continued to reach out to customers virtually and provide their services unhindered. On the back of that, QNET has also been pragmatic and adaptive in its planning to reform business strategies to plan for recovery.
One initiative was forming an online training routine across teams to enhance their know-how on our latest products and categories. Also, we are taking proactive measures to help our partners and vendors better understand consumer demands in the new normal using real-time data and fast-tracking business processes.
Our distributors are digitally empowered to conduct their business. We have also focused on making tools for a successful business more readily available to our distributors. This includes policy documents, business plan information, and product promotions to form part of a well-established marketing model. Most importantly, we provide the resources for distributors at the speed of business, so our distributors are supported. All our products, across the health, wellness, and lifestyle segments are available on-line through QNET’s proprietary eCommerce portal. This is a wonderful opportunity for our distributors to interface with their teams and even prospects through the virtual realm.
Our bi-annual flagship event, V-Convention moved online this year owing to the pandemic. That speaks volumes about the commitment and resilience of our distributors and the relentless trust in the QNET brand. So, of my favorite moments of this year’s convention were just seeing the pictures of the viewing parties all over the world! It is such a great motivation to see how many people are excited about our industry.
What are some of the key changes and challenges? How did you overcome these challenges?
Of course, we can expect further challenges as well. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has also taught us new ways to live and work in the face of shared adversity. Undoubtedly, the past few months have been challenging in terms of aligning business processes and policies. At QNET India, we believe that Innovation is always the key to surmount challenges in evolving market situations. Most importantly though, it is these times that people and companies need to rely on their core principles, not abandon them. For us, our mission statement is simple: RYTHM. Raise yourself to help mankind. Our purpose of coming to work is far greater than the walls of an office, or the boxes on a video conference. We continue to drive the success of our business because can only come on the success of the people we help to achieve their own businesses.
What new opportunities and trends do you foresee in the sector, for the near future?
When the entire world is grappling with the COVID19 pandemic, many businesses have been impacted and many have pivoted their business strategies to sustain in these difficult times. These challenging times have opened up new opportunities for us and our industry. We are going virtual and training our distributors to use technology to optimize their efforts and stay connected with their customers.
The pandemic has created an urgent need for us to look inwards, both to procure and consume. The government’s ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative further reaffirms that trend. There is also an increased emphasis on health, wellness and building immunity. Women managing home and an office during lockdown has also led to an increase in demand for home and living products marketed via direct selling in India. To exemplify, the demand for our SHARP-QNET room air purifiers and KENT-QNET specialised alkaline water purifiers is on the rise.
We are witnessing an upsurge in demand for our health products like our Nutriplus range with ImmunHealth, GutHealth, DailyHealth, and LivHealth. This category is quite a diverse range, with antioxidant teas, energy boosters, protein powder, bone, and skin health supplements, and specialised superfood like monofloral honey. Over the next two and a half years (early 2023), we envisage our product portfolio mix to stand as follows: Watches & Jewellery for 40%, Health &Wellness for 20% and Home & Living for about 20%, and Personal Care & Beauty category 20%.
What did you do to keep the workforce engaged, motivated, and connected in this contactless world?
Direct selling is built on “word-of-mouth” advertising. In these times though, we had to not only reimagine our systems and processes, but also had to invest in technology and training to ensure a seamless transition without disrupting business as usual. We ensured open and consistent communication through this transition to allay any fears and reassured business continuity.
In the last 6 months, we have conducted more than 120 webinar sessions across various product segments in India and over 35,000 distributors have been trained in building personal connections with their customers in the new normal.
We are also conducting leadership and ‘QNet Pro’ sessions which reiterate the aspects of ethical marketing, which goes a long way to sustain, empower, and build our network teams. Hence, we have taken compliance and professional standards many levels up.
How do you see the growth of the Direct Selling industry in India & how it's helping micro-entrepreneurship?
Direct Selling is a US$180.48 Bn industry globally that provides an entrepreneurial opportunity to millions. Most importantly, it gives real access to starting your own business. The Indian direct selling sector has continued to grow consistently year on year because so many Indians are looking for a way to be self-reliant and be their own boss. The 2019 sales figures of US$2.47bn shows what a massive industry this is in India, and also illustrates the potential of the Indian entrepreneurial spirit. India’s Direct Selling industry stands 15th amongst its global peers, growing at a healthy 12.1% year on year. However, as India is one of the world’s fastest-growing retail and e-commerce market, we can expect a jump in those rankings.
As per reports by FICCI-KPMG, we could cross 20 million individuals engaged in direct selling by 2025. The direct selling industry provides an additional income prospect with flexible work hours, thereby attracting a large number of women entrepreneurs. Currently, the Indian direct selling sector engages around 3.6 million self-employed women, which is over 60% of its overall workforce in the country.
At QNET India, we empower our Distributors with a sense of ownership and enable them to succeed. We have around 500,000 distributors who pursue the QNET business and product opportunity.
What are the leadership skills you believe are needed to keep your distributors motivated?
What we have seen is that leaders that lead by example can build the most successful teams. Our leading distributors not only show empathy, openness, and trustworthiness, but they show how perseverance is essential to success.
Now more so than ever, a leader has the difficult task of balancing business management and motivating their teams. A leader’s positivity and determination will help navigate their teams through these uncharted times.