IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Redirecting direct selling: High-touch embraces high-tech


  • Ferrell, Linda
  • Ferrell, O.C.


Direct selling, defined as a sales channel without a fixed retail location, was built on the premise of leveraging an individual's social networks. This industry is being redirected by embracing social media; here, the challenge lies in providing the benefits of face-to-face selling, augmented by social media. An examination of the Direct Selling News ‘Global 100 Top Direct Sellers’ found that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter represent the most widely employed social networks in the industry. While 76% of direct sellers utilize social media for promotional purposes, 55% use it for recruiting new distributors and 42% use it for reactive purposes. Consumers are the most popular target for social media, followed by distributors and communities. Social media has evolved as a driver of strategy, and will become even more important in the future. Improved customer relationships are developing by listening and reacting to concerns. The transparency created by social media is enhancing trust and ethical organizational cultures. Finally, consumer brand communities are emerging that increase brand value.

Suggested Citation

  • Ferrell, Linda & Ferrell, O.C., 2012. "Redirecting direct selling: High-touch embraces high-tech," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 273-281.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:bushor:v:55:y:2012:i:3:p:273-281
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bushor.2012.01.004

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mangold, W. Glynn & Faulds, David J., 2009. "Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion mix," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 357-365, July.
    2. Kaplan, Andreas M. & Haenlein, Michael, 2010. "Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 59-68, January.
    3. Kietzmann, Jan H. & Hermkens, Kristopher & McCarthy, Ian P. & Silvestre, Bruno S., 2011. "Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 241-251, May.
    4. Hanna, Richard & Rohm, Andrew & Crittenden, Victoria L., 2011. "We're all connected: The power of the social media ecosystem," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 265-273, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:bushor:v:55:y:2012:i:3:p:273-281. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.