A staple in every Indian household and a mother’s favourite kitchen accessory, Tupperware is going through a financial crisis and might soon go out of business. The brand which has been around for over 70 years, said that it has hired financial advisors in order to help improve the capital structure of the company. In a release dated 7 April 2023, the company revealed “substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”
A company which relies heavily on multi-level marketing (MLM), its closure will have an adverse effect on the people it employs.
What will happen to the direct sellers involved in these MLM companies, if it shuts shop? We asked: What in your view could be the best alternate career for direct sellers in MLM companies?
“The best alternate career will always depend on their skills, education, interests and goals. But of course, there are few areas which they could try as they have already excelled in direct selling. Some of the key areas they could try are in customer service, marketing, sales and training. There are huge opportunities in the retail or service sector in these disciplines. Another area direct sellers could try is entrepreneurship. The skills which they acquired including sales, marketing and networking will definitely a boost for their path to entrepreneurship. Direct sellers mostly have a knack for running business alone and the atmosphere of startup culture and ease of starting MSMEs is a boon for them for their pursuit of being an entrepreneur,” says, Laj Salam, Founder/Managing Director, PlainSpeak.
Karan Rajpal, Marketing Director at EnableX , notes, “Tupperware and other MLM companies have long appealed to individuals who can work non-standard hours from non-standard locations. And while Tupperware has long been a legitimate business, with historical roots in MLM, most MLM businesses globally today aren’t really kosher, and are soft ‘ponzi’ schemes, despite their best clarifications and proclamations.”
“We’re not in the ’70s any more when direct selling meant taking a product to your friend and neighbour. But anyone with a phone and computer can sell anything from anywhere. Successful MLM sellers have charisma, natural selling abilities and enthusiasm, which any company would love,” he adds.
“MLM companies are growing rapidly so you will always have opportunities there. Many MLM companies have cheated with bad quality products, non-delivery of products etc. which has affected the overall credibility of MLM companies. But this category is growing in a big way and slowly the genuine ones will do really well. Bank and Insurance companies which have become very aggressive in selling their products directly to customers is a category that these sellers can consider. If these sellers are really smart, their strength, which is understanding the consumers, their psychology and how to change the tactics of selling, can also be trainers for retail sales staff. They can be excellent back-end customer care executives, because of their sheer capabilities of handling various kinds of consumers/ consumer issues. They can be influencers who can educate people of how to identify and buy genuine stuff online or offline and not fall for gimmicks,” observes Sreenath Gopi, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hammer India.
Sharad Haksar, CEO, 1pointsize and Founder, One Eyeland, reflects on brand Tupperware and why it might have become unsustainable.
“Either you have a brand where you are only selling through your channel or website and not available anywhere else at a discounted price. Only then it works but no brand is so powerful – Apple could be an exception. Otherwise, most of the brands do not have a USP and there are a lot of options for the same product. A customer may have five different options from five different brands for the same product and he will go with what he feels best. In the case of Tupperware, there are a number of options. Even on Amazon you will have enough number of options for a Tupperware equivalent,” he reasons.
As for its direct sellers, they might want to consider getting online, he contends. He adds, “I think they all need to get into the online space because I think that’s the only thing which is working right now.”
Feedback: [email protected]
Photo credit: TupperwareIndia.com