Difference Between Direct Selling And Network Marketing Business

Both direct selling and network marketing support people who have a business mentality, but small seed funding provides opportunities to start their own businesses.


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Direct selling and network marketing are often used interchangeably in the business world; they represent distinct approaches within the broader realm of non-traditional sales strategies. Direct selling focuses on the individual salesperson marketing products directly to consumers, often in a one-on-one setting, without the necessity for a hierarchical team structure. Network marketing, on the other hand, emphasizes the building of a network of distributors, where success is not just derived from direct sales but also from recruiting others to join the network and sell products. This key difference highlights the unique dynamics of each model, with direct selling centered on personal sales efforts and network marketing expanding the earning potential through a multi-tiered distributor network. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for anyone looking to engage with or operate within these business models.

In these years, the importance of direct selling and network marketing businesses are highly influenced people around the world due to the impact of Covid 19. In this article, we make a study about the difference between these two types of businesses.

Both direct selling and network marketing support people who have the business mentality, but small seed funding and provide opportunities to start their own businesses. Although network marketing theoretically acts as part of the direct selling business model, the two schemes vary in many ways, varying from types of products to organizational setup and costs.

What is direct selling?

It is a type of marketing method in which the independent distributors or salespeople sell their products and services directly to customers outside of a normal retail environment.

In this type of business, the entrepreneur does not sell from a physical store, while many may have websites from which they sell their goods and services, or attract sales prospects. At first, the representatives sell their goods and services to their friends, families, and coworkers. After a while, they successfully develop a greater range of clients through referrals and marketing efforts

Ways of direct selling businesses

  • Personal demonstrations
  • Home parties
  • Catalog and online sales

Goods and Services Sold through Direct selling businesses

Goods and services are sold through direct selling businesses are,

  • Cosmetics
  • Toys
  • Books
  • Cookware
  • Clothing
  • Food storage
  • Insurance
  • Household decor
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Personal care items
  • Utility services

Advantages of direct selling businesses

Advantages of direct selling businesses are,

  • It is cost- effective
  • It gives independence to representatives to earn money
  • It provides representatives with the ability to start selling immediately and helps them to focus on sales.

Disadvantages of direct selling businesses

Disadvantages of direct selling businesses are,

  • Lack of efficiency
  • It may have a destructive effect on personal relationships.
  • In many cases the representatives for direct selling businesses have no training or experience.It leads to failure.

What Is Network Marketing Business?

Today network marketing business is growing day by day. It is a distribution-based marketing system and it is also known as multilevel marketing business or MLM business. It is a different form of direct selling business, involves direct sales and a downline of representatives. The recruiter recruits their downline members and they get a commission based on their sales and the performance of downline members.

The MLM Plans and MLM Software helps the network marketing works properly. Some MLM plans are MLM Binary Plan, MLM Matrix Plan, MLM Board Plan, MLM Unilevel Plan, etc.

Difference Between Network Marketing and Direct Selling businesses

Some differences between network marketing and direct selling businesses are,

  • Compensation plans

The compensation plans offers in these two system is varied. The direct selling companies only provide commissions based on products sold by the representatives. But the MLM businesses provide representatives to earn income on the sales of the agents that they recruit.

  • Pyramid scheme

Many direct selling companies are following pyramid schemes and it is illegal in many countries.

  • Products

Direct selling companies generally presents durable products that have a significant cost and provide oneself with a single sale process. But Network marketing companies provide consumable products like food products and herbal supplements, have cheap rates, and provide themselves to repeat sales.

  • Organizational structure

Generally, the direct selling businesses are working with a centralized producer and the businesses are mainly go to freelancers that do the door-to-door selling on a contract basis. Sellers receive a commission based on the number and size of their own sales.

The Network Marketing companies follow a similar structure, but one individual recruiter can recruit other salespeople into the company, creating a "downline" source of sales, and earnings. The recruiter will then be eligible to collect a percentage of the revenue from the people online. As long as the members of the downline continue to sell, the upline will receive the remaining revenue in addition to the revenue from their own sales.

  • Costs

Direct sales companies retain stock of more expensive products, which results in higher lead costs and recurring costs.

Multi-level marketing software offer low startup costs. The lower the price of the product leads to the lower the initial investment.


In short, network marketing is often named a direct selling business because they do have some things in common. But they are not the same, they may have many differences.

Both network marketing and direct selling businesses sell their products and services through direct sales, I e. person to person sales, instead of selling products in a retail store.

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