What is direct selling?

Direct selling refers to the selling of a product or service directly to consumers, away from a fixed retail location. The EU Directive on Consumer Rights (Directive 2011/83/EU) defines "direct selling" as contracts concluded between traders and consumers with the simultaneous physical presence of the trader and the consumer, in a place which is not the business premises of the trader. These products or services are marketed face-to-face by salespeople who, depending on the company, may be called representatives, consultants, distributors, etc. These sales people in most cases are working as independent sales agents or resellers but some direct selling companies may also utilize employees.

Direct selling is interesting for consumers because of the convenience and service it provides, which includes personal demonstration and explanation of products, home delivery, and satisfaction guarantees.

Direct Selling represents also an opportunity for individuals looking to start a business due to the low investment necessary to work as a direct seller.

What is the difference between direct selling, distance selling and direct marketing?

Direct selling should not be confused with terms such as direct marketing or distance selling which may be described as an interactive system of marketing that uses one or more advertising media to generate a measurable response and/or transaction at any location, with this activity stored in a database. Some commonly known types of direct marketing and distance selling techniques are telemarketing, direct mail, and direct response.

What is the difference between direct selling and multilevel marketing?

Direct selling refers to a distribution method, whereas multilevel marketing refers more specifically to a type of compensation plan found in direct selling.
A direct selling company that offers a multilevel compensation plan pays its representatives/distributors based not only on one's own product sales, but on the product sales of the people a representative/distributor has brought into the business.

What products and services are marketed through direct selling?

Direct selling suits the sale of almost every category of products that can be found in traditional retail locations and in department stores. It is also very convenient for the sales of services such as telecoms, gas and electricity supplies. Cosmetic and personal care products, household items and wellness are the strongest sectors in direct selling. Other products categories include food and beverages, nutritional products, jewellery and clothes, books, toys and games, home improvement products, etc.

How can I become a direct seller?

DSE members offer numerous opportunities to start your individual direct selling business.
The first thing to do is identify the company you wish to work for or product/service you would like to market. You should then ask yourself a few questions, including:

  • What is the start-up cost of this business?
  • What happens with the unsold inventory?
  • How do I get appropriate training?
  • What are the forms of compensation offered?
How can my association / company join Direct Selling Europe?

Direct Selling Europe (DSE) membership is composed of:
1. national direct selling associations from European countries
2. direct selling companies whose headquarters are based in Europe

If you fit one of these two categories and adhere to high ethical standards in direct selling, you are welcome to send your application to DSE headquarters in Brussels.

What are the benefits of joining Direct Selling Europe?

Direct Selling Europe (DSE) represents more than half of the EU direct selling industry in the European Union. It aims to ensure the representation of the direct selling sector in the EU, as well as to set up and maintain high ethical standards for fair practices in selling methods and the treatment of consumers and direct sellers.

DSE only represents members in the European direct selling industry with the highest ethical standards and which put high value on their sales staff by offering them an optimal sales environment.

How do I purchase a product from one of DSE’s member companies?

Check out each DSE member’s website on our Member companies page or contact DSE Headquarters to obtain the necessary information to purchase any product from the DSE members.

Representing a national direct selling association in Europe or a direct selling company that is active in Europe?