The Web keeps the party going

The Internet, which many thought would kill off the home-party channel, actually deserves some credit for saving the industry. E-commerce solutions offer home-party agents the ability to invite guests electronically and to allow customers to place an order even if they cannot attend the party. With electronic invitation technology, invitees who respond online to say they cannot attend are driven right to a special Web page where they can order from an online catalog.

This technology opens the door for a party host to invite a relative or friend who doesn’t live nearby and still get credit for a sale should the invitee place an online order, says Dave Proctor, executive vice president of Naperville, IL-based business solutions provider Next Wave Logistics.

“The 25-year-old doesn’t know adult life without e-mail and isn’t about to spend hours hand-addressing invites and thank-you notes for something that is supposed to supplement their income,” Proctor says. It’s not just younger consumers who prefer electronic communication, though. Many baby boomers also prefer e-mail invitations, he adds.

Proctor says that the Internet’s simplification of the home-party business is also helping to attract more sales representatives, many of whom are looking to work an average of just 5-10 hours a week. “About 15 years ago, a home-party business owner would stand up at a party and tell potential hostesses how much money she made selling her products,” Proctor says. “Now hostesses want to know how much spare time these owners have.”

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