Product Development and Launch Series: Selling Consumable Products – Part 1

Aug 1, 2022Sheffield Blog


If you’re a product developer and you’re looking for the best way to bring your unique creation to market, the direct selling industry could provide you with the ideal channel, with a fast track to market and huge potential upside. 

The Sheffield Group has decades of experience advising product developers and helping them launch new and great products into the MLM channel. Here we summarize some of the key insights that help generate maximum success. 

Let’s begin by establishing what products are the best selling products for MLM, including the ideal turn rate.

A Note on Sellable MLM Products

Almost any consumer product or service can make for a marketable MLM product. However, the most sellable products fall into the categories of “pills, potions, and lotions.” These include things like skincare, weight loss supplements, nutritional products, and foods. These are all highly-consumable products.

Consumable products do well in direct selling because they create recurring revenue. It’s a better investment of your time and money to capture a customer – instead of making a one-time purchase – who comes back to purchase again and again, providing a revenue stream for both the independent distributor and the company. 

What is an Inventory Turn Rate?

The MLM business model thrives on consumable products that encourage daily or frequent usage. The most desirable products have a weekly or monthly turn rate to best fit the compensation plan. To be considered “consumable,” a product needs at least four turns per year. To encourage this, it is common to package products in 30-day cycles. 

An inventory turn rate is the number of times a business turns over its goods through selling or replacing its average inventory during any given period of time. This works the same in direct selling, network marketing, and MLM as it does in traditional business. Understanding your turn rate is useful when measuring the cost of storage and goods sold. 

Once the product or product lines are ironed out, it’s time to market your product and offer it for sale.

Pushing the “Hot Button”

When marketing your products, keep in mind what MLM companies want to hear as they consider which products to sell. They want to hear how the product(s) will:

  • Attract new distributors
  • Be presented as “New to the World”
  • Offer broad customer appeal

It’s also to important to address any product and/or compensation plan benefits that will directly impact the distributor, such as:

  • Proven and current popularity
  • Low or high impulse-to-buy
  • Immediate and measurable benefits
  • Low entry cost (such as price based on cumulative volume)
  • Product guarantee (product quality, no defects) 
  • Consulting help from supplier (what you’ll provide as part of the relationship)
  • Product training for company staff and distributors
  • Assistance in literature development
  • Assistance in audio and video scripting

Also consider the costs that will be incurred through production, sales and marketing of the products. What are the expenses? Are there consulting fees? If the plan is to hire someone to market the product, what are those expenses, including honorariums for speaking? When does a venue or other engagement pay have a speaker present on the product’s features and benefits as opposed to when it’s appropriate for the product distributor to be compensated for a presentation (larger companies are less willing to pay)? 

From product development to product marketing, it all adds up to the total costs of the manufacturing and distribution of the product.