Next time you walk down an aisle at the supermarket or scroll through your social feed, count the new gadgets and gizmos you see. They’re everywhere—and each of these products underwent many, many hours of research and development (R&D) before they ever reached store shelves.
R&D is the process of researching, developing, testing, innovating, and introducing new products or services to the market—something we all benefit from. In fact, the total global R&D expenditure has more than tripled from $677 billion in 2002 to $2.2 trillion in 2019. Developing new products and researching innovative solutions is a staggering investment—one many companies eagerly support and build upon.
With such costs, R&D enormously benefits many companies in the direct selling industry. Not only can they use these investments to create great products but they also help shape and revolutionize their industries.
Here are just five of the important roles that R&D plays in the direct selling industry.
For any successful direct selling company, the future is not something to simply predict—it’s something to actively create.
Innovating brand-new product concepts is crucial to maintaining a competitive edge in today’s world. But some companies innovate for both the market advantages and for the pure passion for research and improvement. That’s why many of the most innovative and ground-breaking R&D initiatives can be found in direct selling companies that focus on health and wellness. And USANA Health Sciences leads the way with their global team of world-class scientists and product innovators.
Science has been at the heart of USANA since the very beginning—over 30 years ago when their founder began to understand the benefits of cellular nutrition. Today, the company’s R&D team continues to develop high-quality, science-based products that support long-term health.
Every person has unique needs. And even the most eye-catching or ground-breaking product will be quickly forgotten if it fails to meet these needs. So the more accessible these products are, the better.
R&D initiatives test product concepts or search for customer feedback to help companies avoid accessibility issues before they arise. Even a fantastic product may frustrate customers because it’s too challenging or confusing to use, and using this need-focused approach, companies can create alternative designs that are accessible to more people. With this added accessibility comes a more positive message, tone, and community.
Normally, we think of R&D as creating new, never-before-seen devices, tools, and products. But in reality, its used just as often (perhaps even more often) to update existing concepts and ideas. Reevaluating past designs is immensely important in supporting global sustainability, environmental awareness, and green technology.
In 2021, it became increasingly clear that sustainability or ESG (environmental, social, and governance) is now developing into a mainstream business trend. Virtually all the world’s largest companies have made public environmental goals and issue sustainability reports. And this is a direction direct selling companies are following with their R&D initiatives.
In recent years, Tupperware has invested millions of dollars into making their plastic products safe, reusable, and environmentally friendly. They now own more than 10,000 functional and design patents, thanks to their R&D efforts.
R&D is a multi-faceted process requiring talent and skills through many distinct fields. Market analysts must work in tandem with engineers or researchers as new product concepts are generated, discussed, and tested.
In short, R&D both requires and encourages collaboration, leadership, and creativity within a direct selling company. An efficient R&D team and process ensure the company is always generating new ideas and exploring all opportunities—and attracting even more talented specialists to their ranks.
R&D can also promote collaboration and trust between companies and other business enterprises or academic institutions. By doing this, the direct selling industry can play an important role in the global R&D community and shape trends for years to come.
For many direct selling companies, R&D is key to achieving and maintaining product quality in their industry. It also builds trust with their consumers and provides transparency to the public.
Vorwerk employs nearly 1,200 professionals in their R&D and quality management departments. These teams design, update, and test the incredible variety of components for their cutting-edge home appliances. Not only do they create nearly 100 new patents on a yearly basis but they’re also dedicated to quality, excellence, and building confidence in their brand.
The Coway R&D Center studies customer behaviors, researches product designs, and performs reliability and customer satisfaction tests. With this environmental technology institute—housing about 370 researchers—they’ve become credible and transparent experts on preserving clean air and water. They’ve even developed a database of the world’s water and air quality in their environmental analysis center.
Researching for the Right Rewards
R&D serves a crucial role in the future of the direct selling industry, no matter the cost. Their solutions lead to the creation of reliable, sustainable products and push the limits of ingenuity. They build trust with the world and make homes and store shelves a more accessible and positive place.