Social selling, where people directly sell goods and services to people they are in contact with, is a multi-billion dollar industry. Avon, Mary Key, LuLaRoe and Amway have all used this model to build significant business empires. However there are a number of issues with how social selling operates. Both purchasers and merchants tend to become disillusioned after a time, with purchasers feeling exploited by their friends and aquaintances as they push one particular brand, and sellers becoming dependent on the brand that they have chosen, finding it difficult to switch companies. Working for more than one company at a time is time-consuming and bureaucratic so sellers tend to become siloed into a particular niche. Despite these issues, social selling is a growing business model, but one which is ripe for change.
The social selling industry evolved from the direct selling model pioneered by James Robinson Graves sending college students door to door to sell books. Realising that people were more likely to trust and, therefore purchase from, people that they knew, one of those salesmen, David McConnell, set up the California Perfume Company, which utilised women as sales representatives and utilised womens's networks to grow sales, changing its name to "Avon" in the early part of the last century, with commission based on the sales representatives generated. Later Amway, recognising the difficulty recuiting and training sellers pioneered the multi-level commission model where sellers were rewarded for both their own sales and for the sales of representatives that they recruited and trained. As social selling has expanded multi-level selling schemes have encountered a great deal of criticism as the most profitable activity becomes to grow the downline, rather than grow sales directly. As access to the internet grew, social selling has evolved again, with social media influencers now a key part of company's retail strategies, indirectly selling merchandise through partnering with brands.
Enter Gemstra. Gemstra’s mission is to make social selling accessible and awesome for everyone.
In 2017, Gemstra built "Boutiques", as a proof of concept for an alternative social selling model. They partnered with 8 brands, and sellers were free to select one or multiple brands to sell. This eliminated the silo effect, and made managing social selling more accessible, generating 7-figure annualized merchandise sales within 9 months of launch. The success of Boutiques demonstrated a need for product curation and seller management and inspired Gemstra to look at holistically how to disrupt the retail economy, utilising social selling across multiple brands.
Gemstra operates on a three tier model. At the top, there are brands who wish to enter the social market. They partner with merchants, who curate these brands and manage sellers, who now have access to a range of brands to sell to their customers without having to deal with the the brands directly, improving logistics and cutting down on bureaucracy. Traditionally the roles of product curation and seller management have been seperate with retail outlets curating brands, and senior sales people managing sellers of a single brand's products. Managing sellers directly is a major component for any brand which wants to involve itself in social selling, but through partnering with Gemstra merchants, brands can access a social selling model without having to directly deal with individual sellers, expanding access to this growing retail model without the investment required to make such a shift. Sellers are now no longer tied to brands, dealing with different systems, logistics and business models, instead they are free to work across brands merchants and even across merchants all within the same system.
This model works far better for the newer generation of social sellers who promote brands through social media and an established fan base, allowing influencers to more effectively monitise their social capital, and do so far more naturally then in the traditional "friends and family" model and much more efficiently than directly approaching brands for commission sales.
Gemstra infrastructure is powered by the ASTRA platform, a blockchain based smart contract system that manages affiliate, commission based and gamified sales. Multi-level approaches where brands wish to still retain a level of control over training and management of their representatives can be integrated into the system. The ASTRA smart contracts automatically compensate each element of the eco-system in accordance with the pre-defined agreements written into the smart contract, eliminating errors and making for a smoother transaction experience. The GEMS Token is the native utility token of the Gemstra ecosystem. It can be used for any transaction in lieu of fiat on ASTRA Platform, facilitating reduced friction, gamification, and governance for the ASTRA Platform. As well as being used as a payment mechanism, staking GEMS also facilitates access to the governance of the system including rights management, voting and reputation measurement.
More details, including add on modules and detailed token mechanics are available in the Gemstra White Paper.
Gemstra is currently in ICO phase, with presale available on the Cobinhood platform (note: KYC required for this platform). The presale went live on the 15th April and will run until 30 Jun 2019. The total supply is 2bn, with 0.4bn available in the pre-sale, representing 20% of the total supply. 20% will also be retained by the team (vested for 4 years), with 10% allocated to partners and advisors (6 months vesting) and 30% allocated to the growth pool. The remaining 40% will be available for private sale to business and brands who wish to start establishing themselves within the Gemstra eco-system. There is no public sale planned, unsold tokens will be burnt. There is a tiered bonus model available within the pre-sale with 20 levels starting at 3% and rising to 36% available for all participants once the tier stage is unlocked. The pre-sale price is 10k GEMS = 1 ETH (1 GEMS : 0.0001 ETH), giving an estimated market cap of around $30 million, putting it just outside the top 100 in the CoinMarketCap rankings.
The social selling industry is ripe for reinvention. Gemstra has established proof-of-concept and has a well developed ecosystem in place, with a clear timely roadmap The direct selling industry is vast, and influencer models are growing in importance. The global retail market is collectively worth over $24 trillion, and even a small capture of this value would have an enormous impact. In a world where brands are increasingly reliant on social influence to shift their products but where direct selling is fraught with problems, Gemstra offers an alternative model which allows Key Opinion Leaders to leverage their influence while providing a streamlined method of smart contract based sales management.
Bounty0x Username: SlowChimera