amway-business-model

Amway Business Model

Amway, a contraction of “American Way”, is a company with a core focus on the sale of home care, beauty, and health-related products.

It was founded in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos, school friends who had started several business ventures together.

Amway sales reached $8.5 billion in 2020, with 80% of the company’s 100 worldwide markets experiencing growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the business model of Amway and the reasons for its success.

Multi-level marketing

Amway is primarily a multi-level marketing (MLM) company where goods are sold to distributors and salespeople. There are two core components of the Amway business model:

  1. First, an individual is recruited by a distributor.
  2. Once recruited, the individual becomes a distributor themselves, which the company calls an Independent Business Operator (IBO). IBOs can purchase Amway products at wholesale prices, sell to consumers, and sponsor new distributors. For these privileges, Amway charges a registration fee.

While the company has been associated with Ponzi schemes for much of its existence, it’s important to note the differences between these scams and Amway’s MLM strategy.

In a Ponzi scheme, for example, the individual on top of the pyramid makes more money than everyone else by referring new people. In Amway’s business model, an individual down the pyramid can earn more than someone above them. Indeed, the amount of income is not based on referrals but on how hard they work and how many products they sell.

Other characteristics of the Amway business model

The profitability of Amway’s MLM model is helped by the following characteristics:

  1. IBO flexibility – independent business owners can make money in several ways. The most obvious way is via selling products to non-affiliated customers, but IBOs may also receive bonuses for exemplary sales volume or travel incentives to exotic locations.
  2. Low investment – most individuals irrespective of nationality can become IBOs for as little as $100. Aside from the obvious status afforded by the IBO title, the low investment means Amway product sellers can recoup their costs more easily.
  3. Higher product prices – the aforementioned seller bonuses are paid in the form of points-based commissions. In order to pay these commissions to increasing numbers of sellers, Amway must charge a premium price for its products to make a profit.
  4. MLM network expansion – like any business, Amway must grow its customer base to survive. However, since Amway considers both the end-user and individuals in its network as customers, it must prioritize the expansion of its MLM hierarchy in addition to product development and marketing.

Key takeaways:

  • Amway, a contraction of “American Way”, is a company with a core focus on the sale of home care, beauty, and health-related products.
  • Amway is primarily a multi-level marketing (MLM) company where goods are sold to distributors and salespeople. Unlike a Ponzi scheme, individual income is based on sales volume and not on how many new people they can refer.
  • For Amway to profit from its MLM model, it allows independent business owners to earn money in three different ways for an investment as low as $100. To ensure it can continue to pay commissions to an expanding network, the company’s products also tend to be more expensive.

Read Next: Successful Types of Business Models You Need to Know

Read Also: Marketing Strategy, Go-To-Market Strategy.

Marketing Glossary

Affiliate Marketing

affiliate-marketing
Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Ambush Marketing

ambush-marketing
As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Brand Building

brand-building
Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Equity

what-is-brand-equity
The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

brand-positioning
Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

business-storytelling
Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

content-marketing
Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Digital Marketing

digital-marketing-channels
A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Growth Marketing

growth-marketing
Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

guerrilla-marketing
Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Inbound Marketing

inbound-marketing
Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

integrated-marketing
Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

marketing-mix
The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Personas

marketing-personas
Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Multi-Channel Marketing

multichannel-marketing
Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

multilevel-marketing
Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Niche Marketing

microniche
A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Relationship Marketing

relationship-marketing
Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Sustainable Marketing

sustainable-marketing-green-marketing
Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.
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