Depends on the definition of legitimate consumer. If it means a customer who only wants consume HLF products with zero connection to, or interest in joining, a sales network, then Shane had a point. From the 10K:
Total Product Sales, excluding S&H charges of $391,4M, was $4567,2M for FY2014
Total Sales Leaders, qualified or re-qualified in 2014: 694K ppl.
Extending HLF's qualification sales: $5000 x 694K = $3470M. That alone is 76% of all sales and excludes another 40K Managers in China, more in other markets where HLF use a different version of MLM.
Sales Leaders are HLF's biggest consumers. Are they legitimate consumers? How dependant are HLF on their Sales Leaders for personally consuming their products? Nearly everything. "Have you had your shake today?", is everything. If it was about legitimate customers, the HLF daily mantra question would be, "Have you sold a shake today?". HLF internal consumption could easily be well over 90%.
Tell me, what is an average Sales Leader's annual personal consumption? How about their households as consumers? Plus product for their own promotion and inventory. A good Sales Leader will surely buy one of everything to try eventually?
Sounds like you're suggesting that HLF have been working with the FTC during their investigation. It's an investigation, not a mediation. The FTC aren't there to assist, they're there to assess. Any changes to HLF's business model prior to an FTC ruling are pleas for mercy. As discussed in the CC, current changes will take time to cycle through. If the FTC make any mandates post-ruling, those will have to cycle through as well. A lot of uncertainty for several quarters to come.
FTC will mandate a six month wait time for HLF customers to become Distributors. Possible and should be done.
Earnings beat Street estimates and HLF's. Stock should've popped up 20% or more and every Long knows it.
I posted before the bell they'd beat and sat this one out.
"Utterly incredible", you say. "Utterly incredulous", I say.
The FTC will force changes at the least. HLF know this and have been trying to make changes in anticipation to soften the blow. FTC need to make this the last word for a long time. It'll be harsh.
I suspect an upside surprise. Yes, I still believe HLF are frauds and will eventually collapse. But...
This may be HLF's most important quarter and Corporate have been rallying the troops hard. Offering incentives with waived fees and discounts. Easy to embolden solidarity in the short term against a single common enemy. Wouldn't take much to ask President's Team members to load some inventory. Not sustainable, but probably a good window dressing for the quarter. Couple that with Accounting adjusting the adjustments and a calculated volume of after-hours buying from already Long big boys, looks like a squeeze attempt is a distinct possibility.
Again, I don't like most what HLF do and expect collapse of their current business model, but I'm sitting out earnings. Happy, Snappy?
You keep repeating that HLF is an income opportunity with low startup cost. What you fail to acknowledge is what every brick-and-mortar retailer has to face; Competitive pricing, especially from online resellers.
If somebody came to your neighbourhood and gave everybody an opportunity to open a book store for a $60-$100 startup cost, you'd probably see a lot of interested folk. Now you have a bunch of bookstores in your neighbourhood. Those who didn't take the offer are your potential customers.
Those new book stores need product. This is the first "catch" to the business opportunity: All bookstores have to choose inventory from the same publisher, furthermore from the same author.
The new bookstore owners begin buying inventory and come to the second "catch" to the business opportunity; Volume discounts. Some bookstore owners can afford to place an initial order large enough to give them 50% off retail, leaving those who cannot afford to do so disadvantaged. The volume buyers can now undercut the non-volume buyers.
Time to find customers! Since the business opportunity didn't supply a physical store, some bookstore owners pool resources and open one, only they cannot actually sell any books there. This bookstore is for handing out free samples and discussions about them.
Meanwhile, a third "catch" presents itself; Online resellers. The very books you're trying to sell are being sold at wholesale on Ebay and Amazon. What are the neighbourhood bookstores going to do when they cannot compete on price? Offer value-added services for free to justify their higher prices? Start a book club or offer reading lessons? Perhaps. How about offering them wholesale prices if they become a bookstore owner? Bingo!
HLF must revoke Distributorship from all involved in the scheme. The 60 "victims" may not have broken laws, but they clearly broke HLF rules when they allegedly paid for HLF products which were obviously undercutting the prices they usually expect. Trying to gain an unfair advantage over other suffering Distributors.
Perhaps the "victims" brokered prices to make selling on eBay possible? Those supply and demand questions surrounding HLF sold at Amazon, eBay and variants still nag.
That covers part of it, but what of some sellers on these unauthorised channels that have seemingly constant inventory? It implies a grey/black market is serving whom? If it were simply consumer demand, then why can't most Distributors find buyers, even at or below cost? It doesn't make sense and there's likely more to it.
So, why is there so much HLF product constantly being sold at or below wholesale through unauthorised channels, anyway? It raises a multitude of questions.
It's a problem of the MLM model. Amazon and eBay have hurt brick and mortar, and HLF Distributors are indeed that. Only within a convoluted and deceptive business opportunity which only serves HLF Corporate and the highest echelons of its MLM sales force.
Didn't WUN shut its doors this week?
I saw a bloke on YouTube offering his condolences to WUN marketers, with advise to better research your chosen mlm company. Said you should look for one whose been in business for 35 years with a star CEO and a world-renowned team of scientists.
Motives completely contrary to HLF's PR wire, pushed into mainstream news feeds.
Herbalife products will soon be on the shelves at Walgreen's, no more Nutrition Clubs, no more recruiting.
95% of they who were convinced the fraud doesn't exist in Herbalife's Business Opportunity will fail to net a profit. Many of whom after failing will blame it on themselves and perhaps their Upline support, but not Herbalife. "The products worked, the shakes are amazing, I lost weight, ran my first 5K, I had fun, made new friends, made a difference...but I didn't try hard enough. I might come back."
Greater than 95 percent fail to net profit and still not convinced it was fraud.
The greatest trick.
If that doesn't convince the recruit, then get them on the products and help them achieve a milestone, like losing weight or running their first 5K. That part is doable, and along the way the recruit is exposed to more of the community, they make friends and hear more success stories. "We're changing the world, one person at a time, wouldn't you like to be a part of that? You'd be awesome at it!"
"You heard Herbalife is a scam. I don't know about that, what I do know is that we have a Nobel Laureate engineering our products, we have a former FTC chairwoman assuring compliance, our CEO left running Disney and have top celebrities and champion sports clubs proudly using and speaking for Herbalife. You will get support, if you don't succeed, then I don't succeed."
The HLF recruiting machine works best when the business opportunity is presented within a community of Distributors. Particularly after an endorphin-releasing event, such as a fit camp or Extravaganza. Positive energy hits you from every direction, music thumping. Green is everywhere, it's the perfect colour; The brand, environment, nutrition and money. Success surrounds; "See that guy? He just bought his 3rd house...with cash. See her? She used to live on Food Stamps, now she has a driver and her kids go to Darlington. She's also in my Upline, awesome mentor, awesome support."
"Davey Johnson" replied to me last year under a SA article when I asked what it takes to make $5000 a month from retailing alone vs recruiting.
"Huh? Recruiting someone may yield just a sign up fee. It's way harder to recruit someone than it is to sell a customer. It's much easier to set up a person to order on their own and order monthly than it is to make a dist earn the same amount at 5 to 25% of what they do. Getting 10 clients on the product is not that hard. A fit camp, a weight loss challenge, I've seen those go upwards to a couple hundred people. Your example of 40 is fairly close, with tax and shipping, it's more like 42% of the total sales price instead of 50%, but close, you pass through 100% of those costs, but you don't get a margin on tax and S&H." -Davey Johnson
So, you'd have to sell 50 Advanced Packages at full suggested retail ($250) a month to net $5000 before S&H and business expenses. That's 50 monthly customers not asking for a discount, full-in on the Herbalife variety of supplements, some of whom you're providing wellness coaching and consultations for.
Advanced Packages sell on eBay for $124.99 Buy It Now, less at auction. Retailing is absolutely not a sustainable business model.
...it comes from the pursuit of the HLF Dream: Financial independence and wealth.
The Weight Loss industry might have only HLF which can fill sports arenas with euphoric, flag-waving, brand-wearing, screaming fans. They're not losing their minds over new shake flavours, however. They go mad to hear their business mentors speak live. About financial success, not weight loss, and how anyone who works hard and believes in themselves and Herbalife can have it, too.
Crowd goes insane.