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Amway Forever: The Amazing Story of a Global Business Phenomenon by Kathryn A. Jones

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Entrepreneurs in India

In the 1990s, Amway spread deeper into Central America, Latin America, and Asia. One of its biggest international markets next to China was India, which Amway launched in May 1998. It became another case in which a business model that worked in one country didn’t translate to another.

For example, in Australia, Amway set up one warehouse that delivered nationwide. Amway planned to do something similar in India. It set up five offices in major cities with the expectation that 20 percent of its distributors would pick up products there and the rest would order online and take home deliveries. In 2010, the opposite was true—about 80 percent picked up from the centers. Indian consumers liked to visit stores, touch, and look at the products. Now Amway has 130 offices and 55 warehouses. “I think if there is one big learning, it is to adapt rather than impose a model from the outside,” William S. Pinckney, managing director and CEO of Amway India, explained. “India can put all your assumptions under a scanner.”19 Indian consumers also wanted multiple sizes of products—large, medium, small, and samples. Amway also began marketing “great value” products. “It’s the only market where we have coconut oil,” Pinckney added. “We realized that it will be easier selling some of these products and then start migrating people to other products.”20 Unlike in Japan, where consumers tended to be online savvy and commonly used computers to order products, Amway had to set up a ...

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