Door to door salesman can still make a reasonable living over here, if they have the right product (something with a high markup, limited alternative suppliers, and preferably an exclusive appeal to it) and a good area to cover. There isn’t much point in touting your wares to families stuck in two room flats, if you are selling water filtration systems that cost thousands of dollar for example. However, if you are covering the Left Bank side of Astana, have already sold to your potential customers’ friends or family, and are selling something where the competing products have not had any next generation style improvements for decades, you could be on to something.
Conversely, Irina and I have often said that manufacturers could often really do well by getting suppliers to encourage normal high street shops to take a few models of devices that just have not yet made it over to Central Asia. As an example, vax vacuum cleaners can probably make quite an impact over here. Why? Because I can think of five households here where door to door salesmen convinced the owners to buy a vacuum cleaner that cost upwards of $1200!
Whilst they do work OK (three of the households ended up then buying a competing manufacturers similarly over priced vacuum cleaner though, again door to door), compared to some of the models I’ve seen and used in Britain, they do seem heavy and priced quite un-competitively (if only there was some competition here!). If some of the models popular in Europe and America were introduced here, I think the door to door people would have to find a new niche area to target those with a decent amount of expendable income.
Dyson could have definitely also make a big impact on the vacuum market here, Irina and I even once looked into the cost of buying one in Moscow and getting it shipped over!
Anyway, whilst I may have had ideas about looking at sole distribution rights for Dyson or Vax in the past, as ever the thoughts regarding customs duties, paperwork and greasing the right palms put me off the idea. That and a distinct lack of capital needed to start up a venture like that!