You might be familiar with MLMs in the USA, but do you know what the network marketing landscape looks like in Asia?
If you’re living in Southeast Asia, you probably know the Cosway logo. They’ve been around for forty years, and they have thousands of stores located in famous shopping districts and malls across the region. It’s possible you didn’t even know they were a direct marketing company until now!
In this Cosway review, we’ll dive into the background and business practices of this Malaysian-founded MLM. Read on to learn if Cosway is the right place to put your time and hard-earned money.
Cosway: Their Model Explained
Cosway (formally known as Cosway Corporation limited) has been in business since 1979. Though it has its roots firmly in Malaysia, the company has expanded into nearby Asian countries like Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The company has hundreds of physical stores in urban and rural centers across Malaysia and close to 2,000 across the region.
Cosway labels itself a “hybrid consumer marketing” company, and in many ways, that’s true. Its sales model is a mix of retail outlets and online stores, product stockists, and direct-seller representatives (who Cosway calls “smart earners”). They also offer the opportunity for Cosway members to run their physical stores, giving them a 5 percent commission on all products sold.
Cosway manufactures and sells a wide range of consumer and health products, from cosmetics and fragrances to household cleaning products and dietary supplements. In keeping with the MLM tradition, the company requires their “smart earners” to buy Cosway products, introduce them to others through direct selling or running an online store, and bring on new members.
What’s Attractive About Cosway?
If you’re considering creating an MLM business, maybe Cosway’s the one for you? They’re certainly some things well, at least in their key markets.
Well Established in Malaysia
For an MLM, Cosway has a very long history in Malaysia. Its decades-long existence rivals historic network marketing companies like NutraLife (started in the 1940s) and Mary Kay (in the 1960s).
Because the company has been around for so long, it has reasonably good brand recognition. That’s something you can use to help you sell their products. They also rebranded in 2016 and now have a clean, though still identifiable logo, sleek website and online store, and comprehensive marketing materials.
What if you’re not based in Malaysia? If you live in a country in the East Asia region, Cosway is likely to be well recognized there, too.
Wide Range of Quality Products
Cosway has an enormous line of household, cosmetics, nutrition, and food MLM products. You could almost use their products exclusively to stock your home, outside of having to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. The good news about an extensive product range is that you can choose to focus on a niche you’re passionate about–say, fragrances–or you can sell a bit of everything.
Cosway also promotes eco-friendly living, claiming that their products are “healthier, safe, and greener.” On their website, the company notes that all their products are free from:
- Synthetic colorants
- Nitrates and SLS
They also state that their products are tested to comply with international standards and are run subject to rigorous quality control measures.
Events, Incentives, and Support
A key motivator for people joining MLMs is the sense of community. Once you’ve signed up, you have access to a wide array of monthly and yearly events, as well as support from your up-line (the network marketers who’ve been there longer than you).
And there are certainly a lot of exciting events to attend if you’re part of Cosway!
Cosway celebrated its 40th anniversary in late 2019 with an extravagant gala night attended by hundreds of people. They partner with local charities, organize blood drives, hold regular membership and sales incentives, and put on luxurious product line launch parties.
The company notes on their website that they provide staff with professional training and a multitude of resources. Though there is no information on what that might look like, they have some product brochures available for download.
Cosway: What to Be Wary Of
Of course, like a lot of MLMs, Cosway looks like an exciting business to be a part of. From the outside. Let’s peer under the covers and dissect some of their less promising practices.
Recruit to Earn
Unlike some MLMs, at least Cosway is somewhat transparent when it comes to the way it operates.
While the company does list some details about membership (what they call “becoming a smart earner”) on its website, visitors are encouraged to enquire if they want to learn more. If they click a link to learn more about the online Cosway business opportunity, they’ll find the requirements for starting a Cosway business. These include having sold a certain number of products within the month of application and recruiting two new members (who also need to have sold products).
There are no details on the product buy-in required of new members (only membership is mentioned), nor does the company explain how people move up through the levels listed on its website in the form of bonuses.
A Lot of Competition
Cosway claims that its customers come back again and again due to their retail stores’ high availability. But it’s those retail stores that might make business more difficult for new member-sellers.
Since Cosway has retail stores selling Cosway products, online business operator opportunities, and person-to-person selling as part of its model, there’s a lot of competition for customers. And if you’re adhering to the requirements to recruit new members to earn higher bonuses, the city or region you work in will soon be flooded with Cosway sellers.
And, of course, you’ll be competing in the open marketplace for sales. Does Cosway training really prepare you to stand out against experienced online marketers?
Exploring the Alternatives
Cosway has a long and trusted history in its homeland of Malaysia and further afield in other parts of Asia. Their products are well-made, and consumers recognize their brand. As far as direct selling opportunities go, it’s not a bad bet.
But no matter which entrepreneurial business you decide to pursue, you’re only going to get out what you put in. If you don’t know how to connect with your audience, you won’t get very far.
In order for you to develop your skills, you should consider taking a free or paid marketing course. There are a variety of digital marketing courses you can take from businesses that can help you enhance your skills. As of writing this, over 80,000 new marketers have taken the Online Business Builder Challenge (only $7), and that might be a good starting place for you as well.