Utah is famous for many things. Stunning scenery, world-class ski resorts, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS, or the Mormon Church), and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir head the list.

One thing most people probably don’t know is Utah’s claim to the title of “unofficial world capital of multi-level marketing and direct sales companies.” So says Loren Israelsen, executive director of the Utah-based United Natural Products Alliance.

He said on Salt Lake City’s KUTV: “There are at least 15 MLMs in Utah County alone, generating billions in annual revenue and making direct sales the second-biggest industry in Utah behind tourism.”

For those not familiar with multi-level-marketing (MLM), here are the basics: MLMs operate like “network marketing on steroids” frequently utilized in the health and beauty, natural products, and supplement sectors. Multi-level marketing is a sales strategy in which companies encourage current distributors (“members”) to recruit new distributors.

The recruiter continues selling products, is compensated for their sales and a percentage of her recruits’ sales. The recruits in turn recruit more new members, and so on — and on — and on.

MLM lingo labels recruits on a team as a distributor’s “downline.”

Considered “high risk,” the MLM business model prevents many ecommerce merchants from landing MLM merchant accounts. Company sales get processed on a central website (often supported with multiple MLM merchant accounts in various countries).

So what makes Utah attractive to MLM industries? Let’s take a look at the Utah state culture, how it attracts MLMs, and how you can set your MLM business apart in such a saturated market.

Overview of Utah’s MLM Culture

Is there really an MLM culture in Utah? Yes, there is. Tom Wood, who works in direct sales as an investor and industry consultant, explains it this way: “It’s the same reason why most tech companies are in Massachusetts and Northern California… Talent Pool.”

He highlights two big reasons why Utah benefits from an expanding pool of multi-lingual, talented staff that create an “extraordinary customer service experience around the world:”

  1.   Nature’s Sunshine (an early Utah MLM success of the 1970s) and NuSkin (the fastest growing 1980s MLM winner)
  2.   Multi-lingual Mormon students who return to Utah after Mission

Smart Mormon students graduate from college, and then spend two years on a religious mission — often in other countries. When they return home ready to work at a career, their people and language skills provide incredible talent for direct sales companies.

Back to KUTV for more on how the Mormon culture made Utah “a hotbed for multi-level marketers.” (Utah has more MLMs per capita than any other state.)

The Mormon community in Utah also sports a large population of women who prefer to remain stay-at-home mothers. Becoming direct marketing consultants allows them to work around their family commitments and motherhood, yet still contribute financially.

Kirk Jowers, VP of corporate relations and European markets at doTERRA, agrees that stay-at-home moms make a big contribution. “It would be very difficult for doTERRA to experience the success it’s had in any other state.”

The essential oils company doTERRA employs more than 50,000 doTERRA consultants, or “wellness advocates,” in Utah alone. Multiple international MLM merchant accounts facilitate their global sales.

Set Your MLM Business Apart — Tout Payments Processing

Even if you’ve already mastered the art of marketing your ecommerce business, you still need to set your business apart from the competition in a saturated market like Utah-based MLMs. Have you ever considered using your payments processing as a growth strategy?

Think about it. Online shoppers care more about the security of their payment experience than most other factors. They won’t trust your ecommerce site blindly because security concerns trump savings.

That’s a great reason to showcase on your website the security certifications and tools employed to safeguard customer data.

Dave Yohe (the VP of Marketing at Billing Tree) says, “While it might be tempting to choose the provider offering the lowest rate, the short-term gains from saving a little money can risk longer term business revenue… When it comes to payments, data security is key.”

So while secure payments are a functional necessity for your business, they’re also a marketing benefit. Show empathy for your customers’ needs, wants, and challenges. Use the fact that you offer secure payments in your ecommerce marketing strategies.

Tout your investments in payment security to set your MLM business apart from your competition.

Another easy win accrues when you choose the right payments processor for your business. Get a leg up from day one… Work with a payments industry expert who also understands the MLM industry, and who can help protect you and your customers from fraud.


If you’re a merchant in need of one or more MLM merchant accounts, give us a call. We’d love to work with you.

Why choose us? Because we have a deep understanding of direct sales and MLM businesses, along with years of experience fulfilling the MLM industry’s payment processing needs.  We offer MLM merchant accounts; a robust, secure payments gateway; and advisory services.

At MerchACT we specialize in Utah high risk payment processing. It’s both complex and dynamic… but doesn’t have to be difficult for you.

Since high risk MLM and direct sales businesses are prone to high rates of chargebacks — higher-than-average fraud — and unpredictable sales patterns, traditional merchant account providers often turn their backs and dismiss your payment processing needs. But we won’t.

We’ll work with you to ensure you get the stable, reliable, and affordable MLM merchant accounts required for your business to prosper and grow… Along with the right combination of fraud prevention and chargeback management tools you need.

And we’ll treat you like a business partner, because our success is entwined with yours. We genuinely want to help you to succeed.