Small Business Marketing – Distribution Strategies
What exactly is the product distribution? Distribution, in simple terms, is how you make sure that your goods or services are accessible to as many potential buyers as possible. In the most simple possible distribution scheme, you simply sell your goods directly to the consumer. There aren’t any warehouses, no third-party stores, etc.
Identifying Distribution Strategies
But what kinds of distribution strategies do we use in our lives every day? How often have you bought something from a supermarket shelf or a local shop? How often have you paid for a product from your credit card bill?
Many of us are fairly comfortable with this sort of transaction because it is generally a one-time affair and therefore not too expensive either. And we are also fairly used to dealing with the people at the counter, sometimes known as the cashier.
But what about those of us, who find ourselves shopping for a wide range of goods regularly? This prospect can present challenges to even the steadiest of consumers, and the product distribution strategies manufacturers employ can very often help. Take the example of supermarkets.
Just as we can shop online or through mail-order catalogs, we can also go into a supermarket, select what we want to buy, pay for it, and pick it up when we wish to. This is why you rarely find supermarkets worried about online sales, and they won’t go through hoops or use SpotifyStorm for content marketing to engage their customers. They know their consumer base.
This Convenience Comes With A Price
For starters, there are now hundreds of different types of products available in supermarkets. Everything from frozen food to organic food to clothing can be found there.
While it may seem easier to simply select from a large selection of fresh produce, it can take a while for even the biggest of consumers to narrow down the choices to two or three good options.
And even then, these options don’t always offer the best prices. As a result, most consumers end up overpaying for their chosen groceries.
And what about those of us who live in towns or regions where we have a rather limited choice of grocery stores? Here again, it may be easier to drive a few miles out of our way to find good sales in town.
But once we find a few options, the task of sorting through them becomes a big hassle. Fortunately, product distribution strategies manufacturers have come up with solutions to make this process less difficult.
The majority of these strategies involve setting up sole proprietorship warehouses. In a sole proprietor warehouse, the manufacturer keeps control of the distribution process, choosing only the products that can be sold under his brand name.
Products that will not be sold under his name will be stored in specialized, dedicated distribution warehouses. These warehouses are sometimes located in different locations around the country, allowing consumers to make one-stop shopping and not have to drive from town to find the product they want.
Some companies employ a mixed bagged distribution strategy. By creating a mix of distribution channels (such as selective distribution with a main warehouse and intensive distribution with warehouses), a manufacturer can increase profitability while also increasing the number of products made available nationwide. Selective distribution allows the consumer to visit a store anywhere in the country and buy directly from the manufacturer.
Intensive distribution is a more complicated mix but involves using several distribution channels to bring the consumer to the store. The consumer may drive around town to different stores and find the one that sells the product he wants; then he might drive back home to get the rest.
The Bottom Line
There are many product distribution strategies available, but none of them is a sure bet. When it comes to small business marketing strategies, the best strategy is probably to try many of them until you find one that works.
If you’re already established, there’s no need to change your strategy too often. However, if you’re just getting started, take a look at your competition’s product distribution strategies to see how they’ve been successful.
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