What are Channels of Distribution?

In the Business Buying Behavior Tutorial, we describe a supply chain as consisting of all parties and their supplied activities that help a marketer create and deliver products to the final customer. For marketers, the distribution decision is primarily concerned with the supply chain’s front-end or channels of distribution that are designed to move the product (goods or services) from the hands of the company to the hands of the customer. Obviously when we talk about intangible services the use of the word “hands” is a figurative way to describe the exchange that takes place. But the idea is the same as with tangible goods. All activities and organizations helping with the exchange are part of the marketer’s channels of distribution.

Activities involved in the channel are wide and varied though the basic activities revolve around these general tasks:

  • Ordering
  • Handling and shipping
  • Storage
  • Display
  • Promotion
  • Selling
  • Information feedback
Distribution Decisions
Type of Channel Members