Chapter 8: Distribution Decisions

Chapter Summary:

In this chapter, we cover the basics of distribution, including defining what channels of distribution are, examining the key functions and parties within a distribution system, and evaluating the role distribution serves within the overall marketing strategy. Also, we look at the major types of channel arrangements and the factors affecting the creation of effective distribution channels. We conclude with a discussion of different distribution design options and look at the issues global marketers face when distributing beyond their home country.

Key Issues:

  • Importance of Distribution
  • Distribution Activities
  • Type of Channel Members
  • Why Distribution Help is Needed
  • Channel Arrangements
  • Factors in Creating Distribution Channels
  • Overall Distribution Design
  • Distribution in Global Markets

Cited References:

  1. To learn more about industrial distributors and to see a listing of the top companies see: “MDM Top Distributors List.” Modern Distribution Management. https://www.mdm.com/top_distributors.
  2. For more information on agents and brokers see Wholesale Formats in Chapter 10.
  3. For detailed discussion of the various marketing promotions available to marketers see Chapters 11 – 16.
  4. For an example of services and support offered by a wholesaler to independent retail customers see: “Our Services.” C&S Wholesale Grocers. https://www.cswg.com/services.
  5. For more details on Walmart’s requirements for potential suppliers see: “Becoming a Supplier.” Walmart. https://corporate.walmart.com/suppliers.
  6. The coronavirus pandemic strained channel relationships as the demand for many products often exceeded reduced supply. This led to a great deal of channel conflict as resellers were unable to have orders filled while manufacturers were unable to sell products to their customers. For insight on how one company dealt with this see: Paul Talbot. “Channel Conflict Erupts Anew in the Age of Covid-19.” Forbes, July 28, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultalbot/2020/07/28/channel-conflict-erupts-anew-in-the-age-of-covid-19.
  7. For more on how to identifying gray market goods and potential ramifications of these goods see: “Gray Market Goods.” Better Business Bureau – New York. https://www.bbb.org/new-york-city/get-consumer-help/articles/gray-market-goods.