Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Product Distribution: The Business Owner’s Guide

The best product in the world isn’t worth much if it never reaches a customer.

That’s why distribution forms one of the four pillars of the marketing mix. Without effective distribution, your product is the proverbial tree falling in the forest. No one will ever be on the receiving end of your goods.

Product distribution word cloud

Below, we’re tackling all the aspects business owners should know about product distribution.

The Distribution Channels

When a business wants to find a distribution channel for their products, they have a range of choices.

For some businesses, the right decision may well be to manage this in house, using their own resources and implementing a transport department with a fleet of vehicles, drivers and administrators. This has its benefits and drawbacks in terms of cost, availability, customer perception and management issues.

More commonly, businesses will choose a distribution partner with a network already in place to ensure the reliable and cost effective distribution of a full range of goods, from the fragile through to the large and unwieldy. Each option has its unique considerations, benefits and disadvantages.

If you are outsourcing, choosing the right distribution partner plays an essential role in your business. Your products and services will be judged on the performance of a third party, to it is critical to ensure they have the right facilities, capabilities and processes in place to meet the expectations of your customers.

Types of Distribution

The type of distribution you choose will be guided by your products, your customers and the geographical area you need to cover. This latter point often guides a business choice; if you cover just a small area, then your own in house transportation may be the right distribution choice. If your business is national or international, most companies will need a third party logistics provider (3PL).

Size of consignment will also guide your choice. If you are shipping significant full or part loads to individual destinations, then again your own transport may be the right choice. If you are sending small, single pallet or package consignments to multiple locations, then partnering with a parcels company or a specialist pallet carrier operating through an existing national network will be the most cons effective and efficient route to follow.

Pleasing your customer should also play an important role in your choice; this may be simply by ensuring your selected partner has the right technological processes in place to keep the customer (and you) informed of progress, or in the case of larger, more expensive products, selecting a two-man delivery service to assist the customer can also play a part in total customer satisfaction.  Creating strong links with key business partners will drive up a brand’s prestige.

Your product distribution method will depend on your company’s brand and type of product. Decide this in advance before shopping for distribution companies.

Finding A Distributor

Selecting a product distributor is a matter of finding the partner who can get your product to the exact market you’re looking for. Keep your distribution types in mind to select the right partner for you.

To find a quality product distributor, you also need to consider a few other factors.

You’ll also want to select a distributor with robust communication systems. Communication errors and delays can lead to huge problems — as KFC recently found out in the UK.

A distributor’s tenure can be a good sign of their professionalism. Young companies are more likely to make basic mistakes, while older ones are unlikely to have survived as long as they have by disappointing clients.

Product Distributing Made Easy

Working with the right partner, distributing your products doesn’t need to be difficult. By keeping this information in mind, you’ll be able to choose an appropriate organisation meeting all your needs. Then you can forge a partnership that will benefit your business for a long time to come.

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