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Advantages of a Distribution Channel
When a customer is considering buying a product he tries to access its value by looking at various factors which surround it. Factors like its delivery, availability etc which are directly influenced by channel members. Similarly, a marketer too while choosing his distribution members must access what value is this member adding to the product. He must compare the benefits received to the amount paid for using the services of this intermediary. These benefits can be the following:
- Cost Saving
- Time Saving
- Customer Convenience
- Customers can buy in small quantities
- Resellers help in boosting sales
- Customers receive financial support
- Resellers provide valuable information
The members of distribution channel are specialized in what they do and perform at much lower costs than companies trying to run the entire distribution channel all by itself.
Along with costs, time of delivery is also reduced due to efficiency and experience of the channel members. For example if a grocery store were to receive direct delivery of goods from every manufacturer the result would have been a chaos. Everyday hundreds of trucks would line up outside the store to deliver products. The store may not have enough space for storing all their products and this would add to the chaos. If a grocery wholesaler is included in the distribution chain then the problem is almost solved. This wholesaler will have a warehouse where he can store bulk shipments. The grocery store now receives deliveries from the wholesaler in amounts required and at a suitable time and often in a single truck. In this way cost as well as time is saved.
Including members in the distribution chain provides customer with a lot of convenience in their shopping. If every manufacturer owned its own grocery store then customers would have to visit multiple grocery stores to complete their shopping list. This would be extremely time-consuming as well as taxing for the customer. Thus channel distribution provides accumulating and assorting services, which means they purchase from many suppliers the various goods that a customer may demand. Secondly, channel distribution is time saving as the customers can find all that they need in one retail store and the retailer
Retailers buy in bulk quantities from the manufacturer or wholesaler. This is more cost effective than buying in small quantities. However they resell in smaller quantities to their customers. This phenomenon of breaking bulk quantities and selling them in smaller quantities is known as bulk breaking. The customers therefore have the benefit of buying in smaller quantities and they also get a share of the profit the retailer makes when he buys in bulk from the supplier.
Resellers often use persuasive techniques to persuade customers into buying a product thereby increasing sales for that product. They often make use of various promotional offers and special product displays to entice customers into buying certain products.
Resellers offer financial programs to their customers which makes payment easier for the customer. Customers can buy on credit, buy using a payment plan etc.
Manufacturers who include resellers for selling their products rely on them to provide information which will help in improving the product or in increasing its sale. High-level channel members often provide sales data. On all other occasions the manufacturer can always rely on the reseller to provide him with customer feedback.
- Revenue loss
- Loss of Communication Control
- Loss of Product Importance
The manufacturer sells his product to the intermediaries at costs lower than the price at which these middlemen sell to the final customers. Therefore the manufacturer goes for a loss in revenue. The intermediaries would never offer their services to the manufacturer unless they made a profit out of selling his products. They are either made a direct payment by the manufacturer, for instance shipping costs or as in the case of retailers by selling the product at costs higher than the price at which the product was bought from the manufacturer (also known as markup). The manufacturer could have sold at this final price and made a greater profit if he had been managing the distribution all by himself.
Along with loss over the revenue the manufacturer also loses control over what message is being conveyed to the final customers. The reseller may engage in personal selling in order to increase the product sale and communicate about the product to his customers. He might exaggerate about the benefits of the product this may lead to miscommunication problems with end users. The marketer may provide training to the salespersons of retail outlets but on the whole he has no control on the final message conveyed.
The importance given to a manufacturer’s product by the members of the distribution channel is not under the manufacturer’s control. In various cases like transportation delays the product loses its importance in the channel and the sales suffer. Similarly a competitor’s product may enjoy greater importance as the channel members might be getting a higher promotional incentive.
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