Place: Selecting the Distribution Channels

Place (or distribution) involves all the activities which move a product (directly or through intermediaries) from its place of production at the point of sale and to the hands of the end user.


Direct distribution means that the producer acts as a salesperson as well. For example, a graphic designer may choose to produce the desired-by-the-customer product (e.g. logo) and perform the sale by self without any intermediaries or a need for a retail location.
Indirect distribution means that the product can only reach the place of sale through various intermediaries, such as wholesalers, distributors and retailers. This usually refers to brands found in grocery stores, pharmacies or online marketplaces and platforms (e.g. Amazon and apps stores)

Today, contemporary consumers have a variety of shopping options. They can buy products online, through marketplace channels (e.g. ebay), through a sales professional or at retail locations. The suitability of each channel requires careful market research to determine the target group’s preferred way(s) of shopping.

Such research outcomes will then provide the appropriate methodology of making the product available to the intended end user. For instance, it is very important that the distribution channel should ensure proximity to the target group and a wide reach and availability of products to the selected target market.

The following factors should also be carefully considered:

  • Geographical / market coverage and online presence options 
  • Order processing methods and delivery options.
  • Warehousing management and product handling standards
  • Traffic generation, accessibility, shopping convenience and visibility at the point of sale
  • Evaluation of nearby competition on the capability to formulate and apply certain pricing tactics and to achieve a positive impact on sales and
  • Local laws and regulations which relate to the area where distribution to the end user arises

What is sometimes (incorrectly) ignored in the process of distributing the goods or service to the customer, is the needed emphasis on the recruitment and training of the people involved in sales and customer service. The Brussels Airlines advert reminds us that the distribution process and the resulting shopping experience should always involve qualified people with passion and a genuine smile!