In marketing mix, Distribution is one
of the four elements with the other three being Product, Pricing and Promotion.
In Marketing it is referred to Four
Ps, Distribution standing for Place. All the four Ps form the essentials of
marketing, one leading to another. Of
course, all are equally important. There is no meaning in heaping up products
unless you sell them; otherwise, production appears totally meaningless. The
moment you engage yourself in the production with the view to market, product
invites pricing. Marketing demands pricing of a product because marketing is
not an act of charity. Politicians may indulge in free-bies but not producers. And
the next vital act is promotion. You have to promote your product so that you
can continue in the business; otherwise starting business leads nowhere. And
finally your product must bring to you some profit, money in excess to what you
have spent in total. Product brings you money when your product reaches the
place, the consumer who buys your product.
Distribution is the long process that
takes your product to the consumer who uses your product and the process
involves distribution, or what is popularly called distribution channel.
You need to plan your distribution. In
other words, business experts talk about strategies to achieve successful
distribution. It means your product must reach the end-user in right time, in
right shape and in right quantity and quality. Business gains significance only
when the distribution is efficient. Faults in distribution will end in the
customer not getting your product in right time, resulting in a threat of the
customer leaving your company. Nothing can be more damaging to the company that
an exit of a customer from your company, or rather, from your company’s product.
Experts talk about generally three
strategies used in marketing and distribution. In terms of approach, these
three strategies are known as a) Mass Distribution b) Selective Distribution
and c) Exclusive Distribution. Let us
briefly look into these approaches.
It is also known as Intense
Distribution. As the name itself
suggests, mass distribution involves those places of distribution which have a
huge market base meaning in essence easy accessibility to products at
convenience. Examples of places with a
big market base are, understandably, supermarkets, convenience stores and other
Let us say a few words about each
A supermarket is many times bigger than traditional groceries
store. It has a vast variety of products made available conveniently placed in
different sections. For every product, variety of products will be available
neatly arranged in such a way that any customer cannot leave the place
empty-handed; either he gets what he wanted or he is temptingly introduced to
some other product of the same category. Under all circumstances, he makes a
purchase. Sale is executed.
There is Hypermarket also; much bigger and more inclusive of
services as well. Engaging children who always accompany their parents on
shopping is well-thought out business strategy; hypermarkets have children
areas for their pastime of course with their safety assured. They also provide
very important services also like mobile phone services. Even pharmacies find a
place. Something like One Stop Shop where everything a customer wants is made
available with sufficient variety.
In our next session, we shall deal with the other two approaches
to Distribution Strategies.