STUDENTS' CORNER - 163
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 marketing facilities.
Let us say a few words about each facility.
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.