Distribution

Distribution is one of the marketing mix elements that consists in the means and operations that provide the users or the consumers with the products of a company. This offers the place, time, size and amount utilities bringing the product closer to the customer and offering the desired quantity, usually smaller than what the manufacturer is selling.

Distribution implies two main activities:
Distribution functions: The contacts between producers and consumers decrease when using an intermediary that focuses on the offer of several producers and presents it to more users or consumers, each of them interacting only with one intermediary.

Distribution channels
A distribution channel includes all the intermediary links between manufacturer and consumer or final user. The producer and the consumer are the extremities of any distribution channel, between these being inserted one, more or no intermediary link. Therefore, the distribution channels can be :
Distribution channel functions
Distribution channel functions are specific functions of manufacturer – consumer relation. In this type of relationship there is not the problem of not fulfilling the functions, but of which member of the distribution channel will fulfill them. These can be carried through by the producer or the intermediaries from the distribution network.

The main functions are:

Distribution channel features
The distribution channel can be defined by its dimensions:
Distribution strategies
Depending of the company's objectives, it can adopt different distribution strategies. The strategy objectives can be controlling the distribution and assuring the best delivery of the products, closer to the customers through a higher number of intermediaries.
The main distribution strategies:
Market logistics
Physical distribution or logistics is the movement and handling of the products from the place where they are manufactured to the place of consumption.
From a managerial point of view, the physical distribution is the planning, implementation and control of the products flux from the origin point to the consumption point in order to satisfy customers' needs and gain profit.
Physical distribution is a part of the logistic chain, the market logistics of the producer. Besides market logistics, the producer manages also the procurement logistics that consists in transporting the goods from the supplier to the producer. So, the procurement logistics of the manufacturer is the market logistics of its supplier.

The main activities involved in market logistics are: