Once you have your first set of offering(s), whether it is a physical product or a service you are providing, you need to make sure customers will actually be able to buy and receive what you’re offering! Think about the steps a customer takes to learn about your business and to order and pay. How do you make sure they get what they paid for?

When customers are clamoring to buy what you’re selling, you need to make the process of buying and receiving as seamless as possible. You and/or your team can should have a central depository of information on customers and prospective customers and a plan of how to get what you’re promising into their eager hands. Distribution comes in many shapes and forms:

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Direct distribution

means you are providing your products or services directly to your customer through channels like mail, catalogs, internet sales, physical store locations, etc. Example: a florist.

Indirect distribution

means you have a middle party who helps you sell and deliver your products, like selling through a retailer like Target, selling through an offshore sales team, telemarketing, etc.

Deciding on a distribution model is a sticky decision that is harder to change than something like your marketing promotions. This is because distribution affects your entire business model. To select the best option for you, start by thinking through the following:

  • What channels are your direct competitors using and which ones would fit with your own business?

  • What is the most cost-effective channel?

  • Is the distribution method trustworthy? Can it get deliveries to the customer on time without damages or fraud?