Prioritizing Distribution Options

In some cases, a small business can pursue distribution into several different channels. However, most small businesses must prioritize distribution channel and sales force options over several years of growth and evolving resources for the company. For example, food supplements and vitamins are sold through a multitude of channels, including:

It is not always possible for a company, small or large, to take advantage of all possible channels that match the marketing strategy it wants to achieve. Financial considerations aside, it may be wise to prioritize the orderly development and attack each distribution channel in order of easiest entry and least competitive resistance, for example.

Other factors such as geographic proximity, ability and availability of management to control many different channels simultaneously, availability of experienced sales reps, marketing experience by channel, competitive strengths by channel, manufacturing capacities, and product life cycles by channel should be considered.

For small companies, key factors to prioritize your choice of channels include a shorter list:

See the following case studies for examples of how business owners make distribution decisions: