Distribution Channels


You’re making a great product and people are buying it. You’ve been implementing some of Zattatat’s recommendations to improve your manufacturing line. You’ve optimized your supply chain. That’s all you can do on the operations side, right?

No, of course not 😉

Often called “the flip-side of supply chains,” another very important consideration for your business is…

Distribution Channels

Supply chains are the networks of different companies that ultimately bring the supplies you use to make your awesome products (your forks for cats, or your edible lampshades, or your socks with illustrations that are inappropriate but only upon close inspection.)

Distribution channels, on the other hand, are the pathways by which you get the aforementioned products out to their end-users.

Princess Capybara initially didn’t know the best way to set up her distribution channels…

If you’re a regular here at Zattatat, you know that Princess Capybara is a serial entrepreneur, and that one of her best-selling products is a concrete block that people can drink wine from.

Princess Capybara and her secret wine glass
It’s called a Secret Wine Glass because it definitely conceals the fact that she’s drinking wine.

At first, Princess C. only sold her products at markets in New York City, where she lives. But since New York is a city that receives visitors from all over the world, she soon started getting requests from her customers (and their friends and relatives!) to ship the Secret Wine Glasses to other places.

Illustration of global distribution channels
There are a lot of wine lovers around the world!

It would have been easy enough to just say no and keep her business small, but Princess Capybara decided to rise to the occasion and find a way to get her Secret Wine Glasses out to people everywhere. So as usual, she paid a visit to her friend Process Cat.

Process Cat and Princess Capybara enjoying a glass of wine
He was happy to help as long as she provided a beverage in actual stemware.

Considerations for Distribution Channels

Process Cat recommended “beginning with the end in mind,” in other words, thinking about what type of purchasing experience the end users of her products would likely want. Princess was of course able to put herself in the shoes of her end users by thinking about the different types of things she buys in her business and personal life.

Princess Capybara shakes hands with customer in her highly personalized distribution channel
For big or complex purchases she wants the personal touch of dealing with a knowledgeable salesperson

Princess Capybara ordering online
But for simple and relatively inexpensive purchases, she wants the convenience of ordering online and dealing with nobody.

It took barely a minute to recognize that her Secret Wine Glasses fell into the second category, but the princess was still glad that she’d taken the time to think about it. Process Cat recommended they next think about…

Transportation and Logistics of Distribution Channels

Zattatat Gang in front of a shipping port to illustrate distribution channels
If nothing else, it’ll be a good excuse to take a business trip!

Weekly Challenge:

Are you looking to expand the distribution channels for your business? If so, your first decision is what type of purchasing experience your end user is likely to want. And come back next time to learn what other decisions you’ll need to make for your distribution channels!

Ready to learn more? Read the next article!

M.G. Rhoads shares her deep engineering

through engaging stories that make manufacturing principles easy to use and understand.

“I show makers, inventors and entrepreneurs the secrets big companies use to run a successful manufacturing line!”

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