When considering use of the specialty distributor channel there are both advantages and disadvantages as compared to delivering direct to retail grocers via their warehouses.  The primary disadvantages are widely known and include:

·      Additional level of product margin.  Distributors work on a margin that generally runs in the 28%-34% range.  As such, the retail shelf price will be higher when compared to that selling directly to a retailer.

·      Increased fees and costs for executing promotional programs.  Distributors now typically assess fees for most services; setting up products, setting up a promotion, processing a price change, processing retail deductions, etc.

·      Partial pass through of off invoice (OI) promotions.  Many distributors still take a full dollar value markup on products when an OI deal is offered.  For example, if the distributor takes a 28% margin equal to $3.00 on a product, the $3.00 margin will still be taken during an OI promotion when the distributor cost has decreased.  In essence, distributors may earn a higher margin during OI promotions thus reducing the impact of the promotion on the retail shelf price

·      Once retail distribution is gained after being accepted into a distributor’s warehouse, a distributor may not take kindly to a brand moving to direct distribution to a retailer serviced by that distributor.  Depending on the size and leverage of the brand, there may be subtle threats and a reluctance to push the brand once it begins moving to a direct basis.

Despite the disadvantages above, there are a number of advantages to a brand, especially a relatively new/small brand by going to a market using the distributor channel.  These advantages include:

·      Eased access to retail chain buyers.  Account executives at distributors generally have a very good relationship with the category buyers at the retailers on which they call.  This may provide more opportunities to present the brand’s products to retail buyers.

·      Increased store services.  If the distributor serves the retailer on a full service basis, they will provide in-store reps who will help cut-in new distribution, ensure tags are generated, place product orders, stock shelves and help set up in-store promotions.  Good distributor reps can help sales grow by preventing out of stock situations, loss of shelf space and building display.

·      Distributors with their economies of scale with delivery can get product to retail stores and on the shelves more economically than a manufacturer can.

·      Shipping to distributors will involve larger quantities than if you shipped to the individual retailers serviced by the distributor, even if you shipped directly to the retailer’s warehouse and especially if you shipped DSD (direct store delivery).  Larger shipping quantities reduce freight per case and the amount of freight attributed to the cost of your product.

Use of distributor’s can translate to faster growth.  Specialty distributors have their own shelf space allocation in each category that they supply.  It’s generally easier to become a “favored” brand and included in the distributor’s portfolio when presenting to a retailer than seeking distribution in the retailer’s main set.    


Lee Justin
01/15/2013 02:17

Great one!! It's very helpful for my final exam!! ;D

10/25/2014 04:00

Advantage and disadvantage using this is important in the market to share the various distributor and make a good investment.

06/19/2015 00:36

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07/21/2015 17:17

Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and also the rest of the website is extremely good.

11/27/2015 11:39

In essence, distributors may earn a higher margin during OI promotions thus reducing the impact of the promotion on the retail shelf price.

12/21/2015 02:18

Distributor channel is good to use! Try it ;)

01/10/2016 05:15

There are a lot of advantages. I should try it.

02/18/2016 14:03

Very Interesting !! I appreciate your blog its a interesting and it attract other peoples to read this blog.

03/21/2016 17:42

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas on this one. Please keep posting about such articles as they really spread useful information.Thanks for this particular sharing. I hope it stays updated, take care

04/09/2016 06:20

Use of distributor’s can really translate to faster growth! I agree here with you!

04/16/2016 04:01

It's terrific you have update it.thank you.I discovered this is an informative and also fascinating article.

05/07/2016 02:52

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05/22/2016 07:17

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Whatever we have in our life expected of some relations in this world they are having some advantages and disadvantages. That we should have to decide about that thing that is that having more advantages are disadvantages.


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