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A business that does not have a solid distribution network is built on very weak soil. Of what use will it be to have the best product, best packaging and the best team without having a distribution network that sells this product? Many businesses make waves, not because they have the best product or offer the best service, but due to the effective distribution channel that they have.

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Newstreaming defines a product distribution network asthe collection of resources and entities that form the path your products take to your markets. Simply put, it is the channel your product passes through to get to the market for which it is meant. It is also referred to as a channel of distribution.

So how do you set up an effective product distribution network? In this article, I provide a step-by-step approach to achieving this result.

Consider your customers

Without your customers, your business cannot exist. They are always right and should be given that priority status. Where are these customers located? How can you reach them? Are they ready to walk into your store and purchase your product, or can they simply order online? You must answer these questions, as they will guide you in choosing what distribution channel will work best.

Choose your distribution channel

Depending on the geographical locations you want your products to be in, you must choose a distribution channel that works best. If you will be doing global distribution, ensure you take the time to investigate the shipping routes.

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For nationwide and local deliveries, engage a flexible and reliable logistics service. You do not want to be at a loss due to the incompetencies of some logistics companies. Choose wholesalers and professional distributors that can effectively distribute your products.

You will also want to create healthy relationships with your chosen channels. You will probably be in business with them for a long time.

Optimize your distribution channels

Just establishing distribution channels for your products is not a one-off thing. You must constantly monitor them to ensure they give you the desired results. Some of your channels might be performing better than others.

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You are responsible for taking note of the underperforming ones, investigating the reason behind their ineffectiveness, and making a switch if and when necessary. Also, take note of the well-performed, and encourage them to do even better. Weigh the pros and cons of each network and draw your conclusions.

Expand your distribution channels

When starting, your priority should be to start small, so you don’t get too overwhelmed with your distribution channels. For instance, you can’t start selling honey right now in one of the remote places on Lagos Mainland and expect to start exporting to China immediately. Grow your brand first. Then, one of your expansion moves can be to expand your distribution channels with time.

Take it a step at a time. You will probably not get everything right in the first attempt, but start somewhere. Have your customers in mind and make your decisions based on what they will appreciate in terms of cost, flexibility and convenience, amongst other things.

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This article was first published on 17th October 2022


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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