Distribution Channel

A distribution channel is the path that a product or service takes on its way from the vendor to the customer. Distribution channels can range from relatively simple to extremely complex ones and include any number of intermediaries such as partner businesses, distributors, and retailers.

Distribution channels can generally be split into two categories:

  • Direct distribution channels, where the manufacturer sells directly to the consumer.
  • Indirect distribution channels, where multiple intermediaries are involved in getting a product from the manufacturer to the consumer.

A distribution channel’s sole purpose, whether direct or indirect, is to provide a solution to the challenge that is getting a product or service from A to B as seamlessly as possible—something that is often easier said than done. To achieve this, brands often develop channel strategies for their products and services based on a variety of factors and steps that form part of their distribution processes.

Distribution Channel Examples:

Distribution Channel FAQs

What is a distribution channel? 

A distribution channel is the path through which goods and services travel from the manufacturer or service provider to the end customer. It includes intermediaries such as wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and agents.

What are the types of distribution channels? 

Types of distribution channels include direct channels (direct to consumers), indirect channels (involving intermediaries like retailers or wholesalers), and hybrid channels (combining direct and indirect approaches).

Which type of distribution channel is best?

Businesses should select their distribution channels based on factors such as the nature of the product and the target market.