Place in the marketing model refers to how your product or service reaches the customer. It involves not only how you make the sale, but how your distribution system. There are many factors to consider in sales and distribution. You need a well-thought-out plan for conducting the sale and distributing (delivering) your product to the customer. Here are some questions to consider:
- Is your sales approach highly persuasive and emotional? Or, is it informational and low-keyed?
- What is the average length of the sales cycle?
- How many products can you produce in what time frame?
- How many products can you store, or what is your inventory capacity? Use sales forecasts to decide what your inventory levels should be in order to meet customer demands.
- How often will you "turn" or replenish your inventory? How does this compare with the standards in your industry?
- What are the cyclical fluctuations or seasonal changes that affect the demand for or production of your products? For example, if you produce Christmas decorations, how will you manage peak production and sales periods as well as slow periods?
- Describe your distribution channel. In other words, how will your products be delivered or distributed to the customers?
For relatively small sales, such as selling your paintings through a local gallery, the distribution method is such a routine part of the sales contact that it requires only a small amount of thought and description. (In this scenario, the painting is displayed and stored at the gallery, the sales approach is probably low-pressure and informational, and the painting is given to the customer at the time of the sale.) At other times, such as when an order is taken over the Internet and the product is mailed, more planning and description of the entire approach is in order.
At first glance, it may seem like the more convenient and available your product is, the better. This isn't always true, however. Often, it's better to be more selective, even exclusive, about sales locations for your product. Take every opportunity to think strategically.
|Wide Availability||Limited Availability|
Use all suitable distribution channels. Example: Brand name chewing gum is available at a wide variety of retail outlets.
Use channels meeting certain criteria only. Example: Mont Blanc pens are sold only in upscale retail stores.
Retailer or channel is granted exclusive rights. Example: Body Shop products are available only in their stores or from their catalogs.
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