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What Are the 4 Types of Distribution

Summary: Choosing the right type of distribution is key for a successful product launch and you need to weigh up the cost, time and control factors to come up with the best strategy for your business.

Are you looking to put your service or product out there? Great – distribution is key in achieving a successful product launch! Let's break it down and evaluate the four types of distributions: direct, indirect, exclusive and intensive. We'll examine the pros and cons of each, so you can take the best course of action for your business. Keep reading to find out more!

What is Distribution?

You have the power to determine the success of your product launch through mindful distribution. With multiple channels available, such as physical stores, online retailers, or direct-to-consumer, you need to identify the most effective way to get your product out there and reach your target audience. Let's capitalize on this opportunity to move your product or service from production to the marketplace!

Knowing the cost and time involved in getting your product to the market, as well as how much control you'll need to have, are all essential when selecting a distribution approach. It's key to evaluate the four available strategies and make an informed decision as to which is best for your business. Let's look into them!

Direct Distribution

When it comes to selling your product or service, go straight to the source with direct distribution! You maintain maximum control by advertising and peddling directly to the customer, making no use of middlemen. You've got plenty of options – whip up an online store, set up shop in a physical location, mass mail or dial up with telemarketing. It's all up to you!

Small businesses can really benefit from direct distribution – it's an excellent way to create up-close and personal relationships with customers, as well as having total control over prices, promotions and communication. Obviously, this type of system can be expensive, since you'll need to allocate some funds to advertising and other marketing tactics. Furthermore, you'll need to stay on top of customer service and deal with all aspects of order fulfillment.

Indirect Distribution

Rather than relying on their own resources, many businesses utilize indirect distribution to reach their target customers. With this type of distribution, goods and services are sold through intermediaries such as wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. It's a great way to get your product in the hands of customers without necessarily going through the hassle and expense of interacting with them directly.

Indirect distribution is a great option for those who want to reach a broader audience without spending too much on marketing and customer service. Something to keep in mind though is that you won't have the same level of control over the process and establishing your own connections with clients may be tricky. On top of that, there could be commissions charged by intermediaries which can really dent your profits.

Exclusive Distribution

With exclusive distribution, companies focus in on one intermediary and cultivate the relationship. This strategy allows them to hone in on one channel and limit access to their product or service. It's a smart way to think about getting your product out there, since you're essentially strengthening one bond to get maximum impact.

For companies looking for budget-friendly strategies to make their products & services known, exclusive distribution is the way to go! By committing to a single partner, you can foster strong relationships and get your message out to even more consumers. While the downside to this approach is that it restricts your reach and can surrender control over pricing & advertising, the potential benefits far outweigh these drawbacks.

Intensive Distribution

Table stakes in today's market, intensive distribution offers businesses the ability to cast a wide net by using multiple channels to reach a broad range of customers. By harnessing the power of this approach, you can introduce your product or service to new markets, increase your overall sales, and achieve growth in your business. We're talking physical stores, online retailers, and direct-to-consumer strategies – all promising ways to put your product or service in the hands of more customers. Don't miss out – take advantage of intensive distribution today!

Intensive distribution comes with several benefits – it has a huge reach and can get you into new markets with ease. Plus, it's more budget-friendly than direct distribution and it doesn't involve much marketing or customer service fees. Still, managing various intermediaries can be tricky, and you can lose some control over pricing, advertising, etc. In addition, it's tough to assure that your product is consistently advertised accurately in each channel.


Getting your product out there is critical for a successful launch. Choosing the right type of distribution is crucial! From direct and indirect to exclusive and intensive, each option has its own perks and pitfalls. Weigh up the cost, time and control factors to come up with a strategy that ensures you get your product to the right people. Get it right, and you'll be on your way to success!

It's important to understand the five factors of distribution – product availability, pricing, location, promotion and product features – when selecting the right strategy for your business, so be sure to ask yourself, “what are the 5 factors of distribution?”