What is Channel Design? Intermediaries

  • Post last modified:10 August 2023
  • Reading time:16 mins read
  • Post category:Sales Management
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What is Channel Design?

Channel design is a strategic technique utilised by organisations to distribute assets to the marketplace through direct and indirect channels or routes. Direct channels usually includes e-trade platforms, at the same time, as indirect channels may be a mixture of partners, distributors, and marketplaces.

Companies optimise their channel blend primarily based totally on segmentation, cost, margin considerations, and broader strategic commercial enterprise goals. The channel design is provided as a marketer’s desire and calls for you to configure the channel from scratch or regulate a current channel.

The term design implies that the marketer is consciously and actively allocating the distribution tasks to develop an efficient channel. Finally, channel design has a strategic implication, as it will be used as a strategic tool for gaining a differential advantage.

Manufacturers and producers, wholesalers and stores are all confronted with channel layout choices. Producers and producers “examine” channels. Retailers are “searching” at channels; however, wholesalers-intermediaries are searching at channel design from each perspective.

This bankruptcy offers handiest with the producer and the producer’s factor of view. Channel design choices are vital due to the fact they decide the marketplace presence of a product and the accessibility of the product to buyers. Channel choices are strategically even extra vital as they contain long-time period efforts. It has typically less complicated to alternate fees and promotions than to alternate advertising channels.

Based on Structure

Whenever designing a distribution channel, there are many factors in consideration. One of them is how close the company is to its target market. The other is the expansion plans of the company and how expansion will require a deeper distribution network. Thus, to establish a distribution plan, a company needs to decide on a channel structure.

Consumer Channel Structure

The customer channel structure is typically used inside the FMCG marketplace or the long lasting customer items marketplace. This channel shape is thought for the diverse varieties of factors at the distribution community. Let us test every participant inside the distribution community and their position inside the channel shape.

From top to bottom, those are the gamers that decide the channel structure.

  • Manufacturer: This is the determined business enterprise that desires to promote its product to its give-up clients and construct distribution channels.

  • Dealer: This is the very last touch between the producer and the customer. A business enterprise needs to have a factor of sale with a view to promote a product and display its abilities to its clients. Companies such as Bose have many corporations that promote their product immediately to their give-up clients.

  • Wholesalers: Wholesalers are individuals who purchase stock from producers in bulk and resell it to stores. For FMCG product, the wholesaler is answerable for breaking the majority and the customer sturdiness is the duty of the complete region.

  • Agent or Broker: An agent or broking is someone who makes a transaction between a store and a business enterprise, or between a wholesaler and a business enterprise. He gets a small rate to technique the transaction. Brokers also can be C & Fs (providers and freight providers). This may be the 1/3 stage of channel shape.

  • Consumers: People who purchase product from stores. Therefore, primarily based totally on those actors, the customer channel shape may be configured with unique cloth flows.

Intensity of Channel Design

As noted earlier, the variety of stages in a channel can variety from the huge direct (producer user) 1 to 3 stages, relying on numerous factors. After the variety of stages has been determined, every business enterprise ought to decide the variety of intermediaries at every stages of the channel. This increases the problem of the energy of the distribution. Sales energy refers back to the variety of intermediaries at every stages of the advertising channel. Suppose the fridge producer chooses a one-layer shape including the producer, supplier, and customer.

The dedication of distribution energy in this situation is associated with the variety of outlets promoting the business enterprise’s product. In different words, whether or not a small variety of outlets is outsourced to distribute or a big variety of outlets are developed to distribute the business enterprise’s product. In short, in relation to income intensity, groups have three wide options.

Intensive Distribution Policy

Intensive distribution coverage refers to sale of product via a totally big variety of outlets. These coverage ambitions at giving most publicity to the product on the market inside the marketplace. Generally, the manufacturers of comfort items, which includes gentle drinks, cigarettes, eggs, bread, rest room soap, biscuit, toothpaste, chewing tobacco, etc., undertake the coverage of extensive distribution.

All those product have low unit charge however are bought often and feature big turnover. The motive of this coverage is to attain all capability customers and now no longer leave out a single income opportunity.

Selective Distribution Coverage

As the call implies, this coverage limits the variety of outlets that bring product. Therefore, in assessment to using all feasible intermediaries, cautious choice on the factor of sale while a product is offered is made at a specific degree.

Manufacturers of purchases, which includes fabrics, fans, washing machines, cool boxes, televisions, mopeds and scooters (purchases that clients are inclined to pay extra) normally, choose selective distribution. This coverage is appropriate for branded product as clients of branded product are predicted to technique the channels utilised by the business.

This coverage is much less costly than a centralised income coverage due to the fact advertising groups do now no longer should distribute their efforts to many retailers, inclusive of many marginal retailers. It additionally lets in producers to gain ok marketplace insurance with more countermeasures.

Exclusive Distribution Coverage

This coverage offers a confined variety of dealers the extraordinary proper to promote the agency’s product of their respective areas. Within the framework of this directive, among the producer and the distributor, the producer guarantees to promote the product solely through the distributor of the whole marketplace, and the distributor monopolises the producer.

Serve the processed product and serve the marketplace. Arrangements with intermediaries are known as selling agency. However, if such an association is made among the producer and the distributor, its miles referred to as a wholesale-range distributor and a retail-degree distributor.

Exclusive income rules are mainly appropriate for slow-moving, costly product that require consumer provider. Therefore, many producers of mopeds, scooters, automobiles, trucks, etc., have an extraordinary distribution coverage for his or her product. Maruti Udyog Ltd., Ashok Leyland, Bajaj Scooters, Lohia Machines Ltd. For example, we have appointed dealers/vendors in specific areas to promote our products.

Exclusive distribution coverage offers producers most manage over prices, advertisements, and extra. Therefore, exclusive distribution is normally completed while the producer extra competitive sales with the aid of using a salesperson, or while its miles are taken into consideration crucial to manage of distribution.

Another gain of more sales is the ends in supplier specialisation and stepped forward after provider to customers. However, there can be a hassle running with the supplier. Therefore, this deployment calls for cautious control of channel members. In our country, they had been declared anti-competitive with the aid of using the MR Commission.

Type of Intermediaries

Intermediaries, also known as distribution intermediaries, marketing intermediaries, or middlemen, are an extremely crucial element of a company’s product distribution channel. This is due to the fact the salesperson is an outside group, person, or agency that lets in the Intermediaries to supply the product to the more user. A supplier is, for example, a salesperson who buys and resells a product. There are four generally recognised broad groups of intermediaries as:


Agent or broker is a person or agency that acts as an extension of a production agency. Your important task is to symbolise the producer while promoting product to customer. They do not longer very own the product without delay, however they do very own it inside the income process. They make an income through commissions.


They take possession of products and goods that are intermediaries. They are impartial and very own the product they promote. Wholesalers do no longer manage small portions of products. They purchase in bulk and save their product of their warehouses and wait till they are resold.

Wholesalers do not often promote to quit users. Rather, they promote their product to different intermediaries, consisting of stores, at a better fee than they paid. Therefore, it does now no longer work with fee structures such as sellers do.


Distributor acts like a wholesaler in that it owns, stores, and profitably sells its product to stores or different intermediaries. However, the principle distinction is that vendors are partnering with complementary product.

For example, Coca-Cola vendors do now no longer promote Pepsi product. The opposite is likewise true. This lets you to have a deeper dating together along with your provider than with a wholesaler.


Stores are available lots of shapes and sizes, from horn supermarkets to big chains such as Walmart and Target. Regardless of size, stores purchase product from marketplace agents and promote them without delay to quit clients for income.purchase product from marketplace agents and promote them without delay to quit clients for income.

Factors Considered in Selecting Channels

With the changing consumption patterns of consumers in recent years, more small and medium retailers are being used to make spot purchases. The role of the distributor in supporting the point of sale industry is substantial. It needs to ensure the delivery of products with wide geographical coverage along with offering a product mix customised for each retailer at competitive prices at the same time.

The need of the hour is to develop flawless logistics to ensure that the products reach the point of sale. Thus, the role of logistics is to provide the right quantity of a product to the right places where there is a demand for it at the right time. The challenge of product delivery using the least cost and possible time requires even higher efficiency levels. This has given birth to software tools that are specialised in this segment combined with advanced systems and processes that are customised for different product profiles.

The large growth in the use of the warehouse management system, automated inventory controls, data collectors, routing systems and trackers increase the speed and safety of the distribution process. It is important for organisations to develop a framework that enables them to achieve operational excellence by adopting a distribution network that aligns with their strategic goals.

Nowadays, customers are seeking more value and logistics can meet the value by integrating the 3 R’s which are:


In the current economic environment, customers across markets are reducing their inventory holdings. Just-in time (JIT) practices are catching up across industries ranging from car manufacturing to retailing. Therefore, it becomes imperative for suppliers to fulfil the completed orders at agreed times. The focus of any successful logistics strategy should be on reliability.


The importance of quick response cannot be undermined in today’s marketplace. Organisations need to respond in shorter lead times with agility and maximum flexibility. A logistics strategy should focus on shipping and transporting smaller quantities with speed directly to the point of consumption.


The idea of single sourcing has been catching up lately as consumers desire to reduce their supplier base, thereby taking advantage of reduced costs, improved quality and integrated scheduling of production and deliveries.

A good example of a logistics partnership is the growing use of vendor-managed inventory. This enables the supplier to be more responsible for the flow of product into the customer’s operations. For such systems to operate effectively, there must be a mutual understanding between the supplier and buyer.

Factors that typically have an impact on the selection of distribution channels may be divided into 4 groups:

  • Market considerations
  • Product considerations
  • Intermediate considerations
  • Business considerations
Article Source
  • Connett, B., Abratt, R., & Cant, M. (2010). Sales management. Sandton, Johannesburg: Heinemann.

  • Jobber, D., Lancaster, G., & Le Meunier-Fitzhugh, K. (2019). Selling and Sales Management. Harlow, United Kingdom: Pearson Education, Limited.

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