Your Place (or distribution) Strategy makes use of your “distribution channels” as marketing tools. It helps you get your products and services to your customers in the most convenient, most pleasing manner possible for them.
Distribution channels are the paths and methods you use to get your products and services to your customers. This might include a courier service, a retail outlet for physical products, the Internet or even the telephone. It might involve shipping materials or products from your warehouse to your various branches, to other businesses, or to your franchisees. It might even involve showing up at your customer's home or place of business to perform a service on the spot. In fact, it might include any and all combinations of the above distribution channels, and more.
The strategy comes into play when you're looking for the best possible distribution method or combination of methods for your business. The place to start, of course, is with your Marketing Strategy. Ask yourself what types of conveniences your Target Market is looking for when acquiring or consuming your products or services? Then get creative with your attempts to exceed their expectations.
- Design. If your customers come to you, consider the design of your place of business. The layout should be conducive to your delivery process.
- Accessibility. How easy is it for your customers to find your products or services?
- Speed and Efficiency. Do your delivery systems work quickly and efficiently?
- Cost. Consider the costs involved with your delivery activities.
- Accuracy. Consider the accuracy of your delivery process.
- Overall Experience. Consider the overall experience of your customers.
A food manufacturing company was distributing their products through mass retailers of supermarkets. In 1998, they came out with a new line of gourmet foods and decided to distribute these higher end products through specialty stores. The idea was that the food would give busy people a chance to serve fancier meals. Before long, unfortunately, this new line of gourmet food failed. When questioning customers and specialty stores as to why, most people said that it was much more convenient going to the local supermarket than to specialty stores. The moral was that people typically go to specialty food stores for special products, not for convenience products.
How can you develop your distribution process into a marketing tool? Write your place strategy in the space.
Accounting firm "Our 'place strategy' reflects our Market Position of precision, accuracy and detail, together with a deep concern for the personal well-being of our clients. As such, we send all statements by courier and follow up with a telephone call for confirmation. When clients come in, we make sure everything is in order before they arrive so as to minimize their waiting time. Upon arrival, they are offered coffee or juice and we hang their jackets to make them more comfortable."