Distribution Channel

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DEFINITION of 'Distribution Channel'

The chain of businesses or intermediaries through which a good or service passes until it reaches the end consumer. A distribution channel can include wholesalers, retailers, distributors and even the internet. Channels are broken into direct and indirect forms, with a "direct" channel allowing the consumer to buy the good from the manufacturer and an "indirect" channel allowing the consumer to buy the good from a wholesaler. Direct channels are considered "shorter" than "indirect" ones.

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BREAKING DOWN 'Distribution Channel'

Goods and services often pass to consumers through multiple channels. While increasing the number of ways in which a consumer can find a good has the potential to increase sales, it also creates a complex system that can make distribution management difficult. In addition, the longer the distribution channel the less profit a product manufacturer might get from the sale.

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RELATED FAQS
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    The advantages of having fewer distribution channels is that a company can focus on becoming a dominant expert in a few distribution ... Read Full Answer >>
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    A direct distribution channel is organized and managed by the firm itself. An indirect distribution channel relies on intermediaries ... Read Full Answer >>
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