It is important to make sure your product or service is available in the right place at the right time and in the right quality. This section highlights the areas you need to consider in getting your product or service to your customer.
2. Right place, right time
What are your customers’ expectations and preferences about where, when, how and how often they purchase products or services like yours?
Just like pricing, where or how people can get your product or service says a lot about its quality and ‘status’.
Let’s look at some examples:
If you’re selling high quality, high priced items, an exclusive boutique or specialist online retailer is more appropriate that the local supermarket.
If you’re selling online, the speed and ease of using your website sets the customers’ expectations.
A painter and decorator turning up in a dirty van with no ladder and just one old paintbrush will be seen in a very different way from someone who starts the job in a smart, clean overall and has all their own tools.
Think about your customers’ language preferences too. Are they more comfortable speaking Welsh or another language? In Wales, for example, do they favour businesses that offer a bilingual service or that have a bilingual approach – in signage, brochures, on the website, or by just using a few words of greeting in Welsh?
3. Choosing your distribution system
The key to choosing how to distribute your products or services is to know where your customers are located.
Next assess the options available. Remember to think about what your customer expects, as well as the implications of cost, storage and delivery.
Ask yourself these questions:
- can you work from home, do you need an office or do you need to go to your customers’ premises?
- do you need to be face-to-face with your customers or can you use the internet, telephone and remote services such as video conferencing?
- do you deliver direct to the customer or through a third-party such as a wholesaler or other intermediary?
- do you have a team of franchisees or associates, or could you use party-plan?
- is your business exclusively or partly online?
- what distribution services do you need to use – postal service, delivery service or your own vehicle fleet?
- what image does your shop, factory, office or website convey?
- should you consider using Welsh suppliers or distributors?
- does your packaging reflect its origins, Welsh or other cultures – in language, visuals or colour?
Use this distribution options template (MS Word 15kb) to identify where your customers are located and to find the best way to reach them.