Distribution (or place) is one of the four elements of the marketing mix. Distribution is the process of making a product or service available for the consumer or business user who needs it. This can be done directly by the producer or service provider, or using indirect channels with distributors or intermediaries. The other three elements of the marketing mix are product, pricing, and promotion.
Decisions about distribution need to be taken in line with a company's overall strategic vision and mission. Developing a coherent distribution plan is a central component of strategic planning. At the strategic level, there are three broad approaches to distribution, namely mass, selective or exclusive distribution. The number and type of intermediaries selected largely depends on the strategic approach. The overall distribution channel should add value to the consumer.
Distribution is fundamentally concerned with ensuring that products reach target customers in the most direct and cost efficient manner. In the case of services, distribution is principally concerned with access. Although distribution, as a concept, is relatively simple, in practice distribution management may involve a diverse range of activities and disciplines including: detailed logistics, transportation, warehousing, storage, inventory management as well as channel management including selection of channel members and rewarding distributors.