International distribution involves not only the physical movement of goods between countries but also the marketing and sales of those goods to customers in your chosen foreign market. Selecting an appropriate distribution channel is fundamental in ensuring your products reach paying international customers. In this article, we aim to outline the purpose of a distribution channel in international marketing and introduce you to the factors that influence the development of an international distribution strategy. However, while this article is primarily focused on how to ensure your products reach potential customers in foreign markets, if you would like to learn more about the physical distribution of goods for exports, check out our “choosing the right mode of transport” article.
International Marketing and the Purpose of a Distribution Channel
The purpose of an international distribution channel in international marketing is to create value for potential customers by achieving several important goals. Firstly, a suitable distribution channel needs to ensure that your products are available for purchase in a convenient location for potential customers. Secondly, it should ensure that your products are available when required by potential customers and are fit for purpose, i.e. they meet customer expectations. Finally, an optimal distribution channel ensures that appropriate information on your product offering is communicated effectively to potential buyers.
Marketing for Exports and Developing a Distribution Strategy
When constructing a distribution channel for a particular foreign market, an exporter must consider several factors associated with its product, its customers, its normal business approach and the new environment in which it is planning to do business. For example, the value, the amount of after-sales support required, and the level of sophistication of your product will play a role in the distribution channel you deploy. Furthermore, your customers’ purchasing power, education levels and cultural norms will impact their buying habits. Another critical consideration is the rules and regulations of the foreign market concerned and your own company resources. The rules and regulations of the foreign market could limit you to certain distribution mechanisms, and your company’s capacity and financial resources will play a major part in your choice of distribution channel.
Understanding the international marketing environment and how best to approach marketing for exports is vital in ensuring your business’s global success. However, you should consider several crucial factors before attempting to sell your products abroad. Thankfully, Trade Forward Southern Africa, in collaboration with the International Trade Institute of Southern Africa, has created the TFSA School of Export to get you started on your export journey. Join our community, and let’s grow together! Click the links below and sign up for FREE.
To sign up to the School of Export CLICK HERE.
If you already have a profile, CLICK HERE to login to begin the module.