A key decision a business has to make about distribution is whether to sell "direct".
Direct marketing means selling products by dealing directly with consumers rather than through intermediaries.
Traditional methods include mail order, direct-mail selling, cold calling, telephone selling, and door-to-door calling. More recently telemarketing, direct radio selling, magazine and TV advertising, and on-line computer shopping have been developed.
The main advantages of selling direct are that there is no need to share profit margins and the producer has complete control over the sales process. Products are not sold alongside those of competitors either.
There may also be specific market factors that encourage direct selling:
However, there are significant costs associated with selling direct which may be higher than the costs associated with using an intermediary to generate the same level of sales.
There are several potential advantages of using an intermediary: