Chapter 10



  • How channels are combined in the customer journey
  • How to select the most appropriate channels
  • The several components of the distribution mix
  • Customer service and customer experience
  • How to prepare a multichannel plan
  • Exercises to turn the theory into practice


For years, Place (route to market) was the dull, neglected P of the famous 4Ps of marketing. Companies’ distribution policies were driven by mechanistic cost analysis: shipping and storage configurations, trade-offs between holding cost and the risk of being out of stock, and so on. But by the 1990s, new technology was changing the thinking on channels. Evans and Wurster1 noted how economic value was being split into physical and virtual (information) streams: the traditional economic trade-offs still held for physical distribution of goods and services, but the virtual stream of information exchange defied these rules. Internet experts advised companies to rethink Place as ‘spaces’ not ‘places’. In the early days of such dotcom thinking, strategy focused on using the new internet channel to disrupt existing business models, and new words such as disintermediation, content aggregation and search entered the strategic lexicon.

New, online channels spawned some significant successes based upon ‘pureplay’ information-based strategies, such as Amazon, eBay, Google and Facebook. However, the majority of the economy is still dominated by companies that ...

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