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Edited by Charles A. Ingene, James R. Brown and Rajiv P. Dant

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Edited by Charles A. Ingene, James R. Brown and Rajiv P. Dant

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Edited by Charles A. Ingene, James R. Brown and Rajiv P. Dant

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Edited by Charles A. Ingene, James R. Brown and Rajiv P. Dant

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Edited by Charles A. Ingene, James R. Brown and Rajiv P. Dant

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Charles A. Ingene and James R. Brown

Distribution channels are arguably the most complex element of the marketing mix. Every level of a channel has pricing, product, place and (often) promotional considerations that must be integrated for a channel to perform at its optimal level. A single distribution channel may have several tiers, often with multiple, independent owners (e.g., a manufacturer distributing through a handful of geographically disbursed wholesalers who deliver to resellers in their territories). Moreover, independent owners may place their own short-term interests ahead of their channels’ long-term welfare. Thus, it is clear that even a single distribution channel is difficult to manage profitably, or for academicians to conceptualize completely. Yet a single channel is intellectual child’s play compared to the intricacies of managing a multi-channel supply chain, while the subtleties of multi-channel organizations can seem all but impenetrable from an academic perspective. Nonetheless, reality is what it is, so as researchers we seek insights into the inner workings and outward manifestations of distribution channels. Toward that end, it would be advantageous to have a general theory so that scholars can envision where their research fits into an overall picture of distribution. We sketch some ideas toward such a theory in the concluding chapter of this Handbook (Chapter 23: “Conceptualizing a comprehensive theory of distribution channels”). Our sketch is merely a stepping stone toward our ultimate, collective objective: creating an empirically validated theory of distribution channels that incorporates all channel forms, everywhen and everywhere, and does so while reflecting the exogenous conditions within which channels operate. In brief, a truly comprehensive theory should encompass distribution channels that range from simple to complex, that provide credible insights over time (i.e., over different stages of technological sophistication), and that are valid in all socio-economic, demographic, cultural, and governmental environments.

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Edited by Charles A. Ingene, James R. Brown and Rajiv P. Dant

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Edited by Charles A. Ingene, James R. Brown and Rajiv P. Dant

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Edited by Charles A. Ingene, James R. Brown and Rajiv P. Dant