In a distribution network, a distributor, or a retailer, is an entity that brings goods or services to the customer. In most cases, a distribution network distributor directly manufactures stock/product items to be sold to the next connection in the distribution chain. Today, however, these terms often refer to a manufacturer of any good or service. Distribution networks may include retail stores, manufacturers, or wholesalers.
The most common industry structures involving distributors, manufacturers, and retailers are the standard format in which goods are distributed, which includes direct shipment from the manufacturer to the retail outlet. However, other methods may be used including freight consolidation and third-party distribution. Some distributors may be direct or indirect. For example, many realtors provide consumers with consumer items such as household goods, furniture, electronics, and pet goods through their websites and by stocking displays at local retail outlets.
A distribution network can be broken down into several components. Distributors are those entities that bring goods to consumers. Retail stores are the primary destination for purchases made by consumers. Another component in the distribution chain is the merchandiser, who brings goods directly to stores. The third component is the importer, who brings goods into the country that are not sold by retailers. While distributors, manufacturers, and retailers form the basic supply chain structure, other smaller distribution networks exist including cargo carriers, direct import organizations, and warehouse clubs.
There are two types of entities included in the supply chain process: consumers and suppliers. Consumers are direct connections to sellers; suppliers are not directly connected to buyers. Goods sold by consumers are known as primary product and goods sold by suppliers are called secondary products. Goods that pass through each of these supply chains are called raw materials.
A provider is a retailer or wholesaler that brings raw materials directly to a market. A wholesaler is a retailer that brings primary and secondary raw materials to a market. In order to sell the products, the vendor must first secure the products in his inventory. Once the products are in place, the vendor then enters the supply chain by partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to market the products.
The distribution process includes how vendors get goods to consumers and where they get their goods. Distribution requires a wholesale provider and a manufacturer or wholesaler. The supply chain process also includes the steps manufacturers go through in order to get goods to stores. The market is the whole process. It involves the creation of the market, the supply of goods to that market, and the ways in which goods are marketed once in the market. The market itself is often called the retail marketplace.