Friday, November 13, 2009


Some products are marketed most effectively by direct sale from manufacturer to consumer. Among these are durable equipment such as computers, office equipment, industrial machinery and supplies, and consumer specialties such as vacuum cleaners and life insurance. The direct marketing of products such as cosmetics and household needs is very important. Formerly common “door to door products,” these are now usually sold by the more sophisticated “house party” technique.

Many types of products and services now use direct mail catalogs or have a presence on the World Wide Web. Because many people are extremely busy, they may find it simpler to shop in their leisure hours at home by using catalogs or visiting Web sites. Comparison shopping is also made easier, because both catalogs and e-commerce sites generally contain extensive product information. For retailers, catalogs and the Web make it possible to do business far beyond their usual trading area and with a minimum of overhead. More than 95 percent of the leading 1,000 companies in the United States sell products over the Internet.

Television is a potent tool in direct marketing because it facilitates the demonstration of products in use. Direct sale of all kinds of goods to the public via home-shopping clubs broadcasting on cable television channels is gaining in popularity. Some companies also use telephone marketing, called telemarketing, a technique used in selling to businesses as well as to consumers. Most consumer products, however, move from the manufacturer through agents to wholesalers and then to retailers, ultimately reaching the consumer. Determining how products should move through wholesale and retail organizations is another major marketing decision.

Wholesalers distribute goods in large quantities, usually to retailers, for resale. Some retail businesses have grown so large, however, that they have found it more profitable to bypass the wholesaler and deal directly with the manufacturers or their agents. Wholesalers first responded to this trend by changing their operations to move goods more quickly to large retailers and at lower prices. Small retailers fought back through cooperative wholesaling, the voluntary banding together of independent retailers to market a product. The result has been a trend toward a much closer, interlocking relationship between wholesaler and independent retailer.

Retailing has undergone even more changes than wholesaling. Intensive preselling by manufacturers and the development of minimum-service operations, such as self-service in department stores, have drastically changed the retailer’s way of doing business. Supermarkets and discount stores have become commonplace not only for groceries but for products as diversified as medicines and gardening equipment. More recently, warehouse retailing has become a major means of retailing higher-priced consumer goods such as furniture, appliances, and electronic equipment. The emphasis is on generating store traffic, speeding up the transaction, and rapidly expanding the sales volume. Chain stores—groups of stores with one owner—and cooperative groups have also proliferated. Special types of retailing, such as vending machines and convenience stores, have also developed to fill multiple needs. See Retailing.

Transporting and warehousing merchandise are also technically within the scope of marketing. Products are often moved several times as they go from producer to consumer. Products are carried by rail, truck, ship, airplane, and pipeline. Efficient traffic management determines the best method and timetable of shipment for any particular product.
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