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Brief thought on distribution

So I’m working on a paper on distribution strategy, inspired by my reading of Thomas and Wilkinson’s thought-provoking The Distribution Trap. The authors argue that mega-retailers (think big boxes and category killers — and one supposes that one could throw e-commerce as a generic category in there as well) contribute to the acceleration of product commoditization via price competition. There may be something to that, but the mega-retailers also can claim plausibly to provide customers with the time, place, and possession utility that seems to matter quite a lot nowadays. Would it be a payoff strategy for Beats by Dre to sell only through high-end audio retailers (perhaps in Best Buy’s Magnolia centers, along with independent audio retailers)? Using a positioning matrix such as in Dawn Iacobucci’s MM3 suggests selective distribution is the best choice for a product of differentiated quality…but there are other factors to consider as well (hence the paper upon which I am working). There is more I could say in this space (and may do, once I get the draft whanged into shape and submitted)….

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