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Finding Valuable Distribution Channels for Your Product Line

Today is the day your company is finally able to release your brand-new product; however, if your company is a relatively new name to the market, you may find it difficult to establish a strong reach when launching into certain territories.  Whether you are positioned to begin marketing in Europe, the United States, Asia, or elsewhere, it is generally a challenge to directly hit all potential global users without some regional or local presence.  It could be that your company does not have global locations or perhaps you are not immediately able to advertise globally, so you must determine the best way to market your products to generate the best results.  Thus enters the concept of reaching out to distribution channels globally to better capture your target audience.


There are several practical reasons why, if your company wishes to reach a targeted global audience, finding distribution channels may be the step in the right direction.  Consider that when entering markets globally, if you have never sold any products into that specific market, there may be requirements, which you are not aware of.   When tasked with growing a product line globally, such details may be overlooked or not considered based on the standard procedures you are familiar with in your major global markets.  Is this something your company has time and money to review with each new country you consider shipping product to?  Finding and establishing quality distribution channels through regional or in-country distributors may be the way to receive the insight that you require.


It may be a requirement that your product have additional statements verifying the source of the raw materials or regulatory compliance.    Are you certain that the shipping documentation you are providing is sufficient for the import and customs requirements in that country?  Do you know if stability data is acceptable for shipping products with a temperature requirement for long-term shelf life?  It may be determined that such data is not acceptable and you are required to insert in the shipment a temperature recorder to confirm the product remained within the appropriate storage temperature during shipping.  Additional licenses could be required before your product is allowed to enter or be used within a country.  In some cases, in-country representation must be established for these license applications to be accepted by the governing agency.  There are many regulatory levels to consider when taking your product line outside the borders of your country.  This is why establishing valuable distributors globally could bring to your company the support needed to reach a larger target audience.


When it comes to establishing distributors, how would you consider to reach, meet, discuss, and finally agree in terms with a company for their resale of your products?  In some cases a company may contact you from a market you have not yet entered with your products.  This company could already be selling items related to the same field as that of your own products and wishes to expand the scope of its offerings.  Other times it is possible that you are contacted by a company, which has no experience with similar products; they merely act as a forwarding agent based on tenders or inquiries received from third parties.  Finally, it may be that you want to reach out to companies, which market similar products.  The establishment of the best distribution channels for your products begins with the initial discussions and review of the potential representative.


When considering a potential distribution partner, always maintain your focus on finding the best representation for your company and brand.  This not only relates to the specific knowledge and support the distributor can provide to the clients, but also the professional way in which they handle and treat their clients.  You would not want your product misrepresented due to lack of knowledge from the distributor nor do you want your company to gain a bad reputation due to lack of professionalism from your distributor.  Initially you should consider gaining as much background information on the potential distributor as possible.   Do they have persons on staff with the proper education or background?  Can they agree to follow any training requirements, certifications, or other company policies you establish?  Requesting references from other companies they represent is an excellent way to verify their standing as a company.  It can also confirm information you should know, such as, does the distributor currently maintain an acceptable payment history?  How many persons does the company have to focus on the promotion of your product?  Is the company simply a large distribution channel, which does not focus as much on customer satisfaction, but simply adding more products to their list of inventory?  Review the presentation of their company on the internet and any other sources you can find.  This is a good method to determine how you can expect your company’s products to be presented.   Their website may have little information on the product lines they sell or their web presence could have the excellent presentation you desire.  In the end, this distribution channel should be one that represents your company accurately and professionally with a focus on increasing awareness of your brand in their markets.


The use of Distributors or other partnerships for representation does not always result in a benefit to your company.  At times, the representation could simply fail to reach the clients as expected or their focus could change due to other circumstances.  The important factor, from the stand point of you as the manufacturer, is to exercise due diligence to the fullest extent and thoroughly evaluate any potential representation of your company.  Do the most stringent review of their company, employees, references, and any additional information you can obtain on this potential business partner.  Your goal is to work with a company that professionally represents your company, promotes your products with integrity, correctly supports the end users, and follows the stated terms of your agreement.  Finally, this distributor should give you the confidence that in the markets which they represent, you have no reason to worry that their representation is anything less than what you expect.


FUJIFILM Wako Chemicals U.S.A. Corporation

LAL Division