The Evolution of Distribution Channels for Consumer Goods

  • Susan A. Shaw
  • John A. Dawson


The choice of channels of distribution is fundamental in establishing the strategic direction for a business. The decision on channel affects the assortment and characteristics of goods made available to the final consumer and the processes by which they are made available (Ce-spedes, 1988–9). The choice of channels used has a major impact on the totality of the processes performed by the business and its overall performance in the market. The inclusion of a chapter on channel evolution and the theory of channel management therefore complements other chapters in this volume. We hope that it helps to redress partially what Michael Baker (1992) has suggested is an unjustly neglected topic in marketing. The purpose of the contribution is twofold: first, to provide a summary analysis of the ways in which distribution channels for consumer products have been changing; second, to assess the implications of these changes for research into channel theory. The emphasis throughout the chapter is on the European experience, on consumer goods channels and on channels involving large retail businesses. While this area is a small subset of all marketing channels, by focusing on this subset it is possible to explore in detail some important issues which have ramifications for research into all distribution channels.


Consumer Good Distribution Channel Channel Structure Marketing Literature Food Retailing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Susan A. Shaw and John A. Dawson 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan A. Shaw
  • John A. Dawson

There are no affiliations available

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