CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEFINITION OF THE PARTICULARITIES OF CONSUMER GOODS DISTRIBUTION MARKETING

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1 CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEFINITION OF THE PARTICULARITIES OF CONSUMER GOODS DISTRIBUTION MARKETING B l escu Marius Transilvania University of Brasov, Economic Sciences Faculty, Address: Valea Cetatii, no. 13, building A18, apt. 19, Mobile phone: Abstract: Both producers and consumers are separated within contemporary society by different aspects, such as distance, needs, etc.. These gaps must be filled therefore results distribution marketing, as intermediary phase between production and consumption, meant to assure the equilibrium on the market, as well as the flow of selling-buying processes. The necessity of distribution marketing is emphasized by competition, the need of integration within the market, solving different problems, and so on. Companies, no matter their nature and size must always know and observe the needs of the market by the means of research, studies and analysis, in order to be efficient. Distribution marketing implies not just market research, but complex studies technological, economic, demographical, psychological, and so on. Key words: distribution, marketing mix, policy, market, objectives. The necessity of distribution marketing The distribution process, interposed within goods flow, has in view the means and operations that assure goods and services to intermediaries or final consumers, leaving them a numerous range of options of time, place, size, choice, price, etc., according to the needs they manifest on the market. In the interval of time interposed between production and consumption, space filled by distribution, there is a series of economic activities, such as: merchandise delivery, transportation, depository and storage, engross and en-detail selling, material, financial and human resources mobilization, property titles transfer, and so on. These activities, because they have a double role - the satisfaction of the clients needs and the growth of the number of the businesses which generate the profits of firms, firms which take part in commercial transactions - involve the necessity to conceive a specialized domain of marketing, to offer both a way of thinking, as well as a direction towards optimization of the two main preoccupations of companies: satisfying consumers and profit. Defining the coordinates of distribution marketing, we have to face the fact that these options can be seen as coordinates of a new marketing mix distribution mix concerning the market, the range of goods, commercial services, the price, communication and merchandising. The Marketing Policy and Strategy in the Distribution Firms The marketing policy of a distribution firm consists in special components and modalities of leadership of the commercial activities which contribute to the realization of the general policy of the industry. Just as within global marketing policy, the Centrum of the distribution marketing policy is the strategy, which concentrates all actions and activities regarding the company management. Inside the distribution sector the strategy has also a double part: general orientation of the industry activity and the duty establishment in regard of achieving the proposed objectives for each stage, and the adaptation possibilities of the industry activity to the market evolution. According to this strategy contains two important parts: - The market definition or market delimitation in which the industry proposes to act; - The organization of the marketing mix. Market definition and delimitation are specific to the strategy axis. All concepts, methods and techniques of general marketing are meant to offer companies the possibility to determine and delimitate the area in which they operate, according to their objectives, possibilities and chances. Also through the specific way of presenting the market issue, goods distribution marketing, by the means of its strategies, can set the 738

2 basis for sector decisions regarding offer, intermediary price policy, communication system, as well as for other aspects of company management. When establishing the marketing mix which combines resources: material, financial and human within some programs that take into account achieving the established goals, specific elements are less visible, emphasizing the necessity of delimitating the new concept. Product policy in distribution marketing: The conceptualization of the product policy component of the marketing mix in the distribution domain starts with the idea that the offer of goods and services outlines through its combination a well defined product policy in distribution field, given the conditions in which the intermediary works and what he can offer to the consumer. In such case we consider that the delivery man has connections with other producers, fact which will actually lead to a market differentiation, on one hand, and, on the other hand, the delivery man has to confront to a very large and different number of people from area to area, which leads to larger or narrower offer, deeper or less deep, based on the area and the clientele. Within the same product specific policy, distributors must define the way of action concerning commercial duties. The product policy must include the selling point, which is defined by dimensions, departments, assortment, presentation and ambiance. Price policy in distribution marketing: The outlining of the price policy inside the distribution marketing must start from the fact that the intermediary generally calculates his own selling prices, having in sight an additional supplement. This supplement is established in percentage, depending on the selling price. Price is the most efficient element that attracts clients. Taking into account the large number of products that are sold at different prices, results a heterogeneity of price strategies, based on the life cycle of the product, competition, costs, me too price strategies, etc.. Because of the typical problems that the commercial firm has to confront with, the price policy assortment has to take under consideration the following things: The objectives had in view by the commercial firms (sales, profit, investment profitability, etc); The chosen strategy (winning a market, consumer loyalty, defeating competition, etc.); The in-force settlement for a specific market place on which it works. Distribution policy in distribution marketing: Along with the complex problem referring to the product and range, price and promotion, the universe of distribution includes as well a complex system of relationships which offer support to this department. The modern economy generates new requests related to the space which interposes between the producers and the consumers. This space transforms itself into an action field for many intermediaries: [1] Merchandisers (wholesalers, etc.) buy on their own and resell the merchandise; Agents (brokers, representatives) who prospect clients and makes contracts in the name of the producer; Logistics supporters (transporter companies, banks) facilitate the distribution operations without taking part to the commercial negotiations. Having all these aspects under consideration, the distribution marketing must do the following: Outline specific systems of relations which characterize the content of the economic circuits or the distribution channels; Do a continuous prospect and establish effective manipulation systems of the merchandise, the transportation, presentation and the selling, as well as sustaining logistics of the respectively process (all these create the content of the physical distribution). In specialty dictionaries, distribution policy is seen as a specialized policy of commercial companies, referring to logistics activities, choosing the intermediaries, establishing the selling points, assortment policy, price policy and the promotional activities specific to distribution firms. 739

3 Promotional policy in distribution marketing: The establishment of the promotional policy must be structured in two directions: one that refers to the strategy of communication and another one which refers to the activities of merchandising. The first direction has in view another two objectives: the assuring a positive image of the selling points and the other one consists in substantial and immediate intensification of the buyers stream. Publicity is the means of achieving the first objective, as well as public relations, increasing personality of own selling points and increasing deliveries to consumers. Achieving the second objective implies fast advertising, publicity at the selling points, persuasiveness of sales agents and promotional activities (demonstrations, presentations, etc.). Merchandising is an activity specific to distribution, and it is the part of distribution that integrates the way goods are presented at the selling point, by the means of any technique that attracts clients, such as: presentation, sorting, packaging, exposure, etc. [2] Wholesaler marketing decisions Wholesalers have confronted themselves with new competitors, more selective clients, new technology, and programs for direct buying of the merchandise, institutionalized people and other intermediaries. As a result, wholesalers had to improve strategic decisions on selected markets, positioning and marketing mix the range of goods and services, prices, publicity and distribution. When it comes to the marketing mix of the wholesalers, they must decide on goods, services, prices, publicity and distribution. The activity of the wholesalers is sorting the goods and services they offer. Wholesalers are under the pressure of offering a complete range of goods and of supplying them immediately, when the market asks for them. Today s wholesaler reduces the range of products which they offer in order to concentrate only on the profitable ones. The price is another important decision to be taken by the wholesaler. The wholesaler adds usually 20% to the costs of the merchandise. The expenses represent about 17% and the rest of 3% go to the wholesaler. Although the promotion can be essential to the wholesalers success, most wholesalers are not orientated towards it. Publicity, promotions, PR, etc., are unplanned and irregular. Distribution is essential to wholesalers who have to select positioning and utilities. Wholesalers place their businesses in places with low rents and tend to invest little money in buildings, equipments and systems. Big wholesalers reacted when faced with growing prices, and they invested in technology. Orders are introduced by retailers directly into the computerized system of the wholesaler, and goods are moved by mechanisms and transported straight to the loading platforms. Contemporary wholesalers adapt their services to the needs of the clients and seek for ways of cost control and reduction. Tendencies in Wholesale Wholesalers admit that on long term they want to increase the efficiency of the marketing channel. Therefore, they must constantly improve their services and reduce their costs. The consolidation of this sector will diminish in a significant way the number of the existing wholesalers. The firms that will remain will evolve strongly especially through acquisitions, fusions and geographical expansions. The difference between large retailers and large wholesales will diminish. Many retailers have warehouses, or they are hypermarkets that have more than one function of wholesales, while many wholesalers practice on their own a lot of retailing activities. Wholesalers will continue to increase the services provided to retailers prices specific to retail, advertising support, etc.. Globalization lead to an expansion of some wholesalers world wide, being a threat to other companies. [3] The Decisions of the Retailer Due to the marketing instruments, came up the necessity of profound meditation on the problems of the commerce companies. Distribution marketing is not an abstract concept, but a very realistic one. Its realism consists in a number of procedures that make both markets and commercial strategies known. 740

4 Nevertheless, it also refers to the operational aspects of instruments available to a store manager to satisfy clients. The internal and external environment of the retail firm Distribution subordinates itself, more than other economic sectors, to economic conjuncture, fluctuations in the standard of living of consumers, etc.. All these elements can be analyzed by the means of internal and external environment elements. The elements of the internal environment are as follows: Environmental factors that influence the methods and techniques of retail they must adapt to the changes in economy and competition, standard of living, etc.. Managerial perception of distribution, which implies 3 fundamental aspects: A real orientation toward consumer, which is possible by taking into account clients opinions (research). Adaptation or anticipation tendency of social change. Profit analysis many large markets (super/hypermarkets) considered more important selling objectives than profitability, leading to a lack of financial independence. The structure and organization of a commercial company is an integrated part of the distribution marketing. Independence grade of selling points is a key factor: in some cases the strategy is completely independent; otherwise, the strategy of the selling points is subordinated to a decision centre. Strategies derive from company preoccupation for relations with an oscillating environment, for defining all possible options from all areas; coherent and complete commercial decisions are written and periodically actualized. Tactical variables are what we like to call retail mix, or retail marketing mix, referring to the organization of the ways of action on targeted market segments, in order to achieve the established goals. The external environment refers to the uncontrollable factors of the environment. The evolution of society, economy, and technology has a huge impact on distribution firms. The managers of companies or selling points must identify environmental factors that may influence their activity, in order to be more efficient. Strategic decisions Regarding the objectives of a commercial company, they must be established in order to obtain efficiency in their activity, and they can be achieved by the means of marketing instruments. General objectives if the firm already exists, general objectives must be established, such as: a better existence on one or more markets, or entering new markets; proceeding with the selling activity or diversifying it towards one or more directions. Performance objectives Commercial objectives (having the highest turnover in town, commercial covering of a country or of a region of the world, control over other distribution groups); Financial objectives (reaching a certain profit or turnover, having a certain profitability, keeping costs low); Social objectives (having a certain human productivity within the selling point, improve working conditions, trainings); Communication objectives (improving image, improving weak point of the selling points, exploitation of the strengths). A strategy is put into practice through a method that implies taking 4 steps: A better acknowledgement of the company environment, especially of uncontrollable factors with potential high influence; Identifying market segments; 741

5 Taking an original position to impress clients by the means of a better image of the selling point; Choosing the marketing mix that better corresponds with the selling point. The System of Retail Commerce and its Marketing Mix - The System: Retail Activity can be represented as a system which activates and develops in an environment that integrates numerous factors because of four controllable elements: price, range, physical distribution and store communication. In the middle, there are the sighted consumers of these 4 elements. Their intensity will depend on the existing resources: financial means, the structure of the company, means to observe the consumers behavior. Social-economic forces, technological development, government and organizations of consumers work together with the suppliers and competition to restrain the company freedom regarding its means of action. - The elements of retail activity are: Products and services policy - every type of merchandise sold must be careful defined as well as the services that accompany it. This implies assortment planning, assortment control, buying practices and supplier relationship, inventory, service policy before/at/after selling; Price policy activity costs must be established, as well as the brand price, in order to price the products correctly; Distribution policy, which refers to the following elements: location of the store; selling methods; logistics; the system which registers the sales; the battle against losses; decoration of the store. Communication policy, which refers to: the staff; the shop window; publicity; public relation policy. The Distributors Marketing Mix: The concept of marketing has been recently introduced in retail distribution and even if its efficiency is already appreciated, there still are firms in which physical distribution dominates marketing functions. This explains why companies, instead of developing specific strategies, they imitate one another. It is necessary to define the marketing policy, which is responsible for choosing the possible targets and methods in order to achieve the goals, and, at the same time they must look after the inside and outside compulsions of the firm. We suggest commercial offers to different segments of clients creating together with different elements of the marketing mix a homogeneous ensemble. M. Charlot noticed the low number of distributors with an explicit marketing policy. The reason is that most of them take instant decisions, without a rational, written plan. To remedy this, planning method is required, such as: data bases analysis, strategy definition, and tactical action. [4] The Outlined Tendencies in the Evolution of Commerce and Their Implications in Commercial Activities in Romania Following the tendency of the acquisitions and merging, we can observe a concentration of the commercial segment; We assist to a growing integration of the food merchants and the non-food merchants in the same commercial area; The quality and quantity of information asked by the consumer grows; this leads to the growth of the distribution costs; The presence of the discount shop-chains will strengthen through a process of label concentration; The multi-specialization of large commercial areas and the reorganization of the products ranges continues; 742

6 The number and quality of services offered to the client are increasing, fact which leads to a growth of costs. [5] References 1. Jallais, J., Orsoni, J., Fady, A.: Retail Marketing - Librairie Vuibert, iunie 1994; 2. Kotler, Ph.: Principiile Marketingului - Editura Teora, Bucure ti, 2003; 3. Patriche, D: Contribution to the Marketing Delimitation of the Distribution of Derchandise. out of the book Marketing in the Process of Economic and Social Evolution - Editura A.S.E., Bucure ti,2000; 4. Charlot, M., Politica comercial. Cooperation Distribution - Consommation, iunie 1981; 5. B l escu, M: Distribution of Goods of Final Consumption Theory and Case Study - Editura Infomarket, Bra ov,

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