What is a two-tier distributor? They buy from manufacturers and sell to resellers.
What are their competitive advantages? Two-tier distributors can expand the retail footprint in emerging markets. They normally sell a diverse range of brands and control a large percentage of the local distribution in the telecom and the computer industry. Two-tier distributors understand local conditions and can negotiate much better lease terms with proprietors. In some cases they might even own their own buildings.
How can they add value? Smaller distributors understand the needs of retailer and have well established practices and systems to deal with local customers. Because they are closer to the customer, they are also a valuable source for customer feedback.
Do they provide additional services? They normally provide credit terms to small retailers. In a current credit tight market, this can be a big advantage.
How will it affect lead times? By making use of two-tier distributors, manufacturers can reduce lead times by moving goods closer to retailers.
How can manufacturers support two-tier distributors? Manufacturers can assist them with route planning and help them identify the potential outlet base. Training workshops can go a long way in developing the business and building relationships.
How can they avoid channel conflict with their own sales force? Manufacturers can restrict salesmen activities to certain channel, and avoid conflict with distributors.