Distribution is the process of getting a product/service from the producer to its end user. This transferring from creator of the product/service to its consumer involves changing hands (the distribution channel) and changing location (the distribution logistics). The distribution channel can be direct from producer to user, or indirect, via one or more intermediaries. The distribution logistics involves bridging the physical distance by transportation and storage.
Digital technologies have the impact of making things more intangible, more connected, and more intelligent. As such, they can be employed to innovate the way companies organize their distribution channels and the distribution logistics – their distribution model.
The Digital Distribution Model Dial is one of the three dials (see below right) that can be turned to create an innovative value proposition. The Revenue Model Dial was discussed in Meyer’s Management Models #4 and the Digital Product Model Dial as #19. The Digital Distribution Model Dial suggests that there is no fixed set of distribution models from which to choose, but that reinvention can be sought along four different dimensions (two channel dimensions and two logistics dimensions), separately or at the same time. Each dimension has been formulated as a question, with several common examples mentioned as options to consider.
The four dimensions along which digital distribution model innovation can be sought are: