Analysis of Selected Aspects of the Multi-channel Management and the International Distribution System
In the current time, there is no area in life that is not subject to change. Even within the distribution, changes have taken place in the course of the years. One significant factor of change in the distribution is the introduction of multiple distribution channels - the multi-channel management. The term multi-channel is not new, but for all that it has gained of importance for companies. This statement is valid for companies in the national as well as in the international fields. It has, more or less, substituted the meaning of a single-channel distribution, which was more practiced in the past. Multi-channel management has become a significant issue when coming to the distribution of goods and the market development. Thereby, factors such as the attitude of the competition, the internal development of the company and especially the consumer behavior have determined the enhancement of its importance. Moreover, the development of information and communication technology has led to the introduction of new distribution channels, as e.g. the internet, next to the traditional channels which are the mail order business or the stationary distribution channels among others. The demand for companies offering different purchasing ways respectively channels has been increasing. The reason for this development is the fact that consumers have recognized the variety of ways they are able to choose in order to acquire a product. This involves that consumers set high value on the distribution channels offered by the companies. The increased consumer demand cannot be only noticed in Germany but also in the international context. As a consequence companies have been forced to modify their distribution strategies in order to be able to fulfill the consumer needs and thus assuring the customer retention further on. But the multi-channel distribution is not only a necessity. On the other hand it is linked with additional possibilities for companies. For instance, they can achieve cost advantages such as the increase of the total revenue. The management of parallel running channels is not as easy as one might think and in addition, a multi-channel management bears some risks. These two aspects lead to the necessity that the companies have to be engaged in the involvement of distribution channels, in the arrangement of the channel mix as well as in the coordination of the multi-channel system. It always has to be stressed that the multi-channel management is not only important for the domestic market, but also for the international one. The distribution in the international context is more complex and different from the domestic one. Since the distribution system differs from country to country, it is not possible to apply the same distribution system as in the home country. Therefore, this diploma thesis does not only illustrate the multi-channel management in general but also the international marketing within the scope of the multi-channel management.
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