How to Distribute to Charlotte
Charlotte is the most populous city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. With a 2020 population of 905,318, it is the largest city in North Carolina and the 15th largest city in the United States. Charlotte is currently growing at a rate of 1.85% annually, and its population has increased by 23.77% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 731,424 in 2010. Spanning over 309 miles, Charlotte has a population density of 2,947 people per square mile.
Charlotte gets a lot of people through tourism every year. And this is a big source of revenue for the city. Among Charlotte’s many notable attractions, some of the most popular include the Carolina Panthers (NFL), the Charlotte Hornets (NBA), the NASCAR All-Star Race, the Wells Fargo Championship, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Charlotte Ballet, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Carowinds amusement park, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
Charlotte is not an expensive city, and there happens to be relative prosperity in the area. The average household income in Charlotte is $90,983, with a poverty rate of 13.96%. This is very encouraging, considering its population of almost a million people.
Distributing to Charlotte can be direct or indirect. Direct is when a manufacturer decides to sell to retailers directly – without distributors’ in the mix. Indirect is when the manufacturer sells through distributors to retailers.
To further understand Charlotte’s product distribution, it will help to look at the small areas that make up Charlotte.
Distributing to Center City
Center City comprises Uptown, Elizabeth, and Midtown. It comprises some shopping centers, and it is quite developed. Entering this area might seem quite tough to a manufacturer who is new to Charlotte. This is why many manufacturers use distributors.
Distributors can get your products into a lot of stores. Over the years of working in a particular area, they have forged long-term business relationships with retailers. They understand the market. They know the distribution network. Some types of products have low sales in some areas while others do better in that area. A distributor keeps track of this data for future reference.
More, working with a distributor takes the stress off the neck of the manufacturer. A lot goes into distribution – the logistics, shipping, inventory, and many other factors make manufacturers outsource it.
The downside is that as a manufacturer, you may not get accurate data on inventory. More, the feedback on customer experience may be hard to track. And the demand for the product may be high in a community, but all these become blurry as the distribution chain grows longer.
Distributing to East Charlotte
East Charlotte comprises Coventry Woods, East Haven, Grove Park, Hickory Grove, Hickory Ridge, and Idlewild. These areas are mostly residential neighborhoods. It may help to work with the retailers in the area. They have an established presence and get you millions of dollars in sales.
You can connect with retailers via retail associations. Getting retailers who sell what you sell in a particular location you want to sell to can be daunting. This is the opportunity that retailers’ associations present. Here, you get to network with retailers in a specific geographical location and target them by what they do. It is not always easy to find efficient product distributors for some products. This is why manufacturers go directly to retailers.
Some of Charlotte’s retail associations are the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association and the North Carolina branch of the National Retail Federation.
The benefits of going distributing directly to retailers are:
- As a manufacturer, you’re closer to the final consumers. You can easily gather data about reactions, suggestions, and opinions to improve the product.
- You get inventory data easily and smoothly as you’re in direct touch with the retailer.
- More, warranty and other consumer benefits are easier to claim.
Distributing to West Charlotte
West Charlotte is the area that comprises Berryhill, Dixie, Lincoln Heights, and Wick City. Distributing to this part of Charlotte could take any of the distribution methods. As always, the distribution method to be employed largely depends on the type of product. And importantly, marketing should precede any method of distribution to be employed.
It will help to note that Charlotte is a very populated city, and it may take a lot of effort to reach all the areas, but it could help try more than one way of distributing to the city.
The potential in the Charlotte market is huge. It is the second-largest city in the southeastern United States, just behind Jacksonville, Florida. It is the third-fastest-growing major city in the United States. This is why a manufacturer should find a way to establish the brand in the city towards the possible windfall shortly.
Things to Note When Distributing to Charlotte
Charlotte is a large city. This means you should expect to meet fiercely competitive products. You should find a way to make your products stand out from the crowd. You should continuously conduct market surveys to see what they want.
Marketing and Promotions
The Charlotte market is a large and diverse one. Preferably, you should target your audience by their peculiarities. There are areas where upscale items will sell better, and some areas where the bulk of the market belongs to everyday items. It is important to understand who your customer is and the marketing messages that will appeal to them.
As Charlotte is a large area, it requires being specific with where you want to distribute to. More, you should ensure that from wherever you distribute to, you monitor inventory. This can be done digitally now. You should ensure that the shelves never run out of your products.