How to Distribute to Columbus
Columbus is a city in and the county seat of Bartholomew County, Indiana, United States. With a 2020 population of 47,665, it is the 22nd largest city in Indiana and the 828th largest city. Columbus is currently growing at a rate of 0.13% annually, and its population has increased by 8.18% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 44,061 in 2010. Spanning over 28 miles, Columbus has a population density of 1,696 people per square mile.
National Geographic Traveler ranked Columbus 11th on its historic destinations list in late 2008, describing the city as “authentic, unique, and unspoiled.” This makes Columbus one of the top tourist centers in the country. This means a lot of tourism revenue is available in the city.
There is relative prosperity in the city. The average household income in Columbus is $78,702, with a poverty rate of 12.69%. With all these, it is clear that Columbus has a lot of potential for trade.
One advantage Columbus has is that due to its small population, arts, and historic buildings and landscapes. The quiet and calm are the perfect recipe for a lot of people. And this also means a lot in business.
To understand the distribution of products in Columbus, it is important to look at the areas that comprise the city. Breaking down this aspect will give a clearer view of the distribution network in the city.
Distribution to Downtown Columbus
Downtown Columbus is the Central Business District of Columbus, Ohio. The area centers on the intersection of Broad and High streets, with the northeast corners being known simply as Broad & High by the surrounding businesses and media. Downtown as a whole encompasses all the area inside the inner belt and is home to most of the largest buildings in Columbus.
Downtown is home to about 7000 residents. And this is quite large for a city like Columbus. Looking to sell your products in this city? You can go through the direct or indirect method of distribution.
Going by the indirect method is going through distributors. Most manufacturers prefer this indirect method as they get to outsource all the distribution work to the distributor. This can cause a little markup in the product, but it consumes less time, effort, and resources.
Distributors understand the factors that affect product sales in a particular area – as long as they make product distribution to the area. They can use the data gathered from a particular area to know what products do well in that area.
More, distributors know the distribution network well enough to get products to hundreds of stores. The manufacturer can work with distributors to understand these markets. The manufacturer can also understand the competitiveness of other brands in the area.
All these ultimately depend on the type of products for sale. The downside to going indirectly is the loss of useful data in the distribution chain. As much as the distributor may gather data, it may not be satisfactory to a manufacturer. Maybe consumers would like a particular feature – the manufacturer may not get to know this.
Distribution to The Short North
The Short North is a neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, centered on High Street’s main strip immediately north of downtown and extending until just south of the Ohio State University campus area. It is an easy walk from the convention center or Nationwide Arena district to the north. The Short North is often crowded on weekends, particularly during the monthly “Gallery Hop” and other local and downtown events.
Direct distribution is when manufacturers choose to get the products to retailers themselves without the service of an independent distributor. Manufacturers can connect with retailers through retail associations. These associations present the opportunity to network with retailers who are particularly in the manufacturer’s niche.
The geographical specificity that retail associations give is a big advantage to manufacturers looking at penetrating certain areas.
Columbus doesn’t have its indigenous retail associations, but Indiana has quite a number of them. Some of them are the Indiana Retail Council, Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, Indiana Grocery and Convenience Store Association, Indiana Food and Fuel Association, Indiana C-Store Association, North America Retail Hardware Association, and many more.
Distribution to East Side
The East Side is an area made up of several historic neighborhoods on the east side of Columbus, Ohio. Some neighborhoods making up the area include Beatty Park, Bronzeville/King-Lincoln, Eastgate, Franklin Park, Mt. Vernon Avenue District, Nelson Park, Olde Towne East, and Woodland Park.
Entering this area may take quite some work, but with the direct and indirect distribution methods, the manufacturer can decide which is best for the products to be distributed. This is, of course, to be preceded by marketing.
Things to Note When Distributing to Columbus
Relatively Small Population
With a population of about 48,000, Columbus is a small city compared to many other cities in the United States. This means a lot in business, as it may not be the perfect location for the influx of certain types of products. The average income and the poverty rate show that it may not be the perfect market for many upscale items.
This is as vital as the product itself. Without people knowing the product, you may be looking at many rejections from distributors and retailers. Thus, the brand message must be well-communicated to the prospect.
This is a big market in Columbus. The arts and historic architecture draw a lot of people to the city every year. This alone brings a lot to the city, and the market should be well-targeted.