How to Distribute to Detroit
Detroit is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the largest U.S. city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of Wayne County. With a 2020 population of 667,272, it is the largest city in Michigan and the 24th largest city in the United States. Detroit is currently declining at -0.40% annually, and its population has decreased by -6.52% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 713,777 in 2010. The population reduction is not unconnected to the crime wave in the city.
When looking at the average incomes of cities in the United States, Detroit comes somewhat low. It also has a poverty rate that is not common with many American large cities. The average household income in Detroit is $42,105, with a poverty rate of 36.43%.
Notwithstanding this, there is a sizable population to boost business sales in this city. This may not be the market for upscale items, but it is okay for everyday products and commodities.
To get products into this city, it will help to understand the distribution of products to the areas in this city. With this, it is easier to see distribution to Detroit in a much clearer way. More, we shall look at the direct and indirect methods of distribution.
Distributing Products to Downtown
Downtown Detroit is the city’s central business district and a residential area. The downtown area features high-rise residential living and several parks, including those linked by a promenade along the International Riverfront. Downtown Detroit was named among the best big city neighborhoods in which to retire by CNN Money Magazine editors.
Distributing products to retailers in this area may be challenging, but it becomes easier with the use of distributors. Distributors take the stress off the neck of the manufacturer. They have the resources and expertise to enter remote areas manufacturers can’t. With this, the manufacturer does not have to worry about inventory and logistics. Those become major points of concern for the distributor. And the distributor ensures that all these are catered for.
Manufacturers focus on product development while distributors focus on distribution networks. They understand well enough to know which area is most fitting for certain types of products. As an advantage, distributors forge long-term relationships with retailers. This makes it easy to introduce new products and follow up sales. With these data, they know which products and brands sell better in a particular area. Thus, they can concentrate effort and resources in the right places.
Distributing Products on Midtown
Midtown includes the Art Center and the Medical Center in the northeast quadrant, most of Wayne State University’s campus, the Detroit Public Library, and the Detroit Historical Museum in the northwest, and the Cultural Center including various restaurants, galleries, newly constructed lofts/condos and nightlife venues along Woodward in the center, among other things.
This area of the Motor City also contains some Victorian houses. To penetrate this area, it may help to work with the retailers in the area. You can connect with retailers via retail associations.
Retail associations have retailers as members. They can be niche-based or general. The advantage a manufacturer gets with retail associations is that it is easy to network within these associations to reach actual retailers. With this, the manufacturer can pitch the products to retailers. And there is hardly anyone who knows a product better than the manufacturer. So, with this, there is a higher chance of getting the products on the shelves.
More, it is easier to keep track of inventory and always have the products on the shelves. It also makes it easier to keep track of customer reactions, opinions, and interests.
Distribution to Northern Detroit
The northern area includes the Detroit Golf Club and neighborhoods surrounding the main campus of the University of Detroit Mercy. This area is home to several middle-upper class families. The lots are large, with ample room for trees, play equipment, and a good expanse of grass. It is the home of physicians, academics, business owners, artists, executives, and their families.
To penetrate Northern Detroit, the manufacturer can employ any of the two methods. It is important to note that the distribution method to be chosen depends on the type of products to be distributed. More, the resources available also determine what methods to be used.
An example of a brand that controls its distribution system down to sales and service is Tesla. This costs a lot of money, but it pays back in a lot of dividends to the company. The company gets direct feedback from customers and can use this data to improve the consumer experience. More, they can keep track of everything down to inventory and warranty. Many manufacturers don’t get to do this as things become blurry during the entire distribution chain.
Things to Note When Distributing to Detroit
Without marketing, the product only has about a 20% chance at success. I doubt any manufacturer is willing to take that chance. This is why you need to invest in marketing. And your marketing has to be specific and well-targeted.
Despite the mass usage of ad blockers, people still see ads. You can employ both the mass and internet media in reaching your target audience.
Large Area – Diverse Communities
There are a lot of neighborhoods in Detroit. This may take approaching several retailers in the area. This is why retail associations are helpful. Here, you can easily network and get connected to a wide range of retailers in the area.
Due to race crises, police repression, and poor leadership, many neighborhoods in Detroit have been abandoned. You want to be clear on the areas you are going to be distributing to.