How to Distribute to Milwaukee
Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States. With a 2020 population of 585,589, it is the largest city in Wisconsin and the 31st largest in the United States. Milwaukee is currently declining at a rate of -0.55% annually, and its population has decreased by -1.55% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 594,833 in 2010. Spanning over 97 miles, Milwaukee has a population density of 6,088 people per square mile.
The median family income and the poverty rate are not the most attractive in the country, and it is no surprise that people are relocating to other cities within Wisconsin. The average household income in Milwaukee is $55,556, with a poverty rate of 26.65%. However, Milwaukee happens to be a very affordable community to live in. According to some research, it is the 22nd most affordable city to live in in the United States.
To distribute products to Milwaukee, a manufacturer can use distributors or go directly to retailers. The manufacturer can even decide to take full control of the entire distribution channel.
To fully understand the distribution of products to a city like Milwaukee, it will help to look at how the distribution of products works to areas within the city.
Distributing to the Historic Third Ward
The Historic Third Ward is a historic warehouse district located in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This Milwaukee neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the Third Ward is home to over 450 businesses. It maintains a strong position within Milwaukee’s retail and professional service community as a showcase of a mixed-use district. The neighborhood’s renaissance is anchored by many specialty shops, restaurants, art galleries and theatre groups, creative businesses, and condos. It is home to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) and the Broadway Theatre Center.
To get your products to this area, it may help to get in touch with distributors. Distributors have the expertise and the experience to get products into a large number of stores. When a manufacturer outsources its distribution to them, they start to map out areas to get the products to. They take marketing materials along to pitch to retailers. With the relationships they have forged with retailers over the years of being in business, it is easier to get the products on the shelves.
This method is great – especially if the manufacturer is on a budget or has little resources and workforce to go round. However, the insulation from final consumers this method brings is not good for business in the long-term. Proximity to the consumers helps to build a brand following.
Distributing to Havenwoods
Havenwoods is bordered by West Mill Road to the north, North Sherman Boulevard to the east, West Silver Spring Drive to the south, and 60th Street to the west. It is a working-class, mostly African-American neighborhood on Milwaukee’s north side, centered near Silver Spring Drive and 60th Street. The neighborhood is moderately urban, with a mix of strip malls, older retail buildings, and townhouses.
As a manufacturer, you can also directly work with retailers to get your products into an area like this. This seems difficult at first, but you can do it with retail associations.
Retail associations have retailers as members. The advantage of these associations is that they are mostly geographically-based. Thus, if you’re looking for tech stores in Milwaukee, you can easily narrow your search to retail associations in the city. More, there are niche-retail associations. These are based on products. Thus, you may end up finding a tech retailers’ association in the city.
Some of the city’s retail associations include the Metropolitan Milwaukee Retail Association, Wisconsin Retail Association, Wisconsin’s Grocers’ Association, and the Wisconsin branch of the National Retail Federation.
Distributing to Clarke Square
Clarke Square is one of Milwaukee’s most diverse communities, offering a multicultural array of shops, restaurants, churches, and community-based activities.
The neighborhood is home to the Milwaukee County Mitchell Park Conservatory – where visitors can enter the beehive-shaped glass domes – and Cesar Chavez Drive, a commercial strip that draws Milwaukee’s Latino community and others to shop, eat authentic Latin food, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. Located near the emerging economic engine of Menomonee Valley and international tourist attractions such as Potawatomi Casino, Miller Park, and the Harley-Davidson Museum, Clarke Square is a gateway to Milwaukeeʼs Near South Side.
This is a vibrant area, and any form of distribution will work here. The manufacturer can even decide to take over retail – complete control.
Though this will cost a lot in money and other resources, it is one of the best distribution methods. However, this is dependent on the type of product. It may not be smart for a milk manufacturer to take over the entire distribution channel. This worked for Tesla, where people thought it was somewhat unusual.
Things to Note When Distributing to Milwaukee
A large population may not translate into a large market all the time, but it does most of the time. As much as there is a lot of potential for sales, there are competing products. Thus, it is crucial to have a unique selling point that will always resonate with the consumers. They must have a reason to prefer your products to others.
A lot of manufacturers don’t do much for marketing. They somehow expect their products to be noticed. It hardly works that way.
It is important to send marketing messages to consumers on both the internet and mass media. Your uniqueness is communicated to them here. And if you focus on their needs and what they stand to benefit, you might as well have stood out in the market.