A Distributor's Guide to Product Line Cornucopia

The cornucopia or horn of plenty stands for an abundance of good things of a certain kind. The symbol is a goat's horn overflowing with goodies such as fruit and flowers. In the distribution world some warehouses are spilling over with a profusion of products as many companies add new product lines and vendors. Many national distributors have moved toward a "one-stop shopping" strategy. Amazon Supply (the "everything" store) distributes a massive array of seemingly unrelated product lines.

Local and regional distributors are at crossroads when it comes to their products and services. Some of the options are:
  • Be a "groundhog" and strive to be the foremost supplier of a narrow line.
  • Try to be a "supermarket" to provide one-stop shopping for all customers.
  • Focus resources on customized distribution for a small group of very large customers.

This report is about three ways to analyze product lines: market leadership, strategy; private brands and importing.

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