The selection of the distribution channel depends on the market segment which the ceramics companies are targeting. The ceramic company must know the specific market segment and target customers it wants to get. Moreover, there must be a producer-distributor fit in which the two companies must complement their marketing policies, strategies and image. When the company sees fit, it may come up with an assessment of its previous performance of its experience and track record over the years.
The wholesalers constitute a significant bulk of the ceramic trading operations carried out by well-established Australian ceramic companies. The wholesalers buy from the major producers and these companies sell it in small quantities to the retailers. These companies have also built their design and artistic excellence on ceramics products over decades of research and innovation. These companies ask foreign and local ceramic designers to constantly come up with creative designs with functional applications. Innovative styles are adopted and fusion of designs is also fostered. Hence, Australia’s ceramics industry which combines European designs with Asian elegance is truly world-class. Only one major Australian company imports high-quality ceramics from the United States and the UK.( see www.countryprofile.com) The trading operations of the wholesalers are done both on a cash and credit basis. Wholesaler ceramic companies agree on specific banking and financial institutions to settle their transactions. The ceramic companies engage in wholesale and retail trade of ceramics and ceramic-related products. Operations of wholesalers are highly flexible and the companies can deliver bulk orders with advance notice( what others offered serves). Note: This sentence means that only wholesalers can deliver bulk orders. The retailers and agents cannot since these have limited capital. This is the meaning of this sentence.
Agents refer to Australian companies which cater to the international market. Ceramic agents have a high degree of international training and sales motives and performance. Agents can be run by a single individual or a marketing team. Example of international agents include Janet Mansfield, Aremco and Ceramic Solutions.
Retailers are the small and medium scale ceramic businesses which are run independently by well-known resident ceramic artists. There are 300 registered ceramic retailers(.check the directory of ceramic suppliers of the Australian ceramic industry and tile council.) The retailers have a stronger personal relationship with the final end-users of the products. Retailers are able to carry a wide array of ceramic products. Retailers can offer credit for their customers. However, the outputs of these small ceramic businesses constitute less than 10% of the output of the entire industry( .(Please add up the revenues of the wholesalers which I placed in this article. Their output is much higher than the retailers.) These outputs are geared towards special individual collector’s editions of a select group of ceramic collectors in Europe and in the US. The customary mark-ups for this industry ranges from 10% for retailers, 15% for wholesalers to 30% for highly specialized ceramic manufacturers which caters to individual collectors (.This is the mark-up of similar export-based craft businesses similar to ceramics. Big producers