A channel is the route through which the goods are passed on to the ultimate consumer. There are direct channels orroutes of distribution without middlemen. Indirect channel consists of one or more middlemen performing different functions. Middlemen help in the flow of goods towards the lakhs or crores of consumers. The products should reach all these consumers living inside the country and throughout the world. There are industrial and consumer goods, perishable and durable goods, pin to plane - different size of goods and so on. Not only the goods but also the services need distribution network.
According to Cundiff E.W and Still, a channel of distribution may be defined as “a path traced in the direct or indirect transfer of title to a product as it moves from the producer to ultimate consumers”.
According to American Marketing Association, “A channel of distribution is the structure of intra company organization units and extra company agents and deals wholesale and retail through which a commodity or product or service is marketed”.