When working on your Business Model Canvas (if you haven’t created a BMC, please read this first!), one of the sections involves looking at markets and customers, and how you will sell. This is your route to market.

There are many different ways to get your product or service to your customers, but you have to understand both before you can decide on your route to market.  And even then, you may need to change it as time goes on.

So what routes to market are there?  In an article from the Entrepreneurship Handbook, there are seven different routes outlined:


Pros Cons
Online Quick, easy, open 24/7.  No costly “physical” shop Can’t try or feel before buying, some customers may be worried about fraud
Traditional Shop Personal interaction, people buy more when the happen across it (i.e. sales). Costly overheads, stockholding, constrained by opening hours
Pop-up Shop Cheap and low cost.  On demand.  Can get instant feedback on places and products Hard to keep a following unless pop-ups are “regular”
Selling to Retailers High visibility if products in a well-known shop.  Potential of high volume Profits lower as retailers will demand very low costs to them.  At the mercy of others to sell your products
Selling to Distributors or Wholesalers Easier to sell volume Harder to create a brand following.  Lower profits.  At the mercy of others to sell your products
Mail order catalogues Great way to showcase products.  High quality catalogues will be kept if interesting Higher cost to produce catalogues.  Perceived as old fashioned.
Sales agents Great way to get products in front of people, without having to pay a regular wage bill (paid on commission) Freelance, so no real control over how the products are being marketed

So what will the best way be?  In many cases, it will be more than one route.  Maximise your chances for success by approaching customers from different angles.  That way there is always a backup if one fails.

How to choose the right route to market 

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