E-distribution is a type of distribution that uses purely electronic media. It is often interpreted as the buying or selling of services or goods over a public network without the physical media; this is usually done by downloading from the Internet to the consumer’s electronic device. This type of distribution is accessible to a large number of customers and is more cost effective for businesses since there is no need to provide a physical media.
E-distribution is an important component of e-commerce. There are many benefits for businesses in adopting e-distribution, the biggest benefit of which is the direct nature of the transaction (business to consumer or B2C). Consumers are assured that they are dealing with real and genuine producers or manufacturers. Another advantage is the market reach capability, which is extensive. There is less need for manpower as the seller has direct communication with the buyer. All orders can be immediately acted upon, and considerable overhead can be greatly reduced. The seller has more control in e-distribution, allowing a customer order to be delivered on time. Moreover, e-distribution can reduce or eliminate lead times and possible shortages. With the reduction in overhead, businesses can realize big profits; the payment system in e-distribution is also largely efficient and secure.
However, there are some disadvantages with e-distribution. For consumers, the distribution cost is often directly passed on to them. Targeted promotions could get more sales, which may at times not help with the real needs of the consumer. Also, with the decreased interpersonal and social contacts, there is much decision making involved on the consumer side. Furthermore, not all consumers can be reached by e-distribution.