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13 Sales Channels Explained

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

Ever wondered how you can go about selling your products or services? Then you will have to find adequate sales channels that you can use to get the sales that you need. Simply put, a sales channel is a way of closing a sale to your customers. It could be through channels such as an eCommerce site, direct marketing, a physical retail shop, through agents, or a whole variety of other channels.

There are 13 in total and this article will give you a brief explanation of each.

1. Retail

One of the more traditional sales channels is a physical store, shop, or showroom. Somewhere a customer can go to see your products and get information/sales speech from staff.

2. eCommerce

Think retail but online and you have the eCommerce sales channel. Consumers can visit an online store and make purchases using credit/debit cards, e-wallets and other payment methods. Selling through apps and games also counts as eCommerce.

3. Personal Selling

Having established a network of potential customers, a dedicated sales force is used to sell in a face-to-face fashion. They commonly use this in areas such as B2B sales.

4. Direct Marketing

Direct marketing involves directly contacting potential customers to offer goods and services. Traditional forms of this marketing include phoning potential customers, mailing them, or performing door-to-door sales. Online, they do this via email.

5. Wholesale

Rather than selling a product themselves, a wholesaler would sell to a retailer or eCommerce store at a cheaper wholesale price. They would then market and sell the products to customers.

6. Automated Retail

Selling products via vending machines or automated kiosks at airports, malls, resorts, and other locations that attract large numbers of people are called automated retail. Customers choose and pay for their product and the machine automatically dispenses it to them.

7. Sales Outsourcing

A company that does not have the expertise, time, or budget to put together their own sales team for a product, can take advantage of sales outsourcing. This is the hiring of a third party sales force to sell the product.

8. White Label

Think supermarkets own brand goods and you have white label selling. Another company makes those products but allows them to put their own brand on the labelling. Reselling of white label goods is regularly done, both online and offline.

9. Resellers

A simplified sales channel, reselling is where somebody buys a product only to sell it via their own means. A good example is eBay or Amazon whereby sellers get goods from elsewhere before selling on. Check out this VPN website for an example of resellers in the VPN industry in Brazil.

10. Value Added Resellers

Taking reselling a step further is to add more value to the product or service when reselling. A company builds security alarms, but an electrical installation company may purchase those alarms but also include installation when selling it to customers.

11. Agents

Commission-based agents will work on your behalf to sell your goods. You do not employ them and will only make money through successful sales.

12. Import/Export

This is the buying or selling of goods from foreign markets. A company could import products to sell locally or export their goods for another company to sell in that country.

13. Original Equipment Manufacturer

This is a concept whereby one company needs parts from another to manufacture a finished product. An example would be a furniture manufacturer that needs to buy screws or other materials from another company.


Although some are industry specific, the above goes to show that there are many sales channels being used by businesses around the world. There are some brilliant methods that you can use to get your products and services sold, it is just about selecting those that are likely to be successful for your business.

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