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Marketing local products:
Short and long distribution channels

“Rural Innovation”
Dossier n°7
LEADER European Observatory
July 2000


“Short” or “long” distribution channels?


Section I:
Marketing local products via short distribution channels

Chapter 1: A few general factors

  • 1.1 Short distribution channels, opportunities for enhancing added value
  • 1.2 A gradual approach
  • 1.3 Capitalising on geographical or cultural proximity
  • 1.4 Recognising the distinctiveness of an area’s products


Chapter 2: Conditions for success

  • 2.1 Realistically assessing the volumes that can be sold via short distribution channels
  • 2.2 Developing collective action
  • 2.3 Harnessing commercial skills to develop direct selling
  • 2.4 Ensuring product quality
  • 2.5 Adopting a gradual approach
  • 2.6 Designing new products


Chapter 3: Which clientele? Which strategy?

  • 3.1 Clientele
  • 3.2 Defining a commercial strategy


Chapter 4: The different forms of marketing

  • 4.1 Selling direct from the farm, the craftworker’s premises or the company’s point of sale
  • 4.2 Markets and fairs
  • 4.3 Specialised points of sale
  • 4.4 Distance selling
  • 4.5 Sale combined with a cultural or tourist service


Chapter 5: Placing products on the market

  • 5.1 (Formal) market surveys and test marketing
  • 5.2 Territorial dimension of supply
  • 5.3 Analysing supply and demand
  • 5.4 Project approach


Chapter 6: Support for producers’ groups

  • 6.1 Arranging for potential project proposers to meet
  • 6.2 Setting up forums for discussion and expressions of interest is likely to open up new prospects and to create a new balance
  • 6.3 Encouraging regional development initiatives around local products
  • 6.4 Guiding and assisting an existing group
  • 6.5 Defining objectives and priorities for contractually agreeing on collective organisation
  • 6.6 Helping all participants to clarify their motivations
  • 6.7 Taking time to get acquainted and to create a collective identity
  • 6.8 Drawing up the contract and the internal operating rules
  • 6.9 Distributing tasks
  • 6.10 Updating objectives and priorities


Section II:
Collectively marketing local products via long distribution channels



Chapter 1: Issues at stake

  • 1.1 Increasing demand
  • 1.2 New market conditions
  • 1.3 A changing rural context
  • 1.4 Six examples, but a multitude of lessons to be learned


Chapter 2: Conditions for success

  • 2.1 Products: “real quality” is not subjective
  • 2.2 Producers: the option of jointly conducting initiatives on a solid foundation
  • 2.3 The promoter group: professionalism is more than just an option
  • 2.4 Collective motivation


Chapter 3: Start-up

  • 3.1 Planning collective initiatives for the commercial development of local products: customisation
  • 3.2 A contractually agreed partnership
  • 3.3 Creating a sales department


Chapter 4: Marketing channels

  • 4.1 Traditional distribution
  • 4.2 Entering mass retailing
  • 4.3 Finding out what makes the consumer-zapper tick
  • 4.4 Foreign markets




Section III:
Technical data sheets


The first section of this document (“Marketing
local products via short distribution channels”)
was drafted by Martine François (GRET/Groupe de
Recherche et d’Echanges Technologiques, France),
following a LEADER seminar held in Mirandela
(Terras Quente LEADER area, Nord, Portugal)
from 4 to 8 February 1998.The second section
(“Marketing local products via long distribution
channels”) was drafted by Carlo Ricci (Agriteknica,
Italy), in collaboration with Seamus O’Reilly
(University College Cork, Ireland) and Paul Soto
(Iniciativas Económicas y Ambientales, Spain),
following a LEADER seminar held in Kinsale (West
Cork LEADER area, Ireland), from 11 to 15 June 1997.
Daniel Pujol (MIRVALT/MIssion Régionale à la
VALorisation des Terroirs, France) wrote the
introduction. Yves Champetier, Catherine de
Borchgrave and Jean-Luc Janot (LEADER European
Observatory) finalised the overall document.
N.B.: Many of the examples cited in this dossier
refer to measures and/or businesses that are
presented in more detail in the directory
“Innovative Rural Development Actions”,
published by the LEADER European Observatory
in 1997, and in the “Actions” database on the
Rural-Europe Internet site.
Production coordination:
Christine Charlier.


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