Who is a Middleman? Explain briefly the role and importance of middlemen in the distribution system.
Middlemen is said to be an intermediary between the producer and consumer to help distribution of goods. With the help of middlemen, goods can be delivered easily, conveniently and efficiently to the consumers. Agents, retailers and wholesalers are called intermediaries. Goods of daily consumption reach the customers with the help of these intermediaries. Their role is to directly negotiate between buyers and sellers whether they buy the goods or not. Various functions are performed by these intermediaries like buying, selling, assembling, standardization and grading, packing, risk bearing etc.
They find out the producers who, produce different product, identify the consumers needs and then distribute the goods to the potential buyers. They help in distributing goods from producers to consumers. As producers do not sell the goods directly to the consumers, they involve various. intermediaries called middlemen for this purpose.
The role of middlemen is the distribution of goods lies in the marketing functions which they perform. They perform various marketing functions efficiently and at a lower cost because they are the specialized people who have proper knowledge and skill. They are said to be the main participants in the distribution system. If they are not there in the distribution process, goods cannot be delivered to the consumers easily and on time. Channel of distribution is longer, if there are large number of middlemen involved.
Efficiency of distribution depends upon the size and location of middlemen in the channel of distribution. They provide local convenience to consumers, provide field stock, funding of field stock, after, sale services and handle all types of consumers complaints, help in promoting sales through salesmanship and displays, and feedback about the market to producers and information about products to consumers. Businessmen prefer middlemen so that they can concentrate on production activity which may give them more profit and to get free from botheration of distribution.