Marketing channel length in rural India

Rajesh K. Aithal (Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, Lucknow, India)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Publication date: 9 March 2012



The aim of this paper is to understand the influence of the external environment and rural retailer purchase preference on the length of channels in rural areas in India.


The methodology involved the survey of over 686 rural retailers in 103 villages across rural India, to trace the structure of distribution channels.


The correlation analysis and ANOVA test show that channel length varies in regions based on variation in the external environment. Village retailer with his unique buying preferences also influences the distribution channel.

Research limitations/implications

The study involves only two product categories and ignores the evolutionary aspect of distribution channels.

Practical implications

The study provides pointers to marketers interested in gaining access to rural markets.


The paper is one of the first empirical studies which focuses on understanding the distribution channel in rural areas, by starting from the village retailer onwards to the channel intermediaries in the nearest small town.



Aithal, R. (2012), "Marketing channel length in rural India", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 200-217.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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