Is catalog/specialty distribution a good career path in 2023?

You might be wondering if working in specialized catalog/distribution is smart in 2023.

This is because the retail landscape is rapidly evolving. It is therefore natural to question whether this industry still offers good opportunities.

The short answer is yes – catalog and specialty distribution remain solid career options today.

Here’s a breakdown of why it can be a great route.

What is catalog/special distribution?

Catalog/Special Distribution involves supply chain management for companies that sell products through catalogs. ecommerce site or other direct marketing channels

Instead of working with retailers You work directly with the manufacturer to receive orders. Process payments Pick up/pack products and deliver products to customers

Some of their key responsibilities include:

  • Demand forecasting and inventory requirements planning
  • Negotiate price and purchase terms with sellers.
  • Developing relationships with suppliers and sourcing products
  • Oversee order processing and customer service.
  • Coordinate logistics, warehousing and distribution.
  • Analyze sales data and identify growth opportunities.

It is a rapidly changing environment that requires organization. analytical skills and customer focus You act as a vital link between suppliers and end consumers.

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Why is catalog/specialty distribution a good career path for 2023?

Even though retail channels are shifting online But catalog/specialty distribution is still a more than $100 billion industry.

It may look different today than it did a few decades ago. But it provides stability and growth potential.

Here are some of the key benefits that will be available in 2023:

1. The continued growth of e-commerce

Ecommerce sales continue to grow at double-digit rates each year. As more and more purchases are made online Distribution opportunities are opening up.

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Being behind a direct-to-consumer ecommerce site can be a great place to build a career.

You will be at the center of online order fulfillment as purchases shift to digital channels.

2. Distribution of retail channels

Today’s retailers use multiple channels to reach consumers. Including storefronts, catalogs, e-commerce, mobile apps, social media, and more.

Having expertise in direct distribution channels allows you to support this omnichannel approach. The need for seamless order fulfillment across all channels ensures demand is met.

3. Customer expectations are increasing.

Today’s customers expect faster delivery, free shipping, and easy returns. and excellent service

Meeting these higher expectations requires seamless distribution capabilities. Your inventory control, logistics, and customer service skills will be important.

Having experience in catalog/specialty distribution allows you to enable this type of model.

4. Supply chain challenges

Continued supply chain disruptions highlight the need to build resilient distribution networks. Catalog and specialty sellers tend to be more agile than large retailers.

Your ability to change in the face of challenges will be invaluable. Direct distribution knowledge will prepare you to adapt to turbulent times.

5. High job satisfaction

A 2022 Payscale survey found that catalog/specialty sales jobs have higher than average job satisfaction scores.

Employees appreciate the promptness, problem solving and direct interaction with customers. When you see the impact your work has on customers. So it’s quite worth it.

What types of work are there?

There are a variety of roles available at catalog and specialty distribution companies. Some positions you can pursue include:

1. Warehouse management

Oversee the daily operations of the distribution center – staffing Inventory control Shipping/Receiving and safety

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2. Logistics management

Coordinate the transportation of outbound orders. Manage carrier relationships and optimize delivery routes.

3. Purchasing Manager

Provide products for sale Negotiate with the seller Cost analysis and manage contracts

4. Operations Manager

Manage your workflow and distribution processes. Identify areas for improvement Lead a cross-functional team

5. Customer Service Manager

Build and coach call center teams to provide excellent service. Deal with escalating issues and monitor service metrics.

6. Financial Analyst

Monitor KPIs such as revenue, costs, and gross profit. Prepare sales reports and forecasts Identify growth opportunities through data

7. Marketing Manager

Develop advertising campaigns and catalogs Analyze performance and customize strategies Expand customer reach

8. IT Manager

Maintain core systems such as ERP, WMS, and e-commerce. Leading projects to increase efficiency with technology

9. Product development

Research market needs identify new products Check suppliers and manage classification

What skills are needed?

To be successful in distributing catalogs/special products Core skills like these are extremely valuable:

  • organization – Manage various tasks Lots of efficiency in the midst of speed.
  • problem solving – Solve problems that arise quickly
  • communication – Collaborate cross-functionally and work with vendors.
  • Analysis – Collect and interpret data to increase operational efficiency.
  • technology – Learn new systems and identify areas for automation.
  • Customer service – Build relationships and respond to buyer needs.
  • Leadership – Motivate the team during times of peak volume.
  • mobility – Adapt to changing needs and supply chain challenges.

Many employers also prefer applicants with a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management, logistics, or business.

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How do you get started as a catalog/specialty distributor?

If you are interested in pursuing a career in specialized cataloging/distribution Here are some tips:

  • Research top employers such as Williams-Sonoma, Verizon connect, Meta, Delland Amazon To find open roles Looking for an entry level job in a warehouse. Information Center or reporting to gain basic experience
  • To test To intern at a distribution company while in college. Rotate through various functions
  • If you want to build expertise Get a certification such as CPIM (Certified Manufacturing and Inventory Management) or CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional).
  • Consider a master’s degree in supply chain or operations management to advance to a leadership role.
  • Attend industry events and join groups such as National Association of Catalog Distributors (NACD)) To network and learn best practices
  • Review necessary skills such as Microsoft Excel, data analysis, team leadership and Project management.
  • Highlight your customer service, communication, and problem-solving experience on your resume.


With a strong foundation and passion for the job Cataloging and specialized distribution can be a stable and engaging career. With a lot of development potential in 2023 and beyond.

The industry continues to evolve but continues to play an important role in delivering products to customers.

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