What is an Intermediary?

What is an Intermediary?

What is an Intermediary? Jonathan Poland

An intermediary is a person or organization that acts as a go-between or intermediary for two or more parties in a transaction. Intermediaries can facilitate transactions by providing information, expertise, or other services that enable parties to engage in a successful transaction. They can play a variety of roles, including facilitating communication, providing advice and guidance, negotiating terms, and helping to ensure that the parties involved are able to fulfill their obligations.

Examples of intermediaries include brokers, agents, distributors, wholesalers, and other middlemen who facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers. In some cases, intermediaries may take on a more active role, such as by purchasing goods or services on behalf of a buyer and then reselling them to the buyer at a higher price.

Intermediaries play an important role in facilitating transactions and enabling parties to engage in successful business relationships. By providing information, expertise, and other services, intermediaries can help to ensure that transactions are completed smoothly and efficiently. Here are some examples.

Business Intermediary

A business intermediary plays some role in a business transaction. For example, a trading house that imports goods into Singapore on behalf of a German manufacturer.


A broker represents the interests of a party in a commercial transaction. For example, a real estate broker that represents the seller of a property.


Like a broker, an agent represents the interests of a party. The term agent is applied to an individual professional and broker is applied to an organization that represents the interests of parties. For example, a literary agent who represents the interests of a writer.


Middleman is a term for business intermediaries who sit in the value chain between the producer and consumer. For example, a vegetable wholesaler who buys vegetables from farms and sells them to restaurants and retailers.

Supply Chain

Supply chain intermediaries are any firm that are involved in physically delivering goods to the consumer. For example, a freight forward company that handles the logistics of delivering solar panels from Vietnam to Canada.

Marketing Intermediary

A marketing intermediary is any firm that is involved with marketing a good including distribution, sales and promotion. For example, a car dealership that closes sales on behalf of a car manufacturer.

Channel Intermediary

Channel intermediary is another term for marketing intermediaries that are involved in distribution. For example, a farmers cooperative that sells agricultural goods to wholesalers on behalf of hundreds of farms.


Markets that provide a venue for buying and selling.


An informal term for anyone who facilitates a process for a fee. For example, a mediator who helps to negotiate a solution to a dispute.

Internet Intermediary

An internet intermediary is any firm that helps people to use the internet including connectivity, search, social media and publishing platforms such as a video sharing site or blogging tool.


Platforms are digital environments that allow firms to develop and distribute systems, applications and media. For example, a platform that allows firms to develop and deliver mobile apps.

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