A Business Encyclopedia


Definition: Retailing is a distribution process, in which all the activities involved in selling the merchandise directly to the final consumer (i.e. the one who intends to use the product) are included. It encompasses sale of goods and services from a point of purchase to the end user, who is going to use that product.

Any business entity which sells goods to the end user and not for business use or for resale, whether it is a manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer, are said to be engaged in the process of retailing, irrespective of the manner in which goods are sold.

Retailer implies any organization, whose maximum part of revenue comes from retailing. In the supply chain, retailers are the final link between the manufacturers and ultimate consumer.

Types of Retailing

  • Store Retailing: Department store is the best form of store retailing, to attract a number of customers. The other types of store retailing includes, speciality store, supermarket, convenience store, catalogue showroom, drug store, super store, discount store, extreme value store. Different competitive and pricing strategy is adopted by different store retailers.
  • Non-store Retailing: It is evident from the name itself, that when the selling of merchandise takes place outside the conventional shops or stores, it is termed as non-store retailing. It is classfied as under:
    • Direct marketing: In this process, consumer direct channels are employed by the company to reach and deliver products to the customers. It includes direct mail marketing, catalog marketing, telemarketing, online shopping etc.
    • Direct selling:Otherwise called as multilevel selling and network selling, that involves door to door selling or at home sales parties. Here, in this process the sales person of the company visit the home of the host, who has invited acquaintances, the sales person demonstrate the products and take orders.
    • Automatic vending: Vending machines are primarily found in offices, factories, gasoline stations, large retail stores, restaurants etc. which offer a variety of products including impulse goods such as coffee, candy, nnewspaper, soft drinks etc.
    • Buying service: The retail organization serves a number of clients collectively, such as employees of an organization, who are authorized to purchase goods from specific retailers that have contracted to give discount, in exchange for membership.
  • Corporate Retailing: It includes retail organizations such as corporate chain store, franchises, retailer and consumer cooperatives and merchandising conglomerates. There are a number of advantages that these organizations can achieve jointly, such as economies of scale, better and qualified employees, wider brand recognition, etc.

With the emergence of new forms of retailing, competition is also increasing between them. It is one of the fast-growing and challenging industry.

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