A Wide Variety of Retail Solutions


A Wide Variety of Retail Solutions

Retail is the act of selling consumer products or services directly to customers in a retail outlet to make a profit. Retailers meet demand identified by a supply chain extending from producer to retailer. Retailers also act as sales personnel or representatives who promote and sell the products or services.

The supply chain in retailing is made up of three elements – manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer. The manufacturer produces the goods to be sold. Wholesalers get products from manufacturers and then distribute them to retailers or outlets. And retailers or outlets sell the goods to end-users.

There are two types of retailing – small-scale and large-scale. Small-scale retailing takes place in the scope of a single store. Large-scale retailing occurs in chains of several stores. A small retail outlet may carry goods produced by a single manufacturer or a number of manufacturers.

One can observe numerous methods of small-scale and large-scale retailing. Catalog showrooms, which display items for sale at wholesale prices; bookstores, which sell publications, both new and used; video game shops, which offer game consoles, computers and accessories; clothing stores, which sell apparel produced by many companies; snack bars, which sell food items; ice cream shops, which sell frozen yogurt and sherbet; stationery stores, which sell stationery items and gift shops, which sell confectionery, toys, electronic devices and stationery supplies. In some developed countries, the government provides subsidies to small entrepreneurs to start their own retail outlets. Even the Department of Defense has training courses on retailing.

In the United States, the retail business is widely divided into two categories-those who sell mainly to consumers and those who sell to institutional customers (government agencies, hospitals, schools, corporations). Shopping centers and shopping malls are examples of retail outlets. The main characteristic of such stores is a wide variety of merchandise offered for sale, with sales staff generally on the sales floor.

Large discount stores are the most common types of retail stores. They often have a wide variety of merchandise available and offer special promotions frequently. Most discount stores operate as cash-only stores, which implies that customers have to pay with cash when they buy a product. Many such stores operate on a cash-only basis, with merchandise being offered on different days, such as Sunday and Saturday. A large number of discount stores operate through a network of brokers and carry merchandise from a number of different manufacturers.