Retail is the process of selling consumer goods or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution to earn a profit. Retailers satisfy demand identified through a supply chain. The term "retailer" is typically applied where a service provider fills the small orders of a large number of individuals, who are end-users, rather than large orders of a small number of wholesale, corporate or government clientele. Shopping generally refers to the act of buying products. Sometimes this is done to obtain final goods, including necessities such as food and clothing; sometimes it takes place as a recreational activity. Recreational shopping often involves window shopping and browsing: it does not always result in a purchase.
Retail markets and shops have a very ancient history, dating back to antiquity. Some of the earliest retailers were itinerant peddlers. Over the centuries, retail shops were transformed from little more than "rude booths" to the sophisticated shopping malls of the modern era.
Most modern retailers typically make a variety of strategic level decisions including the type of store, the market to be served, the optimal product assortment, customer service, supporting services and the store's overall market positioning. Once the strategic retail plan is in place, retailers devise the retail mix which includes product, price, place, promotion, personnel and presentation. In the digital age, an increasing number of retailers are seeking to reach broader markets by selling through multiple channels, including both bricks and mortar and online retailing. Digital technologies are also changing the way that consumers pay for goods and services. Retailing support services may also include the provision of credit, delivery services, advisory services, stylist services and a range of other supporting services.
Retail shops occur in a diverse range of types and in many different contexts - from strip shopping centres in residential streets through to large, indoor shopping malls. Shopping streets may restrict traffic to pedestrians only. Sometimes a shopping street has a partial or full roof to create a more comfortable shopping environment - protecting customers from various types of weather conditions such as extreme temperatures, winds or precipitation. Forms of non-shop retailing include online retailing (a type of electronic-commerce used for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions) and mail order.
Retail comes from the Old French word tailler, which means "to cut off, clip, pare, divide" in terms of tailoring (1365). It was first recorded as a noun with the meaning of a "sale in small quantities" in 1433 (from the Middle French retail, "piece cut off, shred, scrap, paring"). As in the French, the word, retail, in both Dutch and German, also refers to the sale of small quantities of items.
Retail refers to the activity of reselling. A retailer is any person or organisation is a reseller who sells goods or services directly to consumers or end-users. Some retailers may sell to business customers, and such sales are termed non-retail activity. In some jurisdictions or regions, legal definitions of retail specify that at least 80 percent of sales activity must be to end-users.
Retailing often occurs in retail stores or service establishments, but may also occur through direct selling such as through vending machines, door-to-door sales or electronic channels. Although the idea of retail is often associated with the purchase of goods, the term may be applied to service-providers that sell to consumers. Retail service providers include retail banking, tourism, insurance, private healthcare, private education, private security firms, legal firms, publishers, public transport and others. For example, a tourism provider might have a retail division that books travel and accommodation for consumers plus a wholesale division that purchases blocks of accommodation, hospitality, transport and sightseeing which are subsequently packaged into a holiday tour for sale to retail travel agents.
Some retailers badge their stores as "wholesale outlets" offering "wholesale prices." While this practice may encourage consumers to imagine that they have access to lower prices, while being prepared to trade-off reduced prices for cramped in-store environments, in a strict legal sense, a store that sells the majority of its merchandise direct to consumers, is defined as a retailer rather than a wholesaler. Different jurisdictions set parameters for the ratio of consumer to business sales that define a retail business.
The retail format (also known as the retail formula) influences the consumer's store choice and addresses the consumer's expectations. At its most basic level, a retail format is a simple marketplace, that is; a location where goods and services are exchanged. In some parts of the world, the retail sector is still dominated by small family-run stores, but large retail chains are increasingly dominating the sector, because they can exert considerable buying power and pass on the savings in the form of lower prices. Many of these large retail chains also produce their own private labels which compete alongside manufacturer brands. Considerable consolidation of retail stores has changed the retail landscape, transferring power away from wholesalers and into the hands of the large retail chains.
In Britain and Europe, the retail sale of goods is designated as a service activity. The European Service Directive applies to all retail trade including periodic markets, street traders and peddlers.
Retail stores may be classified by the type of product carried:
Retailers carrying highly perishable foodstuffs such as meat, dairy and fresh produce typically require cold storage facilities. Consumers purchase food products on a very regular purchase cycle - e.g. daily, weekly or monthly.
Softline retailers sell goods that are consumed after a single use, or have a limited life (typically under three years) in they are normally consumed. Soft goods include clothing, other fabrics, footwear, toiletries, cosmetics, medicines and stationery.
Grocery stores, including supermarkets and hypermarkets, along with convenience stores carry a mix of food products and consumable household items such as detergents, cleansers, personal hygiene products. Consumer consumables are collectively known as fast-moving-consumer goods (FMCG) and represent the lines most often carried by supermarkets, grocers and convenience stores. For consumers, these are regular purchases and for the retailer, these products represent high turnover product lines. Grocery stores and convenience stores carry similar lines, but a convenience store is often open at times that suit its clientele and may be located for ease of access.
Retailers selling consumer durables are sometimes known as hardline retailers - automobiles, appliances, electronics, furniture, sporting goods, lumber, etc., and parts for them. Goods that do not quickly wear out and provide utility over time. For the consumer, these items often represent major purchase decisions. Consumers purchase durables over longer purchase decision cycles. For instance, the typical consumer might replace their family car every 5 years, and their home computer every 4 years.
Types of retail outlet by product type
Types of retail outlet by marketing strategy include:
A shopping arcade refers to a group of retail outlets operating under a covered walkway. Arcades are similar to shopping malls, although they typically comprise a smaller number of outlets. Shopping arcades were the evolutionary precursor to the shopping mall, and were very fashionable in the late 19th-century. Stylish men and women would promenade around the arcade, stopping to window shop, making purchases and also taking light refreshments in one of the arcade's tea-rooms. Arcades offered fashionable men and women opportunities to 'be seen' and to socialise in a relatively safe environment. Arcades continue to exist as a distinct type of retail outlet. Historic 19th-century arcades have become popular tourist attractions in cities around the world. Amusement arcades, also known as penny arcades in the US, are more modern incarnation of the eighteenth and nineteenth century shopping arcade.
An anchor store (also known as draw tenant or anchor tenant) is a larger store with a good reputation used by shopping mall management to attract a certain volume of shoppers to a precinct.
The term, 'bazaar' can have multiple meanings. It may refer to a Middle-Eastern market place while a 'penny bazaar' refers to a retail outlet that specialises in inexpensive or discounted merchandise. In the United States a bazaar can mean a "rummage sale" which describes a charity fundraising event held by a church or other community organization and in which either donated used goods are made available for sale.
A Boutique is a small store offering a select range of fashionable goods or accessories. The term, 'boutique', in retail and services, appears to be taking on a broader meaning with popular references to retail goods and retail services such as boutique hotels, boutique beers (i.e. craft beers), boutique investments etc.
By supplying a wide assortment in a single category for lower prices a category killer retailer can "kill" that category for other retailers. A category killer is a specialist store that dominates a given category. Toys "R" Us, established in 1957, is thought to be the first category killer, dominating the children's toys and games market. For a few categories, such as electronics, home hardware, office supplies and children's toys, the products are displayed at the centre of the store and a sales person will be available to address customer queries and give suggestions when required. Rival retail stores are forced to reduce their prices if a category killer enters the market in a given geographic area. Examples of category killers include Toys "R" Us and Australia's Bunnings (hardware, DIY and outdoor supplies) and Officeworks (stationery and supplies for the home office and small office). Some category killers redefine the category. For example, Australia's Bunnings began as a hardware outlet, but now supplies a broad range of goods for the home handyman or small tradesman, including kitchen cabinetry, craft supplies, gardening needs and outdoor furniture. Similarly Officeworks straddles the boundary between stationery supplies, office furniture and digital communications devices in its quest to provide for all the needs of the retail consumer and the small, home office.
Chain store is one of a series of stores owned by the same company and selling the same or similar merchandise. Chain stores aim to benefit from volume buying discounts (economies of scale) and achieve cost savings through economies of scope (e.g. centralised warehousing, marketing, promotion and administration) and pass on the cost savings in the form of lower prices.
Concept stores are similar to speciality stores in that they are very small in size, and only stock a limited range of brands or a single brand. They are typically operated by the brand that controls them. Example: L'OCCITANE en Provence. The limited size and offering of L'OCCITANE's stores is too small to be considered a speciality store. However, a concept store goes beyond merely selling products, and instead offers an immersive customer experience built around the way that a brand fits with the customer's lifestyle. Examples include Apple's concept stores, Kit Kat's concept store in Japan.
A convenience store provides limited amount of merchandise at above average prices with a speedy checkout. This store is ideal for emergency and immediate purchase consumables as it often operates with extended hours, stocking every day.
Department stores are very large stores offering an extensive assortment of both "soft" and "hard" goods which often bear a resemblance to a collection of specialty stores. A retailer of such store carries a variety of categories and has a broad assortment of goods at moderate prices. They offer considerable customer service.
A destination store is one that customers will initiate a trip specifically to visit, sometimes over a large area. These stores are often used to "anchor" a shopping mall or plaza, generating foot traffic, which is capitalized upon by smaller retailers.
Retailers that aim at one particular segment (e.g. high-end/ luxury retailers focusing on wealthy individuals or niche market).
Discount stores tend to offer a wide array of products and services, but they compete mainly on price. They offer extensive assortments of merchandise at prices lower than other retailers and are designed to be affordable for the market served. In the past, retailers sold less fashion-oriented brands. However, in more recent years companies such as TJX Companies (Own T.J. Maxx and Marshalls) and Ross Stores are discount store operations increasingly offering fashion-oriented brands on a larger scale.
The customer can shop and order through the internet and the merchandise is dropped at the customer's doorstep or an e-tailer. In some cases, e-retailers use drop shipping technique. They accept the payment for the product but the customer receives the product directly from the manufacturer or a wholesaler. This format is ideal for customers who do not want to travel to retail stores and are interested in home shopping.
A general merchandise retailer stocks a variety of products in considerable depth. The types of product offerings vary across this category. Department stores, convenience stores, hypermarkets and warehouse clubs are all examples of general merchandise retailers.
A general store is a store that supplies the main needs of the local community and is often located in outback or rural areas with low population densities. In areas of very low population density, a general store may be the only retail outlet within hundreds of miles. The general store carries a very broad product assortment; from foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals through to hardware and fuel. In addition, a general store may provide essential services such as postal services, banking services, news agency services and may also act as an agent for farm equipment and stock-food suppliers.
As the name implies, a give-away shop provides goods for free. There are several different models of give-away shop in popular use. One is where goods are free to any shopper; an alternative is that shoppers must provide a product before they can take a product and a third variation is where consumers have the option of taking goods for free or paying any amount that they can afford. For example, Australia's restaurant group Lentil as Anything operates on a pay whatever you feel is right model.
Hawkers also known as a peddlers, costermongers or street vendors; refer to a vendor of merchandise that is readily portable. Hawkers typically operate in public places such as streets, squares, public parks or gardens or near the entrances of high traffic venues such as zoos, music and entertainment venues, but may also call on homes for door-to-door seling. Hawkers are a relatively common sight across Asia.
A high street store is a term used widely in the United Kingdom where more than 5,000 High Streets where a variety of stores congregate along a main road. Stores situated in the High Street provide for the needs of a local community, and often give a locality a unique identity.
A hypermarket (also known as hypermart) provides variety and huge volumes of exclusive merchandise at low margins. The operating cost is comparatively less than other retail formats; may be defined as "a combined supermarket and discount store, at least 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) or larger, that sells a wide variety of food and general merchandise at a low price."
A mall has a range of retail shops at a single building or outlet, arranged on a single level or multiple levels. A shopping mall typically includes one or more anchor stores. The retail mix in a mall may include outlets such as food and entertainment, grocery, electronics, furniture, gifts and fashion. Malls provide 7% of retail revenue in India, 10% in Vietnam, 25% in China, 28% in Indonesia, 39% in the Philippines, and 45% in Thailand. Malls are typically managed by a central management/ marketing authority which ensures that the mall attracts the right type of retailer and an appropriate retail mix.
A small retail outlet owned and operated by an individual or family. Focuses on a relatively limited and selective set of products.
A Pop-up retail store is a temporary retail space that opens for a short period of time, possibly opening to sell a specific run of merchandise or for a special occasion or holiday period. The key to the success of a pop-up is novelty in the merchandise.
A Marketplace is defined as venue for the retail sales of all products, packed and unpacked where the sale is to end users. In practice, retail markets are most often associated with the sale of fresh produce, including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and poultry, but may also sell small consumable household goods such as cleaning agents. Globally, different terms may be used to refer to a retail market. For instance, in the Middle East, a market place may be known as a bazaar or souq/souk
A market square is a city square where traders set up temporary stalls and buyers browse for purchases. In England, such markets operate on specific days of the week. This kind of market is very ancient, and countless such markets are still in operation around the world.
A speciality (AE: specialty) store has a narrow marketing focus - either specializing on specific merchandise, such as toys, footwear, or clothing, or on a target audience, such as children, tourists, or plus-size women. Size of store varies - some speciality stores might be retail giants such as Toys "R" Us, Foot Locker, and The Body Shop, while others might be small, individual shops such as Nutters of Savile Row. Such stores, regardless of size, tend to have a greater depth of the specialist stock than general stores, and generally offer specialist product knowledge valued by the consumer. Pricing is usually not the priority when consumers are deciding upon a speciality store; factors such as branding image, selection choice, and purchasing assistance are seen as important. They differ from department stores and supermarkets which carry a wide range of merchandise.
A supermarket is a self-service store consisting mainly of grocery and limited products on non-food items. They may adopt a Hi-Lo or an EDLP strategy for pricing. The supermarkets can be anywhere between 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) and 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2). Example: SPAR supermarket.
A vending machine is an automated piece of equipment wherein customers can drop the money in the machine which dispenses the customer's selection. The vending machine is a pure self-service option. Machines may carry a phone number which customers can call in the event of a fault.
Some stores take a no frills approach, while others are "mid-range" or "high end", depending on what income level they target.
Warehouse clubs are membership-based retailers that usually sell a wide variety of merchandise, in which customers may buy large, wholesale quantities of the store's products, which makes these clubs attractive to both bargain hunters and small business owners. The clubs are able to keep prices low due to the no-frills format of the stores. In addition, customers may be required to pay annual membership fees in order to shop.
Warehouse stores are retailers housed in warehouses, and offer low-cost, often high-quantity goods with minimal services, e.g. goods are piled on pallets or steel shelves. shopping aisles are narrow and cramped, added-value services such as home delivery are non-existent.
Other types of retail store include:
Retailers can opt for a format as each provides different retail mix to its customers based on their customer demographics, lifestyle and purchase behaviour. An effective format will dtermine how products are display products, as well as how target customers are attracted.
To achieve and maintain a foothold in an existing market, a prospective retail establishment must overcome the following hurdles:
|Worldwide top ten retailers|
|Rank||Company||Country of origin||2015 revenue ($US million)||Dominant format 2015||Number of countries of operation 2015|
|2||Costco||United States||$116,199||Cash & Carry/Warehouse Club||10|
|4||Schwarz Gruppe (Lidl)||Germany||$94,448||Discount Store||26|
|5||Walgreens Boots Alliance||United States||$89,631||Drug Store/Pharmacy||10|
|6||The Home Depot||United States||$88,519||Home Improvement||4|
Retail stores may or may not have competitors close enough to affect their pricing, product availability, and other operations. A 2006 survey found that only 38% of retail stores in India believed they faced more than slight competition. Competition also affected less than half of retail stores in Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, and Azerbaijan. In all countries the main competition was domestic, not foreign.
|Country||% of retail stores facing competition|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||79%|
Retail trade provides 9% of all jobs in India and 14% of GDP.
Between 1985 and 2018 there have been 46,755 mergers or acquisitions conducted globally in the retail sector (either acquirer or target from the retail industry). These deals cumulate to an overall known value of around 2.561 bil. USD. The three major Retail M&A waves took place in 2000, 2007 and lately in 2017. However the all-time high in terms of number of deals was in 2016 with more than 2,700 deals. In terms of added value 2007 set the record with 225 bil. USD.
|Date Announced||Acquiror Name||Acquiror Mid Industry||Acquiror Nation||Target Name||Target Mid Industry||Target Nation||Value of Transaction ($mil)|
|11/01/2006||CVS Corp||Other Retailing||United States||Caremark Rx Inc||Healthcare Providers & Services (HMOs)||United States||26,293.58|
|03/09/2007||AB Acquisitions Ltd||Other Financials||United Kingdom||Alliance Boots PLC||Other Retailing||United Kingdom||19,604.19|
|12/18/2000||Shareholders||Other Financials||United Kingdom||Granada Compass-Hospitality||Food & Beverage Retailing||United Kingdom||17,914.68|
|01/20/2006||AB Acquisition LLC||Other Financials||United States||Albertsons Inc||Food & Beverage Retailing||United States||17,543.85|
|02/26/2013||Home Depot Inc||Home Improvement Retailing||United States||Home Depot Inc||Home Improvement Retailing||United States||17,000.00|
|02/28/2005||Federated Department Stores||Discount and Department Store Retailing||United States||May Department Stores Co||Non Residential||United States||16,465.87|
|08/30/1999||Carrefour SA||Food & Beverage Retailing||France||Promodes||Food & Beverage Retailing||France||15,837.48|
|06/19/2012||Walgreen Co||Other Retailing||United States||Alliance Boots GmbH||Other Retailing||Switzerland||15,292.48|
|07/02/2007||Wesfarmers Ltd||Food & Beverage Retailing||Australia||Coles Group Ltd||Food & Beverage Retailing||Australia||15,287.79|
|06/03/2011||Wal-Mart Stores Inc||Discount and Department Store Retailing||United States||Wal-Mart Stores Inc||Discount and Department Store Retailing||United States||14,288.00|
The United States retail sector features the largest number of large, lucrative retailers in the world. A 2012 Deloitte report published in STORES magazine indicated that of the world's top 250 largest retailers by retail sales revenue in fiscal year 2010, 32% of those retailers were based in the United States, and those 32% accounted for 41% of the total retail sales revenue of the top 250.
Since 1951, the U.S. Census Bureau has published the Retail Sales report every month. It is a measure of consumer spending, an important indicator of the US GDP. Retail firms provide data on the dollar value of their retail sales and inventories. A sample of 12,000 firms is included in the final survey and 5,000 in the advanced one. The advanced estimated data is based on a subsample from the US CB complete retail & food services sample.
In 2011, the grocery market in six countries of Central Europe was worth nearly EUR107bn, 2.8% more than the previous year when expressed in local currencies. The increase was generated foremost by the discount stores and supermarket segments, and was driven by the skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs. This information is based on the latest PMR report entitled Grocery retail in Central Europe 2012
National accounts show a combined total of retail and wholesale trade, with hotels and restaurants. in 2012 the sector provides over a fifth of GDP in tourist-oriented island economies, as well as in other major countries such as Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, and Spain. In all four of the latter countries, this fraction is an increase over 1970, but there are other countries where the sector has declined since 1970, sometimes in absolute terms, where other sectors have replaced its role in the economy. In the United States the sector has declined from 19% of GDP to 14%, though it has risen in absolute terms from $4,500 to $7,400 per capita per year. In China the sector has grown from 7.3% to 11.5%, and in India even more, from 8.4% to 18.7%. Emarketer predicts China will have the largest retail market in the world in 2016.
|Economy||As % of GDP, 1970||As % of GDP, 2012||1970 value per capita (2012 prices)||2012 value per capita|
|Antigua and Barbuda||26.4||26.8||$1,081||$3,540|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||17.9||$807|
|British Virgin Islands||19.7||27.2||$2,178||$8,821|
|Central African Republic||14.0||13.5||$100||$65|
|China: Hong Kong SAR||19.1||29.3||$1,197||$10,772|
|China: Macao SAR||8.0||14.9||$592||$11,629|
|Democratic Republic of North Korea||11.7||18.3||$231||$107|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Iran (Islamic Republic of)||10.6||11.6||$473||$834|
|Laos People's DR||14.2||20.3||$44||$278|
|Papua New Guinea||13.9||9.3||$243||$204|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||8.4||12.6||$256||$1,800|
|Sao Tome and Principe||25.5||26.2||$273||$363|
|St. Vincent and the Grenadines||12.6||16.5||$231||$1,045|
|State of Palestine||16.7||18.4||$136||$448|
|Syrian Arab Republic||20.4||22.7||$184||$482|
|Trinidad and Tobago||18.9||17.1||$1,323||$2,966|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||38.2||38.0||$1,557||$8,520|
|Tanzania: Mainland, see also Zanzibar||15.0||15.8||$51||$96|
|United Arab Emirates||15.4||12.1||$24,122||$5,024|
|Yemen Arab Republic (Former)||13.7|
|Yemen Democratic (Former)||21.2|
Among retailers and retails chains a lot of consolidation has appeared over the last couple of decades. Between 1988 and 2010, worldwide 40,788 mergers & acquisitions with a total known value of 2.255 trillion USD have been announced. The largest transactions with involvement of retailers in/from the United States have been: the acquisition of Albertson's Inc. for 17 bil. USD in 2006, the merger between Federated Department Stores Inc with May Department Stores valued at 16.5 bil. USD in 2005 - now Macy's, and the merger between Kmart Holding Corp and Sears Roebuck & Co with a value of 10.9 bil. USD in 2004.
Types of sales person:
Types of store or shop:
Influential thinkers in sales and retail:
Perhaps the only substantiated type of retail marketing practice that evolved from Neolithic times to the present was the itinerant tradesman (also known as peddler, packman or chapman). These forerunners of travelling salesmen roamed from village to village bartering stone axes in exchange for salt or other goods (Dixon, 1975).
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