Retail in Modern Times – Understanding the concept

Posted by Ugbana Benson on 19th Feb, 2019

Firstly, what is retail?

The basic definition of retail bounces between the idea of selling and the quantity involved. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, ” retail is the act of selling goods to the public, usually in small amounts for their own use.”
The physical shop structure, online store, catalogue, or mobile device platform is called a single point of purchase. However, to complete a sale, some steps must be followed. Importantly, Know that there is a universal chain of distribution that exists for this purpose. In marketing, this chain ensures the products get to those that need it.


Retail and Supply Chain



Before the goods get to their final points of consumption, they have to pass through channels that make up the Distribution chain. In total there are four major parties involved which are; manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and the final consumer.



The first group on the chain are the manufacturers. They work with the raw materials for production and operate on plants and factories. The manufactures job primarily involves combining chemicals, making food items, assembling machinery, amongst other things. Without them, there would be no form of sale possible. The manufacturing stage is very labour intensive.



Wholesalers are the second group that make up the chain. In the distribution chain, they are known as middlemen. This is because their function is to connect the manufacturers and retailers. Wholesalers buy goods in large quantities and store them in warehouses for the retailers to buy.



In the third group, we have the retailers who are also middlemen because they connect the wholesalers with the final product consumer. They purchase in bulk and sell in smaller quantities. They have first-hand knowledge of the market performance of the goods sold, hence, they are important.



lastly, we have the consumer at the bottom of the distribution chain. Consumers buy in small quantities for direct or personal consumption. Without the consumer, production will be impossible.


Retail in Modern Times

Interestingly, retail has a new look. With the advent of technology, retail is now possible from almost anywhere. Retailing isn’t confined to just physical stores anymore. Retail stores are commonly broken down into different types and having This knowledge will help you run your business more efficiently.


Department stores

Department stores allow for the sale of a wide selection of commodities found in different departments of the same store. These include; food items, clothes, jewellery, sports gear, household appliances, cosmetics etc. An example of such is Debenhams.


Grocery stores

Grocery stores are the shops that sell your food items, clothing, home appliances, all in on space. grocery stores sell a variety of items but allow you to purchase them all in one general shopping hall. Example Tesco and Lidl.


Speciality retailers

The speciality retailers only sell specific items throughout the shop. For example, Ann Summers is a lingerie and undergarment store. It will be impossible to find dresses or trousers in their shops despite the fact that they are all clothing items.


Discount retailers

Discount retailers are under the group of retail shops that sell products that are ordinarily sold by other retailers. however, they sell theirs at lower prices. This is because some of these items might have been discontinued at their original point of retail.


Mobile retailers

Mobile retailers are majorly small-scale sellers that enjoy the availability of market created by mobile device users and their want for comfortable yet fast shopping. These mobile transactions involve the delivery of the products to the customer.


Internet retailer

Internet retailers make use of the internet as their marketplace. They have online shops and the goods bought from their websites are sent out for direct delivery to the consumer. This is, therefore, a good means of measuring how far retail has come, being that no physical contact is required for a transaction to take place. An example is MyMarto. An advantage of the internet shopping website is their ability to offer commodities at a lower rate.


Importance of Retail

  • Retailers help create a strong connection between the manufacturers and the consumers.
  • They assist in easing the burden of distribution for the manufacturer.
  • Retailers make the commodities accessible to the final consumer.


Good retail practice

Good retail practice suggests that the final consumer purchasing from you, should have all the information they need to enjoy a good shopping experience. Note that it is the job of the retailer’s to help the consumer understand the product and its function better.

Retailers should adequately answer any question posed by the consumer, this way they ensure the right products go to the right people who need it. They also ensure that a reasonable price point is maintained for the benefit of all the parties involved.



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