Retailing means an activity directly related to the sale of products to the ultimate users. Retailing consists of the sale. Retailing or retail trade involves all the activities. They are related to direct sale of goods to the ultimate consumer. Retail trade is usually done by the retailers. A retailer may be defined as a dealer in goods and services who purchases from manufacturers and wholesalers and sells to the ultimate consumers. The term retailing does not cover sale by the producer of industrial goods and industrial supply houses or by retailers, to industrial buyers for use in the conduct of their business.
According to W.J. Stanton, “Retailing consists of the sale, and all activities directly related to the sale of goods or services to the ultimate consumer for personal, non – business use.”
According to Mc. Carthy, “Retailing is selling final consumer products to householders.”
Retailing consists of the sale. All other activities are directly related to the sale of goods and services to the final consumers for personal as well as household uses. Retailing is the final stage of buying and selling in the distribution channel. Retailing could be through mail order, by telephone or door to door service. The retailer is the link between the producer and the final consumers.
The retailer is one whose business is to sell to consumers a wide variety of goods which are assembled at his premises as per the needs of final users. The term retail implies sale for final consumption rather than for re-sales or for further processing. A retailer is the last link between the final user and the wholesaler or the manufacturers. Thus, the retailer is that merchant intermediary who buy goods from preceding channel members in small assorted lots and sells them in the lot requirements of final users. Retailers are generally located near the thickly populated residential areas.
According to W.J. Stanton, “A retailer is a business enterprise which sells primarily to the ultimate consumers for non- business use.”
A retailer as the last link in the chain of distribution performs many functions of marketing. The role and function of retailer can be briefly shown below:
The important function of retailer is buying and selling of goods and services. The retailer has to assemble products from different manufacturers and wholesalers as he has to keep the wide variety of stock of products to meet the varied and small requirements of a large number of customers. This assembling is possible through the prices of buying as buying is a continuous process involving selection of better goods.
Another important function of retailer is warehousing. Warehousing makes possible holding of the stocks to match between the consumer demand and the wholesalers or manufacturer supply conditions. It is possible to have an adequate and uninterrupted supply of goods. Warehousing is needed for the retailer for making the products effective.
The main aim of retailer is to sell products so bought and held by him. The retailer is rightly called as the buying agent of consumers. He is the means to dispose the goods to the consumers for producers and wholesalers and collect the sales revenue for them. Successful retailing needs a good deal of salesmanship techniques.
Risk shouldering is the important responsibility of a retailer for making out of physical deteriorations and changes in prices. These are unavoidable as he holds sufficient and variety of inventories from the time they are bought till they are sold to the consumers. The risk of loss is seen in the number of forms such as natural calamities such as fire, flood, cyclone, earthquake, spoilage and deterioration.
It is the function of retailer for grading and packing the products.Retailers undertake secondary or second round grading and packaging activities left by the manufacturers and wholesalers. The retailer sells in loose packs and very odd lots, packing assumes a particular importance. Such packing can be highly standardized or can be as per the individual requirements.
Financing is also another important function of the retailer. In the whole scheme of marketing, the contribution of retailers is really worth emphasizing in so far as consumer financing is concerned. His financing consists of credit granted on liberal terms to the consumers.
Another function of retailer is advertising.Retailers are the best agents to advertise the products, services, and ideas. In collaboration with wholesalers and manufacturers, retailers do undertake shop display, distribution of sales literature, and introduction of new products in a convincing way as he recommends what is right or wrong to a particular customer.
Another function of the retailer is to provide market information to the consumers.Retailers really enjoy an enviable position in so far collecting information from the horse’s mouth. This collected information is passed on to the wholesalers and the manufacturers for their perusal and necessary action for future adjustment and success.
A retail organization may broadly be classified on the basis of their scale of operations, into small-scale retailers and large-scale retailers. Small scale retailers include mobile retailers and fixed shopkeepers. They operate with the small amount of capital. The mobile retailers do not operate from fixed business premises but move from place to place for selling their product to consumers. Large scale retailing has assumed great importance these days. These include departmental stores, multiple shops, mail order business houses, cooperative stores and supermarkets.
A department store is large retailing business units that handle, a variety of shopping and specialty goods including men and women wears.
According to Philip Kotler. “A department store carries several product lines, typically clothing, home furnishing, and home hold goods, where each line is operated as a separate department managed by specialist buyers or merchandisers.”
A supermarket deals mostly with food and grocery items. It is generally situated at the main shopping centers. Goods are kept in open racks. The price and quality are clearly labeled on the goods.They pick up the selected goods and place them in a trolley. After selection, the trolley will be carried to the exit where a person computes the total charge. The buyer makes payment to the cashier. Then the customer takes delivery of goods.The customer's area not pressurized by the salesman. That is why many people are attracted towards the supermarket.
A multiple shop system can be defined as a system of branch shops operating under a centralized management and dealing in similar lines of products. They remit the sale proceeds regularly to the central office. Each shop is allowed to retain a small amount of cash to meet its day to day expenses. Purchasing, pricing and advertising are done centrally. There is only decentralization of selling. The chain stores display goods in an identical manner and sell the same standard merchandise. Bata and Raymond, Merina Impex are some of the examples of a chain store.
Consumers’ cooperative store is organized under the Cooperative Societies Act. It is owned and operated by the consumer themselves. The capital of the store is provided by the shareholders. The aim of the store is to provide services to the members and not the maximization of profit. The establishment of consumers’ cooperative store is an attempt to eliminate middlemen. They increase the cost of the product for the consumers. They buy in large quantities directly from the manufacturers and sell them to consumers at reasonable prices.
Mail order houses are the retailing enterprises. They carry on business through mail. Mail order business is known as selling through the post for the retailer contact and shopping by post for the consumer. Under this business, the retailer contacts the customers through some sort of advertising. Advertising is carried through the press or by sending leaflets and catalogs giving the necessary details about the product. They send the literature about their products through the mail.
Koirala, Dr. Kundan Dutta. Elementary Marketing. Kathmandu: Buddha Academic Publishers and Distributors Pvt. Ltd, 2014.
Thapa, Gopal, Dipendra K. Neupane and Dilli Raj Mishra. Introduction to Marketing. Kathmandu: Asmita Books Publishers and Distributors (P) Ltd., 2014.