Retail: Meaning and Definition

The distribution of consumer products begins with the producer and ends at the ultimate consumer. Between the producer and the consumer there is a middleman—the retailer, who links the producers and the ultimate consumers. Retailing is defined as a conclusive set of activities or steps used to sell a product or a service to consumers for their personal or family use. It is responsible for matching individual demands of the consumer with supplies of all the manufacturers. The word ‘retail’ is derived from the French work retailer, meaning ‘to cut a piece off’ or ‘to break bulk’.

A retailer is a person, agent, agency, company, or organization which is instrumental in reaching the goods, merchandise, or services to the ultimate consumer. Retailers perform specific activities such as anticipating customer’s wants, developing assortments of products, acquiring market information, and financing. A common assumption is that retailing involves only the sale of products in stores. However, it also includes the sale of services like those offered at a restaurant, parlour, or by car rental agencies. The selling need not necessarily take place through a store. Retailing encompasses selling through the mail, the Internet, door-to-door visits—any channel that could be used to approach the consumer. When manufacturers like Dell computers sell directly to the consumer, they also perform the retailing function.

Retailing has become such an intrinsic part of our everyday lives that it is often taken for granted. The nations that have enjoyed the greatest economic and social progress have been those with a strong retail sector.… Read the rest