the retailer and retail trade

A retailer may be defined as a trader who buys goods in small quantities from the wholesaler and sells in bits or units to the final consumers.

In other words, a retailer is a merchant whose main business is to purchase goods from the wholesalers in small quantities and sell in smaller units directly to the final consumers.

how to recognize a retailer

A retailer is distinguished by the nature of its sales, which is in units. He is one of the middlemen essential in the chain of distribution of goods.


Retailers sell in small quantities
They sell directly to the final consumers
The business location of retailers is open to the general consumers
Retailers stock and sell wide variety of products.

Their wares consist of fast selling products, i.e. consumer goods.
They are the final link in the chain of distribution of goods


Hawking: Hawking is a form of retail trade in which the traders move their goods from one place to another on their heads bicycles or vehicles, etc.

They move from one settlement to another, selling various articles to the consumers.


Mobile shop retailing: Mobile shop are those in which goods are arranged in a motor van and are moved from one place to another to reach the final consumers.

A wide variety of goods are sold through mobile shops. As they move from one place to another, different advertising techniques are used to create awareness for their wares.

Street or roadside retailing: Street or roadside traders are traders who display their wares or products along the street, roads or outside the gates of schools, companies, offices in towns and cities.

These traders sell a variety of goods, e.g. clothes, shoes, breads, snacks and books, along major roads. Passers-by are their major customers.

Market or stall holder retailing: Market or stall holding is another method of retail trade in Africa.

These are markets where buyers and sellers are brought together to transfer ownership of goods. The market trader opens at a specific time of the day.

They construct sheds or stalls in a particular location to transact business.

Small store retailing: Stores are retail outlets which operate in rural or urban centres.

They are located in rented places or residences of traders which are easily accessible to customers.

They stock for wide range of goods to meet customers’ needs

Chain or multiple stores:A chain store is a group retail stores of essentially the same type, centrally owned with some degree of centralized control of operation and selling the same range of products.

It is a chain of similar shops with identical store design, layout and stock display, each selling limited cohesive range of products.

It operates multiple outlets which are scattered all over the country, while the head office supplies goods to the branches.

Department stores: The department store is a collection of shops under one roof with ownership of each shop or department specializing in selling a special range of goods.

Each department normally buys separately, exercises its own stock control and sets its own product policy.

It is also a large retailing unit handling a wide variety of shopping and specialty goods but organized into separate departments for the purpose of promotion, service and control, e.g. Kingsway and Leventis stores.

Supermarket: A supermarket is a large retailing business unit selling mainly food and household items on the basis of high turnover, wide variety and assortment, self services with much emphasis on merchandise appeal.

Mail order: Mail order is a form of large retailing in which buying and selling is carried out by post.

They contact prospective customers by mail, receive their orders by mail and make their deliveries by mail. It involves the use of specially prepared catalogue that presents the retailer’s products both visually and in writing.

Payment is either cash with order, cash on delivery or by installments

Discount houses: A discount house is a retailing business unit that features a large variety of products which they sell on a low price basis and operate on a low mark-up with minimum customers’ services.

They give discount by reducing their overhead cost and by buying in bulk.
Variety stores:

A variety store is one which handles a wide assortment of goods not necessarily related to each other, e.g. toys, cosmetics and hardware.

A group of variety stores may constitute a chain.



He sells in small quantities to consumers: The retailer purchases in small quantities from the wholesaler and breaks the goods down into units for the customers.

He provides after-sales services: He provides after-sales services like installation, repairs and servicing to the consumer.

He grants credit facilities to the consumers: The retailer can grant credit facilities to the consumers so as to enable them enjoy goods without payment immediately.

Stock variety of goods: The consumers can buy varieties of goods from the retailers; hence they are exposed to a wide range of goods.

He supplies information to the wholesaler and manufacturer:The retailer is in the best position to collect information and feedback about the market, as well as the needs of the consumers and makes it available to the wholesaler and manufacturer.

He sells at convenient locations and hours: The retailer sells goods to the consumers at any time of the day and at convenient places.

Ensures door-to-door services: The retailer ensures that goods are brought to the doorstep of the consumers or neared to their houses.

He gives advice to the consumers: He can advise the consumer on the quality, uses, specifications and performance of products

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