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What is Retail?

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Estimated reading time: 3 min

What is Retail?

Retail is a form of commercial activity on the supply chain. It involves the sale of products or services in bits, from a business to a consumer for final consumption. Retail is very crucial in the commerce of any production company. It is characterized by large purchases and sales in small quantities. Retail busies itself with concepts like customer relations, customer service, and theory like ‘customer is king’ because those concepts are central to its existence.

Forms of Retail

Retail exists as both physical Retail and e-tailing.

Physical retailers are the traditional kind of retailers that sell in actual shops or stores. They run on the strength of cashiers and sales attendants, sometimes have trolleys and shopping baskets, and are mostly location bound. Yea, you most definitely are familiar with these kinds of retailers.

Examples of physical retailers include Shoprite, Walmart, Mr. Price, and a long list of others.

They differ in the size and nature of commodities being sold and range from big supermarkets to small mom-and-pop stores on our local streets. On the other side of the narrative are E-tailers (otherwise known as online retailers or electronic retailers). They display, communicate with their market, put out an advertisement, and sell their products via online mediums. They take orders and make delivery to buyers without necessarily having physical contact with them. They are not location bound and, as such, have the leverage of amassing customers from all around the world.

Some years ago, it would have been correct to say that e-tailing businesses do not have physical stores, but at this time in the evolution of commerce and industry, e-commerce is beginning to assume a very crucial position such that any business that has not gotten a good online market base, can be said to be losing substantially. So now is a period when there is no clear-cut difference between online stores and physical stores as more physical stores are delving into the online space, making for dual positioning. With this, especially for brick and mortar retailers, a lot of investment is going into e-tailing through their websites.

Types of Online Retail

  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C) E-Tailing

Business-to-Consumer e-tailing is the most popular type of e-tailing. They are retailers who are involved in the online sales of finished goods and therefore sell directly to the final consumers of these products. They are primarily concerned about maintaining good customer relations. They operate in the reality of the fact that ‘customer is king.’

They ship in goods from manufacturers and can reach a broader range of customers from around the globe. Examples of B2C e-tailing businesses include Amazon, Overstock, and J.D.

  • Business-to-Business (B2B) E-Tailing

The Business-to-Business type of e-tailing is a lot less straightforward as the B2C is. It involves the sales of goods or services to businesses to aid their production and operation. E-tailers that fall under this category, mostly trade services. Examples are consultants, software developers, freelancers, and Designers. They mainly sell to businesses, which in turn sell to consumers.

  • B2B/ B2C Hybrids.

This is a rare type of e-tailing. These hybrids are companies that are neither strictly B2B nor B2C. Examples of B2B/ B2C hybrids are Alibaba Group (BABA), Wish, Jumia, and a lot of others. Alibaba; The Chinese e-tailer does both B2C and B2B commerce. And not just that, it plays the role of a referrer, linking exporters to other small businesses that need their products.

Method of Buying from an E-tailing store

Unlike the traditional Retail stores where you walk in, get your stuff and pay, it’s a lot different from e-Retail stores. Customers shop on their phone or computer screens. To buy from an online store, you’ll need an internet-enabled computer or phone, and a credit or debit card.

First, you’ll start by checking for the website of the particular store you want to patronize. If you do not have a specific store in mind, input the item you wish to purchase on Google, and you’ll get reviews and even recommendations for which store works best.

Once you are on the store’s site, search for the item you want to buy, check for the price, delivery cost, date of delivery, color, and other peculiarities before clicking. Choose the quantity you wish to, and then add it to your shopping cart.

Once you have the items in your shopping cart, you can choose to immediately pay or have it there until you are ready actually to buy.

To pay, click on the Checkout button, choose the medium of payment that you best prefer, punch in your credit or debit card details or make a money transfer, and you’ll receive a confirmatory mail consisting of a receipt and details of delivery.

And all that is required is for you to wait for the delivery of your goods.

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