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A retailer has been engaged into different jobs in retail activities. Retailing is the last link between the manufacturer and the consumer. The retailing field consists of supermarkets, department stores, chain stores, mail order houses, leased departments, sidewalk vending, and door-to-door selling.

Retailers buy from their goods wholesaler, stock them, and resell them to individual consumers in small lots. Retailers must know their customer’s needs and wants, and they must also advertise and attractively display the goods that they sell.

Small stores specializing in one type of merchandise and general stores featuring many lines were the familiar methods of retailing in the days of the colonies. In addition, the itinerant peddler served customers in outlying areas by selling goods from house to house.



Following World War I, self-service was introduced in the clothing and accessories fields and in the grocery business. These self-service stores were planned so that the merchandise and the displays rather than salespeople were used to induce customers to buy. Horse-drawn street cars and later electrified streetcars brought people to central locations in cities to do their shopping. The movement of people to the suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s stimulated the creation of a new type of merchandising, the one-stop shopping center where all merchandise would be located in an easily accessible area with ample parking space available. Here all types of retailers joined to provide the many kinds of goods and services sought by the families who lived in surrounding communities. At the same time, some large department and specialty sores and mass merchandisers, aware that suburban customers no longer made frequent shopping trips to the city, established branch stores in the suburbs.

The first discounters based their appeal on low prices, and often provided limited lines of merchandise in out-of-the-way places such as abandoned textile mills or old warehouses. Another familiar form of retailing, the vending machine, initially was used to sell gum and candy. Today, it also offers coffee, hosiery, greeting cards, books, sandwiches, and a host of other products. Door-to-door retailing, sidewalk vending, and mail and telephone order networks have increased in popularity as people’s lives have become more rushed and time for shopping has become more limited.

The widespread nature of the retailing industry makes it unique among career fields. Retailing exists in every hamlet, town, and city - in downtown areas, in suburbs, and in shopping centers. No matter where you live or where you move, a retailer is nearby.

Although shopping in a retail store, from a catalog, or from a door-to-door vendor is a familiar activity for everybody, actual work in a retail organization is a mystery to most people. Without prior study, you would be unlikely to know about the different kinds of retail firms or the variety of work done by retailers. The average person’s contracts with retailing have been with those staff members who handle the merchandise or the money.

The retailing jobs in retail fields are challenging because they are a business of constant change due to innumerable trends. Change exists in the kinds and styles of goods carried, in the living habits of consumers, and in the resulting demands made by those customers. In addition, competitors who sell similar goods and services are constantly seeking new and different products, modifying prices, and improving the layout and arrangement of their stores. This competition makes each retailer race to get the merchandise first, to offer the best service, and to provide the most attractive setting so that customers will be lured into that particular establishment. Retailing is a fast-paced business that requires the retailer to anticipate the customer’s wishes days, weeks, and sometimes even months before the customer is aware that goods will be needed or wanted. Alert retailers make sure that they have those goods in stock when the customers do make their decision to buy.

Furthermore, specialty stores carry just one category of merchandise or several types of closely related merchandise or several types of closely related merchandise. Specialty stores include apparel shops, building supply stores, automobile dealers, gasoline service stations, household appliance and radio, and TV stores, tobacco shops, florists, optical good stores, news dealers, drugstores, shoe stores, bicycle shops, and videocassette rental and small computer and software sales outlets. Supermarkets are expanded food stores. They specialize in offering, through self-service, foods and household products for the convenience of their customers.

General merchandise stores involving retail sales jobs include variety stores, junior department stores, and department stores. General merchandise stores stock a multitude of different items under one roof. Variety stores carry these broad assortments of goods at limited prices. Junior department stores carry various categories of merchandise in somewhat broader price ranges. Department stores carry large assortments of apparel, home goods, and staple items in fairly extensive price ranges. When specialty stores or general merchandise stores feature self-service and bargain prices, they are usually called mass merchandise.

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Popular tags:

 shopping centers  general stores  methods  wholesales  customers  exhibits  coffee  manufacturing  mail orders  consumers


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