Retail is a form of sale that occurs when a business called a retailer sells a product to the final consumer for their personal use. Retail transactions can take place both online and offline, with the determining aspect being that the customer uses the product for personal and not business use, which is what passes a transaction as being retail.

So, in short, what is a retail store?

A retail store is a place of business owned by a retailer in which products are sold directly to the final consumers. Retail stores come in different categories as discussed in the next section of this post.

Types of Retail Stores

As of the start of 2021, there were 2.7 million retail businesses in the US, representing a 0.4% increase from last year, this is according to the global research firm, IBISWorld. The researcher further noted that the retail industry employs a whopping 16 million Americans. This means that besides a slow growth last year, private sector retail remains one of the largest sources of livelihoods today.

Popular retail establishments range from auto spares to gas stations to supermarkets and small boutiqiues, among others.

The millions of retail business will more or less fall in any one of the following categories:

  • Consumables and soft goods. These types of retail businesses deal in things such as toiletries, shoes, and clothing.
  • Food. Retailers in this category sell foodstuffs such as baked food, fresh produce, and raw processed produce.
  • Art. A retailer in this segment will deal in musical instruments and books, as well as fine art.
  • Hardlines. These retailers sell things that tend to have longer shelf lives including furniture, motor vehicles, and appliances.

The above categories will contain other various types of retail stores, here are a few:

  • Department stores. These represent the oldest concept of retail businesses, yet the largest platform for consumer shopping under one roof. Great examples include Macy’s and Target.
  • Discount stores. These include stores that sell highly discounted and low-priced items. Examples include Kmart and Walmart.
  • Big box stores. They include big brands that specialize in one type of product such as computers. An example is Best Buy.
  • Mom-and-pop shops. Smaller storefronts and corner shops usually operated by small-scale business owners.
  • E-tailers. Comprise internet retailers selling online with doorstep delivery services. This type of retailer does not operate a brick-and-mortar store; Etsy and Amazon are two such retailers.
  • Warehouse stores. They are no-frills warehouses with a mandatory membership to gain access to their low-priced goods. Examples are Costco and BJs.

The entire retail supply chain features four types of businesses – manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. Each member of the chain can add their profit mark up with the final consumer bearing the full trickle-down cost. This means that a product that costs less than a dollar could actually retail at more than 5$, depending on the applied margins.

By now, you have a clear understanding of the retail space and its various categories. Traditionally, customers would be required to take their purchases to the cash registers for billing. However, with the current fast internet uptake, both retail and B2B companies are shifting to the affordable yet convenient online business arena.

And thanks to online shop building platforms such as Turis, retailers can easily set up their shops, market their products, ship products, and receive payments without leaving the house. All that the retailers have to do is set up their shops online and start fulfilling orders. Oh, and our online wholesale platform will help you communicate with your B2B clients seamlessly while granting you access to thousands of other integrations for bookkeeping, selling, marketing as well as dropshipping.