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Retail Formats

Retail Formats Assignment / Homework Help
The classification of retailers into different categories helps us further in classifying business models that best describe retail operations. These classifications of business models help us to understand the primary format a retailer puts to use. A retailer may be following more than one format.

  • Mom-and-Pop
  • These are small, individually owned and operated usually family-run retail stores. They generally serve the local community and have a good customer service but the product selection is generally small.

  • Mass Discounters
  • These retailers focus on offering discount pricing. Both general and specialty retailers follow this format. In comparison to department stores, mass discounters have lower service and product quality.

  • Warehouse Stores
  • The warehouse stores as the name suggests has retail design and layout like a warehouse. The customer service is almost not available as customers often select products from shipping packages. Certain warehouse stores provide customers with membership cards without which access is unavailable. The price offered for products is lower than traditional mass discounters. Another major disadvantage is that buyers are required to buy in greater quantities than what they can buy at mass discounters.

  • Category Killers
  • The name category killers has been given to today's major retail chains who have taken over small specialty stores which narrowly focused on single brands and have turned them into large specialty stores. Some of the specialty areas where these category killers can be found are Staples which deals with office supplies, areas like electronics (example Best Buy) and sporting goods (example Sport Authority).

  • Department Stores
  • Department Stores are classified as general merchandisers. They offer good service and products of mid-to-high quality. However department stores do not fall into the full service category. Unlike most general merchandisers some of the department stores like Sears and Nordstrom offer a selective product line. So while Sears offers a range as wide as hardware to cosmetics, Nordstrom concentrates on clothing and personal care products.

  • Boutique
  • A boutique is more than often a small store offering specialized and high-end products. It falls in the full service category and follows the full pricing strategy.

  • Catalog Retailers
  • In this category the retailers rely on catalogs that are mailed to potential buyers. The buyers place order from these catalogs. The delivery of products ordered is handled by a third-party shipper. Some examples of retailers who follow this format are Lands' End and LL Bean.

  • Electronic Retailers or e-tailers
  • This format has been the most recent format and is also the most publicized one. Here the retailer sells his product online or over the internet. Among the numerous online retail stores Amazon.com is probably one of the most popular one. Some of the advantages that e-tailers have over other retailers are:

    • They buyers have the luxury of buying products from their home at any time convenient to them. This form of business is open and running all day and each day.

    • E-tailers offer a wide selection of products to choose from. They just need a picture of the product and its description to lure their customers. The products need not be physically present at all times with the retailer.

    • E-tailers can wait for a customer to place an order and then e-tailers themselves order that particular product from their suppliers. This way the cost of maintaining products in stock is greatly reduced.

  • Franchise
  • In this retail format all the business activities of the franchise is controlled by the franchisor. An eligible franchise needs to pay for using the franchisor's business model and the franchisor's name. This payment includes a one-time franchise fees and a regular payment which is a certain percentage of revenue generated by the franchise. McDonalds is an example of this type of retail format. Several advantages of this retail format are listed below:

    • The franchisee need not worry about creating a brand name as the customers would already be well aware of the franchisor.

    • The franchisee is well-trained in carrying forward the business activities of the franchisor. This way he is not running the risk of the stature he would if he was running a business of his own.

  • Convenience Store
  • True to their name these stores aim at providing their customers a convenient shopping experience. These general merchandise stores are easily accessible, small in size with quick shopping and easy check-out. The limitations with these stores are that the selection range is quite limited and the products can be priced high.

  • Vending
  • Vending works on automated methods and helps the customers in making quick purchase and receiving then and there delivery. Vending machines are quite popular among the young buyers. They usually offer small items like snack food and beverages. However this trend is soon going to change as marketers are using vending machines to offer more expensive and high-end products. Such vending machines will have access to internet or telecommunication services with the help of which the buyers will be able to make purchases using their credit cards.

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