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In the world of business, you might have heard the term “retail store” or “retail business” thrown around. But, what is a retail store?

The retail industry is considered to be one of the most stable businesses in the world. Why? Because people will always need to purchase their daily necessities. A retail store also has so many varieties to choose from which makes it quite flexible, which is one of the defining features of what is a retail store. You can virtually sell anything to start your own retail venture.

This flexibility and variety seems to make the definition of retail store to be quite elusive. Is a retail store a store that sells anything? If so, Then what is the difference between a normal store and a retail store?

To start and survive in the retail industry, answering and understanding the solution to those questions are fundamental. Afterall, you can’t expect to do anything well if you don’t understand it well, right?

This article will answer all the fundamental questions to help you understand the world of retail industry.

What is a Retail Store?

Simply put, a retail store is a store that sells products or services directly to the consumers. Now, you might be thinking that a retail store is not so much different from your normal store. To understand retail even better, let us take a look at a simplified version of how a product is produced and comes to the hand of the customer.

• Manufacturers

First, there are the manufacturers. They are the ones who produce goods. Manufacturers gather materials, machines, parts, and hire people to make products in high volumes. For example, let us use a tech manufacturer that produces gadgets.

• Wholesalers

Next, you will find the wholesalers, or commonly known as distributors. These ones are those who bought products from manufacturers in a huge volume. The wholesalers then sell those products to the retailers at a higher price to make a profit.

• Retailers

Now, here comes the retailers. They are the one who buy the products produced by the manufacturers from the wholesalers in smaller quantities to be sold to the customers. They sell the product at a higher price than when they buy it from the wholesalers to make a profit.

• Consumer

Finally, the product comes to the customer. In this chain, a customer is defined as the final user of the product who buys the product for personal use.

So, let us come back to the question: what is retail? Well, a retail store is a store that sells a product to the final user or known as a customer. A retail store commonly sells items in small quantities and had to contact distributors if they ever found themselves to be out-of-stock.

Types of Retail Businesses

To better answer our question, ‘what is a retail store?’, let us dive further about what kind of business or store that is considered to be retail.

We are going to discuss types of retail business according to what it sells and the types of ownership. Without further ado, here are the types of retail businesses

• Speciality Retail Store

As the name suggests, this type of retail business sells limited or sometimes just one kind of product. Although limited in items, this retail sells many variants of one item. For example, if the store only sells clothes, then the retail will offer clothes in many kinds of color, size, types, or any kind of attribute.

• Department Store

This type of retail business is the combination of many retail stores. Customers can find many kinds of products offered from many kinds of retail stores in this place. With its size, this type of retail business is separated into several kinds of departments with its own purpose, such as buying, promotion, and control or security.

• Supermarket Retail

Supermarket, an example of retail business
Image taken from Pixabay

This type is probably what comes into anyone's mind when they hear ‘what is a retail store?’ question. It is huge, sells lots of things, and is considered to be one retail store, rather than a collection of retail stores like a department store.

This type of retail store has a specific kind of niche. Supermarkets are the go-to place to find things related to food, household products, and daily products. It is relatively large in size compared to convenience stores, but still has a low operation cost. It sells products on a low margin and relies heavily on the volume of sales to make profit.

• Convenience Retail Store

One can find this type of retail business nearby residential areas. In fact, that is one of the most distinctive features that separates convenience store and supermarket retail. Similar to the supermarket, convenience stores make profit by relying on the quantity of sales, rather than one-off purchases.

• Factory Outlet

This type of retail business is owned and operated by a manufacturer. This retail store usually sells items that are handed-down by the manufacturer or products that are not going to be produced any more.

• Hypermarket Store

This retail store is a combination of supermarket and department store. As such, this type of retail business has a wide range of products that customers can choose from. Also, this retail store can be considered to be the biggest in terms of size compared to other types of retail businesses in this list. Due to its size, this retail store is often located outside of a town.

Those are the types of retail business based on things they sell, size, and other factors. Now, let us take a look into another aspect of retail stores that is the ownership to better answer our question of ‘what is a retail store?’. Here are types of ownership in the retail industry:

• Independent Retail

This type is where most of the success stories come from. Independent retailer is the one who starts a business from scratch. They are the founders of their own company. When people mention that you should start your own business, this is probably the type of business they mean.

Being an independent retailer means that you need to know a lot of things about your industry or niche. You need to know who the big players are, who are your competitors, what are the best practices, and, well, basically everything about running a business. So, if you want to dive into the world as an independent retailer, you need to have the firm understanding of this industry, such as what is a retail store.

This type is most suitable for someone with a lot of knowledge, such as a person who has done an apprenticeship or internship in a big company, and wants to start their own venture with a small capital.

• Franchise Retail

Franchise or franchising is probably one of terms that you hear most often in the retail industry. So, what is franchise or franchising?

Simply put, a franchise is an already existing brand or company that has trademarked their products, names, logos, and every aspect of their business. Basically, a franchise is an already well-established company.

So, what about franchising?

Franchising is the act of buying the rights to sell products, and using brand identities of the related franchise to start a new business.

For example, suppose that you want to join the fast food industry. You can choose to start your own fast food brand, or join a franchise, such as McDonald, Subway, and so on. By buying the rights to join a franchise, you can sell their products, use their logos, names, and any brand identity related to the franchise.

You, however, will have relatively little control compared to if you decide to start your own business or franchise. You will have to follow guidelines, such as how to conduct business, pricing strategy, and so on, that has been developed by the owner of the business.

This type of ownership is suitable if you have so much capital to spend and you do not want to bother yourself with all the chores of starting a business from scratch.

• Dealership Retail

This type is probably the easiest to be misunderstood in this list. Why? Well, people often misunderstood dealership retail with franchise retail. However, in reality, dealerships are much closer to independent retail rather than franchise.

What does that mean?

Well, to begin with, a dealership retail does not buy into a franchise or brand like a franchise retail does. Dealership retails do communicate with a franchise to sell their product. However, dealerships only have the right to sell the products, and not open a store using the franchise logo, names, or brands.

This way, a dealership is much closer to an independent retailer, that is they still have control over their company, such as logo, names, brands, etc. However, dealerships sell another franchise product rather than developing their own, unlike independent retailers.

Examples of Retail Stores

To have a more precise understanding of our question of ‘what is a retail store’, let us take a look at several examples of real retail stores here in Strikingly.

• Runway Prints

Runway Prints, a retail store on Strikingly
Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

• Woody Store

Woody, a retail store on Strikingly
Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

• Hayashida Rice

Hayashida Rice, a retail store on Strikingly
Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

So far, we have answered one of the most basic questions in the retail industry: what is a retail store? We have also seen several types of retail businesses based on what they sell and ownership.

Now, let us move into the next step to make your retail dreams come true: having your own retail store.

Building a Retail Store with Strikingly

Strikingly homepage
Image taken from Strikingly website

With the growth of technology, the concept of a retail store has evolved. Today, a retail store is more commonly known as an eCommerce store. Today, you can simply look on the internet and find that almost every retail store has its own website or online store where customers can buy their products online.

Strikingly is your one-stop solution for you to have a striking online store. With Strikingly, you can easily build your online store without having to have extensive and deep knowledge about website building. You just need to choose from a collection of templates to start building your own online retail store.

You will also receive all the features you need to open and manage your online retail store.

Order Management System from Strikingly
Image taken from Strikingly product

For starters, you will have an order management system (OMS) that can help you to not only keep track of your customers’ orders but also the stocks of your product. You can easily manage your inventory directly from your website.

Shipment feature from Strikingly
Image taken from Strikingly product

You will also receive shipment features. You can decide your shipping policy, such as taxes, shipping cost, and free shipping requirement, from your website.

Accepted currencies on Strikingly
Image taken from Strikingly product

Your online retail store will also be able to receive payment from several methods and in several currencies. For example, you can integrate Paypal, Alipay, WeChatPay, and many more to your website. You can also receive payment in more than one hundred currencies.

Newsletter feature from Strikingly

Image taken from Strikingly product

Strikingly understand that having a retail store does not only include the act of buying and selling but also attracting old and new customers. Afterall, what is a retail store without its customers? That is why, in the branding department, you will also receive many features and benefits from Strikingly. For example, you can easily optimize the SEO of your website by using the SEO checklist provided by Strikingly. You can also get a custom email domain and send a newsletter from your online store.

So, are you ready to build your dream retail store? Build your online retail store today with Strikingly!