What Is a Retailer? Meaning, Role and How to Become One

what is a retailer
Photo by Ron Lach

The sale of a product or service to an individual consumer for personal use is referred to as retail. Retail transactions take place through various sales channels, such as online, in a physical storefront, through direct sales, or by mail. The fact that the end user is the buyer distinguishes a retail transaction. What a retailer must do is understand and adhere to specific requirements in their business operations.

This article will explain what a retailer is, how to become one, what a retailer’s duties are, the types of retailers, the retail supply chain and the characteristics of a retailer.

What Exactly is a Retailer?

A retailer sells merchandise to customers in small quantities or single units. Retailers buy goods in bulk from manufacturers and sell them to end users at retail prices. Bulk purchasing allows the retailer to purchase goods at a lower cost and then resell them in individual or smaller units for profit. Retailers can sell their products online, offline, or both.

Different Types of Retailers

Retailers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they are broadly classified into two types.

#1. Itinerant Retailers 

Itinerant retailers are those who do not have a fixed location from which to operate. They are also known as mobile vendors because they move from street to street with their wares. They seek customers to sell their goods, offer low-cost services, and generally invest less in business and operate with fewer resources. These retailers emphasise delivering goods to customers’ homes. 

The following are examples of itinerant retailers:

  • Hawkers and peddlers move through the streets in search of customers. Hawkers use wheel carts, whereas peddlers carry their goods on their heads and hands.
  • Periodic Market Traders: They sell goods on specific days of the week at a specific location.
  • Street Traders: They sell their wares on busy streets such as temples, bus stops, and train stations.

#2. Fixed Shop Retailers 

Fixed-shop retailers own their stores in a specific location. They do not look for customers on the streets because they have a fixed location where they sell goods. There are two kinds of fixed-shop retailers:

  • Small-Scale Retailer: Small-scale retailers are those who run their business on a small scale and deal with daily-use products of various varieties at a fixed location. General stores, specialty stores, single-line stores, tree shops and so on.
  • Large-Scale Retailers: Large-scale retailers have a large stock of goods and buy in bulk. They have made significant investments in their company. They are mostly found in central locations and urban areas where a large number of customers visit. Department stores, supermarkets, chain stores, and so on.

How to Become a Retailer

The following is a step-by-step guide to becoming a retailer:

#1. Obtain an Education

The first step towards becoming a retailer is to obtain the necessary education. Obtaining an education in a field of study related to marketing and a bachelor’s degree allows you to prioritise your responsibilities as a retailer. Pursue a bachelor’s degree in subjects such as marketing, business management, or retail management. These courses teach fundamental marketing and retail concepts, as well as how to sell to customers and the skills and tools required to thrive in today’s market.

#2. Obtain a Job History

Work experience validates you and prepares you for higher positions and better opportunities in the retail industry. It becomes easier to transition from one position to another as you gain experience. With experience and qualifications from various positions and roles, you may be able to develop your skills to fit into a retail manager position over time. Even if you decide to open your store, having some experience will give you an advantage. Applying for jobs that will improve your skills and experience will help your retailer’s portfolio.

#3. Obtain a Certificate

Obtaining a business certificate improves your employability and earning potential. It also increases your chances of advancing in the retail industry. The Retail Management Certificate (RMC) is the most common certificate for retailers. The RMC is a step up from the fundamentals of retail management, incorporating problem-solving abilities and more complex management strategies. This programme will help you thoroughly master your role in the retail industry.

#4. Make Your Curriculum Vitae

Personal information, education, skills, and work experience are all included in your CV. To present yourself as the best fit for a job, pay close attention to your skills, work experience, and education when writing your CV. Optimise your CV for the right recruiter by using relevant keywords. Prepare cover letter samples that you can easily modify and attach to your CV whenever you submit one.

#5. Understand Your Responsibilities

A retailer is in charge of the entire retail store. Hiring and firing employees, training employees, scheduling, managing the company’s assets, and implementing company programmes are all part of your responsibilities. You are responsible for ensuring that the company meets its sales quotas by utilising your experience and education.

Duties of a Retailer

A retailer’s responsibilities include the following:

#1. Consumer Sales

A retailer serves as a go-between for the manufacturer, or wholesaler and the consumer. They sell goods to final consumers by purchasing products from manufacturers or wholesalers and selling them in smaller units to consumers for profit. They do this either online, in person, or through a combination of the two.

#2. Agreement Is Reached With the Manufacturer to Sell Their Product

Because consumers are the final link in the production chain, most manufacturers aim to reach them. The retailer bridges the gap by reaching an agreement with the manufacturer to deliver their goods to customers. The retailer strategizes on how to best deliver the merchandise to the consumer based on their contract.

#3. Employee Management

Depending on the size of the company, a retailer may collaborate with people such as salespeople, sales managers, and inventory managers to increase efficiency. The retailer ensures that these individuals receive adequate training to carry out their responsibilities. The retailer also monitors employees’ activities to ensure that they all contribute to the overall business goal.

#4. Manage Day-To-Day Business Operations

The retailer manages the general operations of the business, plans marketing campaigns, supervises inventories, organises employees, and manages customer service. Daily activities are a breakdown of a company’s general operations. The retailer ensures that daily activities are strategic and directed towards the overall goal.

#5. Promote the Company’s Products

A retailer organises advertising campaigns to raise awareness of his or her company’s products and services. The retailer raises public awareness of their products through various retail distribution channels, including retail stores, direct selling, online retailing, and automated retailing. They also monitor market trends to develop pricing strategies.

#6. Customer Care

The retailer recognises the value of customers for the business. They promote excellent service in all departments to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction. Retailers must also master the skill of active listening to patiently listen to customers’ questions, complaints, or suggestions.

#7. Encourage the Company’s Expansion

Most businesses include growth in their short-term, mid-term, and long-term objectives. A retailer develops strategies and devises methods to make the company’s goal a reality. A good growth strategy has an impact on both the company’s revenue and the employees, and the retailer strives to strike that balance.

Supply Chain for Retailers

The retail supply chain is made up of four parties:

  • Manufacturers

Manufacturers kick off the retail supply chain by converting raw materials into finished goods. A toy manufacturer, for example, might use plastic, paint, and other materials to create a line of action figures.

  • Wholesalers

Wholesalers purchase goods in bulk from manufacturers at reduced prices and resell them to retailers. For example, a book wholesaler may purchase thousands of copies of a new novel from a publisher and then distribute them to bookstores across the country.

  • Retailers

Retailers purchase goods in bulk from wholesalers or directly from manufacturers and then sell them in smaller quantities to end users. A local hardware store, for example, may purchase pallets of paint from a wholesaler and then sell them to customers individually.

  • Consumers

The end of the retail supply chain is the consumer. They buy goods in small quantities from retailers to satisfy personal needs or desires. Consumer retail purchases can range from purchasing a snack at a convenience store to hiring a landscaping crew for your backyard.

Retailer vs. Wholesaler 

Merchandise passes through a distribution network before reaching the final customer. This chain has multiple steps and players who may or may not be involved depending on the product manufacturer’s or brand owner’s plan.

Retailers and wholesalers both play roles in the distribution of goods. A retailer is the last link in the distribution chain, while a wholesaler acts as a go-between for producers and retailers. 

Another distinction is that a retailer buys things in bulk and sells them in single pieces or small amounts, whereas a wholesaler buys and sells in bulk. Furthermore, a wholesaler often sells to other business customers, such as retailers, whereas a retailer sells directly to end consumers.

Because a retailer sells in smaller quantities and has more operational costs for running the stores, it often has higher gross margins than a wholesaler.

How Can Retail Software Help Retailers?

While the transition from a traditional, hardware cash register to a cloud-based POS system may appear scary, it is worth it. Retailers can greatly benefit from having a POS system, from functionality to analytics and reporting.

#1. Detailed Data

At the end of the day, the only information you’ll obtain from a cash register is cash flow. A POS, on the other hand, can show you how much of the leftover cash is actual profit, how many products were sold, and consumer data.

#2. Improved Inventory Management

To determine what products to stock and when to stock them, any business must have access to precise inventory reports. POS solutions go beyond inventory data; they can provide sales trends, sales history, and items that sell out quickly or slowly. 

Businesses can use their POS to automatically order merchandise when levels hit a certain threshold. Retail software is an excellent technique to decrease human error in sales processes. Orders can have discounts and promotions added to them automatically. Stock orders can be done directly from the POS rather than drafting fast purchase orders for a few goods.

#3. Security

Because the POS maintains precise inventory levels, personnel will be more vigilant knowing that their stock is being tracked. A POS can also be secured to prevent unauthorised access to your system. Internally allocated user permissions can also prevent cashiers from accessing inventory transfers or other advanced functions.

#4. Customer Happiness

When it comes to customer satisfaction, speed is everything, and having a POS streamlines the checkout process. Rather than asking a customer for their information each time they visit your store, their information can be saved at the POS for easy connection with your rewards programme and faster checkout.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Work in Retail?

As a retailer, you will need the following skills:

  • Written and verbal communication 
  • Customer care
  • words
  • Pay close attention to the details
  • Product understanding
  • Leadership
  • Organisation
  • Resilience
  • Responsibility

What Are the Three Most Important Aspects of Retail?

Pricing, location, and merchandise are the three most important factors to consider in a retail strategy that directly affect value. Communication with channel members is another important topic because retailers frequently sell goods and services manufactured by another company.

What Are the Four Fundamental Retail Rules?

A successful retail business is built on the four Ps: 

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

What Are the Five Prerequisites for Running a Successful Retail Business?

Location, marketing, store layout and appearance, service and assortment, and bundle selling are the five factors that determine retail success. Let’s look at how each of these can assist you in establishing a successful retail operation.

How Can I Quickly Expand My Retail Business?

How to Expand Your Retail Business: 6 Expansion Ideas You Should Consider

  • Extend to other areas
  • Extend your sales channel
  • Increase the number of products and services you offer
  • Expand into new markets
  • Appear in unexpected places
  • Collaborate with other businesses


Retailers seek high-quality products from wholesalers at competitive prices. Simultaneously, they compete to provide the best customer service. This means that success in the retail industry entails more than just identifying the right products to sell; it also entails creating a shopping experience that meets the changing needs of consumers. Understanding the importance of a retailer is integral to comprehending the modern marketplace.


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