Who is a retailer? What are the characteristics, functions and services of a retailer?

Meaning and Definition of Retailer.

The word retailer has been derived from the French word “Retail” which means to sell in small quantities, rather than in gross. A retailer is a person who purchases a variety of goods in small quantities from different wholesalers and sell them to the ultimate consumer. He is the last link in the chain of distribution from the producer to the consumer.

Kentucky Lottery Retailer

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The followings are some of the essential characteristics of a retailer:

  • He is regarded as the last link in the chain of distribution.
  • He purchases goods in large quantities from the wholesaler and sell in small quantity to the consumer.
  • He deals in general products or a variety of merchandise.
  • He develops personal contact with the consumer.
  • He aims at providing maximum satisfaction to the consumer.
  • He has a limited sphere in the market.


Retailers perform a number of functions. These are:

  • The retailer buys a variety of products from the wholesaler or a number of wholesalers. He thus performs two functions like buying of goods and assembling of goods.
  • The retailer performs storing function by stocking the goods for a consumer.
  • He develops personal contact with the consumers and gives them goods on credit.
  • He bears the risks in connection with Physical Spoilage of goods and fall in price. Besides he bears risks on account of fire, theft, deterioration in the quality and spoilage of goods.
  • He resorts to standardization and grading of goods in such a way that these are accepted  by the customers.
  • He makes arrangement for delivery of goods and supply valuable market information to both wholesaler and the consumer.

Service of a Retailer


A retailer provides a number of services to the customer and to the wholesaler.

To Customers:

  1. He provides ready stock of goods and as such he sells and quantity of goods desired by the customers.
  2. He keeps a large variety of goods produced by different producers and thereby ensures a wide variety of choice to the customers.
  3. He relives the consumers of maintaining large quantity of goods for future period because he himself holds large stock of goods.
  4. He develops personal relationship with the customers by giving them credit.
  5. he provides free-home delivery service to the customers.
  6. He informs the new product to the customers.
  7. he makes arrangement for replacement of goods when he receive complaints.

To Wholesaler:

  1. He gives valuable market information with regard to taste, fashion and demand for the goods to the wholesaler.
  2. The retailer maintains direct contact with the customers and so he relieves the wholesaler with regard to maintenance of direct contact.
  3. He  helps the wholesaler in getting their goods distributed to the consumer.
  4. He is regarded as an important link between the wholesaler and the consumer.
  5. He creates demand for the products by displaying the goods to the consumers.
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