1.2.1 Different product choices
We started by creating a definition of retailing, now let's explore the different product choices we might be offered by certain retailers and think about how this experience adds to our definition of retailing.
Activity 2: Going shopping
Purpose: to explore product categories we can use to group retailers and their competitors.
Task: Visit the six retail websites that we direct you to below and then suggest how our definition matches up against our selected retailers and see what we might be able to add to our definition.
- ASOS.com is an online retailer and since 2000 this company has developed into the UK’s largest independent online fashion and footwear retailer, again selling to individual customers.
- B&Q is a retailer that sells to individual shoppers but also has trade desks serving businesses, e.g. plumbers and electricians in many of its 330 stores in the UK.
- Dell UK is a computer manufacturer that sells products to individuals, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), public sector organisations and large corporate businesses. Originally, Dell sold its personal computers in bulk to retailers, who then sold to individuals. However, Dell decided that retailers did not provide sufficient customer service support, so they started to sell direct to consumers in the early 1990s. Therefore, Dell UK operates as a manufacturer, a wholesaler and a retailer.
- eBay is a website that acts as a gateway or portal to access online auctions and shopping websites. eBay shops sell to whoever wins an auction or agrees to make a purchase of a product offered on a ‘buy now’ basis. In essence, eBay is a portal (gateway) to retailers but enables individuals to sell to individuals.
- Great Universal/K&Co. is a retailer that does not operate from high street stores. The company is a leading home shopping retailer that sells to individuals through catalogues and a website. You might be interested to know that over five million individual customers shop with Great Universal/K&Co. each year.
- M&Co is a retailer that operates over 300 traditional high street stores throughout the UK, selling fashion items to individuals.
We can add to our definition so that we now have a broader understanding of the scope of retailing:
Although traditionally retailers were businesses that supplied individuals, some retailers are expanding the types of customers they serve and selling to other businesses. Furthermore, retailers sell their goods in different ways, or formats, and the internet is creating opportunities for further changes to retailing.
Before we move on to explore the role of marketing it's time for a trip to the shops. You should already be starting to think about retailers from a different viewpoint than that of a shopper.