A retailer is the last link in the chain of distribution of consumer products. He brings the producer in close touch with the consumer. He is a part of the distribution mechanism which cannot be dispensed due to his following valuable services
Distribution of Good
The functions retailers perform are the consequence of the separation of distance, time and information between producers and consumers. All retailers are involved in assisting in the physical movement of goods and in effecting a change of ownership. Retailers also hold stocks so that goods are available when required by the consumer
So, he plays a very important role in distributing goods to various consumption centers.
As the retailer is in close touch with his customers, he knows the demand, tastes and fashion of the consumer. This position enables the retailer to pass information on products to producers on behalf of consumers.
Retailers storage activities also help both producers and consumers. By ordering and accepting delivery in advance of the season, the retailer removes some of the risk of deterioration and damage and bears the costs of storage.
Buying and Selling Activities
Whether the retailer is supplied directly by the manufacturer or through a wholesaler, he buys in fairly large quantities and sells in the smaller quantities that are convenient for consumers use.
The retailer is often expected to provide credit facilities to his customers. This could be a selling advantage but is expensive to give and, in general, would derive from some relationship with the customer.
Grading and Packing
By dividing large unit quantities into consumer-sized amounts the retailer is performing a service to manufacturers as well as to consumers.
It would be highly uneconomical for manufacturers to package and ship their goods in the quantities demanded by consumers. But butchers, fruiters, tailors and other retail traders are still concerned in their various ways with grading and preparing their goods.
Many retailers offer delivery as an additional service. This is an expensive and a grocer, for example, who provided it would charge more for his goods.
Advice to Customer
Customers rely on the advice of their retailers when buying many goods, both those which are technically complex, such as motor-mowers or air conditioning plant, and also such apparently simple goods as packaged foods and dress materials.
The efficient retailer has a responsibility not only to