Retailing

Self-Service Shopping: Self-service shopping is a customer-centric method that enables shoppers to independently navigate a store with minimal assistance from sales attendants. Goods are prominently displayed on shelves with corresponding price tags. Customers move through the store, examine items, make comparisons, and try on products as needed. They select their preferred items and place them […]

Self-Service Shopping:

Self-service shopping is a customer-centric method that enables shoppers to independently navigate a store with minimal assistance from sales attendants. Goods are prominently displayed on shelves with corresponding price tags. Customers move through the store, examine items, make comparisons, and try on products as needed. They select their preferred items and place them in a provided basket or tray. At the checkout counter, customers pay for their chosen items. This approach, commonly associated with large-scale retailers like supermarkets and hypermarkets, streamlines the shopping process, eliminating the need for bargaining.

 

Features of Self-Service:

  1. Minimal shop attendants are required.
  2. Goods are displayed with visible price tags.
  3. Use of trolleys and baskets is common.
  4. Customers independently select their goods.
  5. Large retail space is essential.
  6. Security measures, such as personnel or closed-circuit cameras, are employed to prevent theft.
  7. Payment occurs at the checkout counter.
  8. Goods are pre-packed and well-labelled.

 

Advantages of Self-Service:

  1. Customers have the freedom to choose their preferred goods.
  2. Quick and efficient purchasing.
  3. Reduced labour costs without the need for many sales attendants.
  4. Encourages impulse buying, boosting sales.
  5. Spacious environment enhances customer convenience.
  6. Maximizes benefits of loss-leaders for both sellers and buyers.

 

Disadvantages of Self-Service:

  1. Increased risk of shoplifting.
  2. Goods may deteriorate faster due to constant handling.
  3. High costs associated with preventing theft, such as closed-circuit cameras.
  4. Expensive facilities required, including larger floor space and trolleys.
  5. Reduced personal attention to customers.
  6. Not suitable for all types of goods.
  7. Reduces employment opportunities for shop assistants.
  8. Prices are non-negotiable.
  9. Purchased goods are not returnable.
  10. Capital-intensive to set up.

 

Branding:

Branding encompasses names, designs, marks, symbols, or descriptions used by producers to distinguish their goods from those of other organizations. Branded goods carry a recognized trademark or trade name, such as Elephant, Omo, or Ariel for detergents, and Pepsodent, Close up, or Colgate for toothpaste.

 

Advantages of Branding:

  1. Ensures high-quality goods.
  2. Saves advertising costs.
  3. Allows consumers to easily select products.
  4. Standardizes goods through uniform packaging.
  5. Prevents product adulteration and imitation.
  6. Facilitates inspection and ordering through clear descriptions.
  7. Encourages self-service.
  8. Manufacturers can indicate recommended prices in advertisements.

 

Disadvantages of Branding:

  1. High advertising costs.
  2. May lead to impulsive buying.
  3. Retailers may need to stock multiple brands to please customers.
  4. Price-cutting wars can negatively impact smaller firms.

 

After-Sales Services:

After-sales services are additional services provided by retailers to customers after purchasing products to ensure ongoing patronage. These services, often free of charge, may include free delivery, advice on product usage, repairs, fixing or installation, replacement, maintenance, or warranty, primarily for technical goods.

 

Factors Determining After-Sales Service Level:

Whether after-sales services are provided and to what extent depend on factors such as the type and cost of goods, competition practices, cost considerations, and legal requirements.

 

Advantages of After-Sales Services:

  1. Increased sales volume.
  2. Improved customer confidence with guaranteed products.
  3. Assured quality of goods.
  4. Enhanced seller goodwill and reputation.
  5. Manufacturers can keep technical details secret.
  6. Products become more useful.

 

Disadvantages of After-Sales Services:

  1. Higher prices may include the cost of services.
  2. Risk of customers receiving incorrect advice.
  3. Limited choices in maintenance for customers.

 

Automatic Vending Machines:

Automatic vending involves selling goods to customers through coin-operated or card-operated machines. These machines, located in high-traffic areas, offer small, branded products such as candles, soft drinks, ice cream, coffee, tea, cigarettes, snacks, postage, and even services like automated tellers.

 

Advantages of Automatic Vending:

  1. Available 24/7.
  2. Wide range of goods.
  3. Time-saving.
  4. Low labor costs.
  5. Uniform pricing.
  6. Suitable for emergency situations.
  7. Ensures self-service.
  8. Economizes space.
  9. Minimizes pilfering.

 

Disadvantages of Automatic Vending:

  1. High cost of machine purchase.
  2. Customers can typically obtain only one item.
  3. Vulnerable to pilferage.
  4. Incurs additional maintenance costs.
  5. Higher prices due to expensive machines.
  6. Limits the range of items.
  7. No provision for change.
  8. Limited detection of machine faults.
  9. High expenditure on security measures.

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