Retail: Overview, Products & Services

Resources Designed to Support and Improve Retail Sales Operations

What is Retail Sales (or, Retail Industry)?

Companies operating within the retail industry sell consumer goods (includes food, clothing, recreational items, etc.) to customers through multiple channels of distribution (brick-and-mortar storefronts, e-commerce websites, direct mail catalogs, etc.). "Retailers," a term typically applied where a company fills the small orders of a substantial number individuals (i.e., end-users) rather than large orders of a small number of wholesale, corporate or government clientele, are seen as the final link in the supply chain between manufacturers and consumers. Department stores, grocery stores and supermarkets, warehouse retailers, specialty retailers, convenience retailers, discount retailers, mobile retailers and e-commerce retailers (e.g., Amazon) all form part of the retail industry. Retailers are responsible for attracting customers to their retail locations (physical or web-based), providing an enjoyable shopping experience, and maintaining adequate inventories to meet customer demand. Retailers today are investing heavily in e-commerce strategies, not only to broaden their geographic reach, but to also keep up with advances in digital technologies and customer expectations, which have continued to transform the way that consumers search for and purchase goods of all types.

Org Charts

A typical retail organization is composed of several common sub-functions, or teams, that work together to manage the end-to-end flow of goods (Inventory Management), oversee the day-to-day operations of the retail location (Store Operations), optimize in-store sales through product placement, coupons and promotions (Merchandising), plan the opening and closing of new retail locations (Store Planning), and generate sales through online channels (E-Commerce). Browse our Retail Sales organization chart page to learn about the roles and responsibilities of each major function. Then, download our org chart template (PDF, Visio, PPT) to plan and support retail operations improvement efforts.

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Best Practices

Check out our retail best practices page to view selected descriptions of work methods that have been proven to produce better results (as compared to other, similar methods). Want more? Download our Retail Sales Best Practices Guide, which provides a healthy selection of valuable best practices that can be incorporated to improve retail operations. There might not be only one "best" way to perform every task. However, there is always a "better" way.