Browse Definitions :
Definition

retail vs. wholesale

Contributor(s): Corinne Bernstein

Retail is the sale of merchandise from a specific point (such as malls, markets and department stores) in small quantities directly to the consumer. Wholesale is the sale of goods in bulk at a discount to merchants for resale to retailers; industrial, commercial, institutional or professional users; or other wholesalers – sometimes involving a middleman (agent or broker).

In retail, products generally sell for higher per-unit prices for each unit than they would under a wholesale model. By moving goods in mass quantities from manufacturing to distribution, wholesalers can benefit from economies of scale and sell products at lower costs.

As small-scale vendors, retailers usually can control when, where and how their products are sold and can work one-to-one with customers and receive regular, in-person feedback. This feedback enables retailers to incorporate new designs into their products. However, retailers juggle marketing, sales, billing and fulfillment roles. They often need to invest in in-store marketing and retail overhead, so their expenses are higher than wholesalers.

Compared with retailers, wholesalers (sometimes called jobbers and distributors) play a less hands-on role and interact more with businesspeople. Although wholesalers physically assemble, sort and grade goods in large lots, they can divide them up and repack and redistribute them in smaller lots. Wholesalers focus on managing manufacturing, maintaining inventory and getting products to a specific location quickly and efficiently. 

In many industries, wholesale operations have decreased as new technologies eliminate links in the distribution channel. In some cases, the internet enables manufacturers to bypass the wholesale sector completely and market directly to the consumer.

This was last updated in May 2017

Continue Reading About retail vs. wholesale

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

SearchSecurity

  • RSA algorithm (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman)

    The RSA algorithm is the basis of a cryptosystem -- a suite of cryptographic algorithms that are used for specific security ...

  • remote access

    Remote access is the ability to access a computer or a network remotely through a network connection.

  • IP Spoofing

    IP spoofing is the crafting of Internet Protocol (IP) packets with a source IP address that has been modified to impersonate ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • virtual disaster recovery

    Virtual disaster recovery is a type of DR that typically involves replication and allows a user to fail over to virtualized ...

  • tabletop exercise (TTX)

    A tabletop exercise (TTX) is a disaster preparedness activity that takes participants through the process of dealing with a ...

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a data center.

SearchStorage

  • disk array

    A disk array, also called a storage array, is a data storage system used for block-based storage, file-based storage or object ...

  • enterprise storage

    Enterprise storage is a centralized repository for business information that provides common data management, protection and data...

  • optical storage

    Optical storage is any storage type in which data is written and read with a laser. Typically, data is written to optical media, ...

Close