Retail Channels: Definition, Types & Examples

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  • 0:04 A Channel for Every Shopper
  • 0:18 Retail Channels
  • 1:21 Other Shopping Channels
  • 2:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Whitsett

David has taught computer applications, computer fundamentals, computer networking, and marketing at the college level. He has a MBA in marketing.

People buy consumer goods through a variety of channels. In this lesson, we'll examine different types of retail channels such as stores, online, catalogs, direct sales, television home shopping, and automated retailing.

A Channel for Every Shopper

Let's say you're a guy and you need a new shirt. You could go to a store, you could look on a web site, or you could look through a catalog and find something you like. Let's break down these choices and discuss the different types of retail channels.

Retail Channels

Retail is at the end of the supply chain. The supply chain begins with raw materials and ends with finished goods being sold to people like our guy that needs a shirt. There are variety of places and methods for buying finished goods.

Our guy in search of a shirt could certainly find one in several different types of retail stores, including department stores, specialty clothing stores, warehouse stores, and discount stores. The benefit of going to a store is immediate satisfaction.

If our guy looking for a shirt knows what he wants and wants to check pricing, he might go to a website and shop there, which is known as online retailing. The local store could also be out of the shirt, but it is in stock at the store's website. Sometimes buyers look online versus going to a store simply for convenience, especially if there's low-cost or free shipping.

Catalog retailers provide product information to consumers through a mailed catalog and a website. Customers can order over the phone or online, and goods are shipped directly to the customer's doorstep. Catalogs give the customer the advantage of seeing what the product looks like as opposed to going to the store to see it.

Other Shopping Channels

Moving away from the shirt example, there are other channels to consider, including:

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