Retail Dogma

Retail Store: Definition, Function & Components

A retail store is a place of business that sells merchandise in small quantities directly to customers.

According to NAICS association, retailers are divided into:

  • store retailers
  • non-store retailers

Store retailers operate fixed point of sale locations (i.e. retail stores) to display and sell merchandise directly to the general public.

Read Also: What is Retail?

Types of Retail Stores

Based on the merchandise lines carried by the retailer, the different types of retail stores include:

  1. Furniture Stores
  2. Home Furnishings Stores
  3. Automotive Dealers
  4. Electronics & Appliance Stores
  5. Building Material & Supplies Dealers
  6. Lawn & Garden Equipment and Supplies Stores
  7. Grocery Stores
  8. Specialty Food Stores
  9. Beer, Wine & Liquor Stores
  10. Health & Personal Care Stores
  11. Gasoline Stations
  12. Clothing Stores
  13. Shoe Stores
  14. Jewelry, Luggage & Leather Goods Stores
  15. Sporting Goods, Hobby & Musical Instrument Stores
  16. Book Stores & News Dealers
  17. Department Stores
  18. General Merchandise Stores
  19. Florists
  20. Office Supplies, Stationery & Gift Stores
  21. Used Merchandise Stores
  22. Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers

These types of retail stores include other sub-types. For example, under grocery stores come supermarkets and convenience stores; under health & personal care stores, come pharmacies and beauty stores, ..etc.

Retail Store Examples

Examples of retail stores and their store types are:

  • Walmart is a retail store and falls under the grocery store type
  • CVS is a retail store and falls under the health & personal care stores type, and the sub-type of “pharmacies”
  • Sephora is a retail stores that also falls under health & personal case stores type, but under the sub-type of “cosmetics, beauty supplies & perfume stores”

Retail Store Components

Retail stores differ in size and shape, based on the product categories they are selling and the segment they belong to. But there are main components that are common among them.

retail store and its main components

This artwork by Retail Dogma, Inc. is licensed under CC BY 4.0 
You are allowed to share it on your website with attribution.

1. Shop Floor

The shop floor is the main selling area of the retail store. This is where merchandise is displayed for customers to browse and choose from.

This area includes the different fixtures, walls and props, that are used for display. At fashion stores, this area also includes fitting rooms.

There are many different designs and best practices for the shop floor area, based on the store type. For example, some retailers use a free-flow layout, while others use forced-path or grid layouts. The type of merchandise and how customers shop for this merchandise guides towards the best type of store layout to choose.

Read More On: Store Layout

2. Cash Area

The cash area is where the customers go after they finish shopping to checkout and pay. Some retailers keep this area at the front of the store, right beside the door, such is the case with convenience stores and supermarkets. Other retailers, such as fashion stores, place the cash area at the back of the store.

Depending on the size of the store and the traffic patterns, the cash area can have one or more cash registers. Besides the registers, there is also a place for storing shopping bags, either under the register or at the back of the cash area.

3. Store Front

The store front is the entrance of the store. This area is sometimes kept wide open to facilitate high customer flow; for example at supermarkets. In other stores, e.g. fashion, part of the store front is used as windows to display the latest merchandise and marketing materials.

4. Back of House

The back of house area at the store serves many different purposes:

  • Inventory Storage
  • Admin Work
  • Staff Lockers & Break Area
  • Back Exit for Delivery
Retail Management Courses

More Resources