10 Different Types of Stores

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 23, 2021 | Published March 1, 2021

Updated July 23, 2021

Published March 1, 2021

Working in stores can be a rewarding long-term career since most stores offer entry-level jobs with ample opportunity for advancement. There are many kinds of stores, each with products serving the specific needs of their target customers. Learning about the different types of stores can help you decide which retail career is right for you. In this article, we review the different types of stores, what they sell and what career opportunities they offer.

What is a store?

A store is a physical or online place where consumers can purchase merchandise. Stores often target a particular customer need and provide a product to fulfill that need. Typically, stores do not produce the goods they sell. Instead, they source products from manufacturers or wholesale stores.

Retail stores vs. wholesale stores

Retail stores are for-profit businesses that sell goods and services to customers in person, on the phone, through online platforms or on social media. Retailers often focus on maximizing the customer experience, which means that they put extra effort toward building relationships with customers, designing store displays or providing convenience.

Wholesale stores are similar to retailers, though they generally provide goods in bulk, charge membership fees and cater only to business customers. Wholesalers focus primarily on offering the best prices for large quantities of merchandise.

Here are a few things retail and wholesale stores have in common:

  • Customer outreach: They market and promote their products through paper media, online, on television and in the store.

  • Hours: They offer variable hours, such as extended shifts during the holiday season.

  • Sourcing: They typically source goods from manufacturers rather than producing them in the store.

Read more: Retail vs. Wholesale: Definitions and Differences

Different types of stores

Stores cater to the varied needs and desires of their target customers. Knowing the different types of stores can help you find a retail or wholesale workplace that aligns with your interests, values and career goals. When searching for your next job in this industry, consider the following 10 types of stores:

Single-location retailers

Single-location retailers are typically family-owned businesses, sellers of artisanal goods, thrift shops or markets. This type of store tends to be locally focused and may benefit from long-lasting connections with regular customers. Single-location retail jobs may be a great fit for people interested in building relationships with community members, supporting the local economy or being part of a small team of employees.

Related: What Jobs Are Available in the Retail Sector?

Chain stores

A chain is a store with several locations united by a shared brand, overall management and centralized business policies. Chain management can be local, national or international. Due to their larger customer base, chain stores can purchase goods in greater quantities than single-location retailers, which helps them reduce costs and gain more customers.

For people planning on a long-term retail career, chain stores offer opportunities to start in an entry-level position, transfer locations, ascend into high-level management and benefit from brand recognition when transitioning to a new job within the industry.

Franchises

Franchises are national and international brands owned by local sellers, or franchisees. As part of the franchise agreement, a seller pays to use the brand and business model for a certain period. They may also agree to use specific suppliers and training procedures. For people looking to gain retail skills, franchises provide the brand-recognition of a chain and the community interaction of a single-location store.

Related: 15 Retail Jobs That Pay Well

Department stores

Department stores offer a wide variety of products. Traditionally located as flagship stores in malls, they consist of different sections, or departments, that are devoted to specific categories, including clothing, shoes, luggage, beauty, appliances, hardware and more. Working in a department store may appeal to people who want to specialize in a distinct retail category, work alongside coworkers in different departments and be part of a large, diversely skilled team.

Grocery stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets

These stores provide some similar basic services, which can sometimes make it challenging to tell the difference between them. Here's what makes these three types of stores unique:

  • Grocery stores: Grocery stores focus on food, beverages and some household goods. They are typically family-owned and may be single-location stores or local chains.

  • Supermarkets: Supermarkets consist of several departments dedicated to different types of food and grocery items. They may also sell home furnishings, appliances, clothing, baby products and fresh baked goods. Supermarkets focus on offering a variety of merchandise to appeal to the most customers.

  • Hypermarkets: Hypermarkets, also called superstores, are essentially expanded supermarkets. In addition to groceries, they may also have a pharmacy, auto mechanic, photo center, eye clinic, bank and more.

Grocery stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets can all be great places to launch your retail career. With opportunities ranging from retail associate to store management, these types of stores can offer jobs for people of all education and experience levels.

Discount retailers

Discount retailers sell grocery and household products with generic branding at lower-than-retail prices. They often buy discontinued, overstock and liquidated merchandise, which keeps costs low for their customers. Like grocery stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets, discount retailers can be a great starting point for entry-level candidates because they provide job opportunities for high school students, graduates and beyond.

Outlet retailers

Also known as specialty retailers, outlet stores typically only carry a specific brand's products. For example, an outlet retailer might offer a wide variety of sporting goods from a well-known brand, a collection of luxury fragrances from a designer brand or trendy clothing manufactured by a particular company. Specialty stores often appear in malls or strip malls.

Employees in outlet stores use their deep knowledge of the brand's products to give customers reliable advice. They may use the brand's products in their personal lives, which means that fans of a particular brand may be well-suited to working in these specialty stores.

Related: 19 of the Best Companies in Retail

Warehouse stores

Warehouse stores provide a wholesale experience for the general public. By prioritizing low prices for bulk items over the aesthetic side of the shopping experience, warehouse stores reduce operational costs, which results in huge savings for the customer. For people who appreciate a good deal, don't mind a bit of heavy lifting or enjoy working in a minimalist environment, a job in a warehouse store may be a good fit.

Convenience stores

Convenience stores offer goods and services for customers who are making a quick stop. Often, convenience stores are part of gas station franchises and sell a small assortment of groceries and automotive parts. Working at a convenience store may be a good choice for those interested in being part of a small staff in a fast-paced environment.

Related: 25 Excellent Tips for How to Work in Retail

Internet retailer

Internet retailers, or e-commerce platforms, have become one of the leading types of stores in recent years. Instead of staffing and maintaining a physical location, internet retailers conveniently ship products straight to their customers. They may also offer digital products like e-books or audiobooks at low prices. Internet retailers offer a broad set of jobs, ranging from fulfillment center workers to customer service representatives and software developers.

Types of retail jobs

If you're interested in working with customers and maintaining a store, you might be qualified for the following jobs:

1. Store manager

2. Assistant store manager

3. Cashier

4. Store clerk

5. Inventory control specialist

6. Retail associate

7. Visual merchandiser

8. Customer service representative

9. Product manager

10. Marketing manager

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