Retail Terminology

Retail “lingo” can get overwhelming. To help you understand all the retail terms used in everyday business between wholesalers and retailers, Retail Minded has created a dictionary for your convenience.

If there is a retail term you do not see included in this list, please email Retail Minded and we will define the term you are looking for in the near future.

Retail Terminology as Defined by Retail Minded

Big Box Stores: Commonly referred to by Retail Minded as the “big dogs”, big box stores are stand alone stores that carry assorted merchandise. An example would be Macy’s or Target. Big box stores may also be categorized as department stores, discount stores, or warehouse stores depending on the store itself.

Boutique: Refers to small shops or stores that are independently owned and often sell a product assortment that is not duplicated exactly in any other store.

Cash and Carry Wholesaler: A form of wholesale that sells products on the spot, usually with cash only, to a purchaser who is then able to self carry the products out themselves without having to wait for any time in between purchasing and delivery.

Cash Wrap: The place where a consumer goes to purchase product or services within a store, usually consisting of a cash register machine as well as supplies, such as tissue and bags, for purchases to be placed in.

Consumers: The final purchaser, or end user, of any product or service.

Dead Stock: Inventory in a store that has never been used or purchased by a consumer, however is from a previous season and despite multiple attempts to sell it, this stock does not sell. Dead stock is often a result of inexperienced buying, including lack of knowledge of the customer base.

Demographics: Identifies population in groups based on age, gender, income, occupation, education, religion, race, family size, family life style, and more.  Government studies often provide demographic information.

Discount: A reduction in the price of an item or transaction based upon the customer making the purchase.

Email Blast: An email sent to a large group of people at once.

Kiosk: A free standing structure used in a public place, such as a mall, that is designed to support product or a service to be sold to consumers. It is also used for interactive opportunities and may be on a short term basis, such as when used during a festival.

Look Book: A book that is similar to a portfolio, however it represents a product line rather than providing visual samples of one’s work history. The purpose of a Look Book is to provide a “story”, “feeling”, or “inspiration overview” of the product assortment through photographs of the product you want to sell.

Markdown: A devaluation of a product based upon its inability to be sold at the original planned selling price.

Markup: Increase in the price of a product or service to create a profit margin for business.

Manufacturer: Refers to hand made or machine constructed products that begin as raw materials and are completed into finished goods that are for use or sale to wholesalers as well as retailers.

Operating Expenses: The expenses involved in running a business.

Physchographics: Identifies life styles and stages that appear to influence consumer shopping decisions. Includes activities, beliefs, habits, opinions, and more.

Retail: The business of selling services or products that will ultimately be sold to consumers. Includes manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers.

Retailer:A fixed location, including store fronts, the internet, kiosks, and vending stations, that sell products or services to consumers.

Retail Supply Chain: A product is created at a manufacturer, is sold to a wholesaler, then is sold again to a retailer who ultimately sells the product to the final purchaser, the consumer.

Visual Merchandising: The art of using effective design and merchandising ideas that will enhance the shopping experience of a store as well as increase sales and foot traffic.

Wholesaler: An individual or company that sells a product or service to a retailer and does not sell this product or service directly to consumers.