Definition: Retail & Origin

Retail : Definition & Origin


By definition, “Retail” is a term of Anglo-Saxon origin which translates into “Retail Trade” or “Retail Sales”. We call “Retailer” or “Détaillant”, a person holding this kind of business.

Retail is the sale of finished products directly to consumers. It is one of the oldest commercial activities. This trade applies to several types of activities including food, technology, restaurants, clothing, cosmetics …

The retail trade is at the end of the distribution chain. This is why a retailer’s sales are made in small quantities, contrary to a wholesaler who will focus primarily on the volume of purchases.

A retailer can run several stores and even manage an online business. The latter will then move from a Brick & Mortar model to another one, called Click & Mortar.

Retail: What is the future of retail?


In 2017, 85% of Internet users bought online, i.e. nearly 37.5 million French people. A figure that will continue to increase: the convenience of e-commerce and the attractiveness of the offers seduce more and more Internet users.

The rise in power of online shopping is not without consequences. Indeed, the latter impacts the frequentation of physical stores: -2.7% over the first 5 months of 2018 for the specialized trade, all sectors combined (-5.1% in 2018 over 12 sliding months).

At a time when consumption patterns are evolving, consumers’ expectations are also changing. They are demanding a personalized, omnichannel and seamless experience.

Faced with these emerging needs, retail must reinvent itself in order to eliminate the pain points present in physical stores (stock shortages, limited catalog due to available space, etc.). Phygital is the key to this: it enables a real synergy between online and offline and revitalizes in-store traffic via omnichannel delivery methods (click and collect, e-reservation). The days when everything worked without digitalization are over. Eventually, Brick & Mortar will have to adapt by becoming Click & Mortar if they want to differentiate themselves from Pure Player.