Retail vs. Trade

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Retail and Trade is that the Retail is a sale of goods and services from individuals or businesses to the end-user and Trade is a Exchange of goods and services.

  • Retail

    Retail is the process of selling consumer goods or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution to earn a profit. Retailers satisfy demand identified through a supply chain. The term “retailer” is typically applied where a service provider fills the small orders of a large number of individuals, who are end-users, rather than large orders of a small number of wholesale, corporate or government clientele. Shopping generally refers to the act of buying products. Sometimes this is done to obtain final goods, including necessities such as food and clothing; sometimes it takes place as a recreational activity. Recreational shopping often involves window shopping and browsing: it does not always result in a purchase.

    Retail markets and shops have a very ancient history, dating back to antiquity. Some of the earliest retailers were itinerant peddlers. Over the centuries, retail shops were transformed from little more than “rude booths” to the sophisticated shopping malls of the modern era.

    Most modern retailers typically make a variety of strategic level decisions including the type of store, the market to be served, the optimal product assortment, customer service, supporting services and the store’s overall market positioning. Once the strategic retail plan is in place, retailers devise the retail mix which includes product, price, place, promotion, personnel and presentation. In the digital age, an increasing number of retailers are seeking to reach broader markets by selling through multiple channels, including both bricks and mortar and online retailing. Digital technologies are also changing the way that consumers pay for goods and services. Retailing support services may also include the provision of credit, delivery services, advisory services, stylist services and a range of other supporting services.

    Retail shops occur in a diverse range of types and in many different contexts – from strip shopping centres in residential streets through to large, indoor shopping malls. Shopping streets may restrict traffic to pedestrians only. Sometimes a shopping street has a partial or full roof to create a more comfortable shopping environment – protecting customers from various types of weather conditions such as extreme temperatures, winds or precipitation. Forms of non-shop retailing include online retailing (a type of electronic-commerce used for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions) and mail order.

  • Trade

    Trade involves the transfer of goods or services from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. A system or network that allows trade is called a market.

    An early form of trade, barter, saw the direct exchange of goods and services for other goods and services. Barter involves trading things without the use of money. Later, one bartering party started to involve precious metals, which gained symbolic as well as practical importance. Modern traders generally negotiate through a medium of exchange, such as money. As a result, buying can be separated from selling, or earning. The invention of money (and later credit, paper money and non-physical money) greatly simplified and promoted trade. Trade between two traders is called bilateral trade, while trade involving more than two traders is called multilateral trade.

    Trade exists due to specialization and the division of labor, a predominant form of economic activity in which individuals and groups concentrate on a small aspect of production, but use their output in trades for other products and needs. Trade exists between regions because different regions may have a comparative advantage (perceived or real) in the production of some trade-able commodity—including production of natural resources scarce or limited elsewhere, or because different regions’ sizes may encourage mass production. In such circumstances, trade at market prices between locations can benefit both locations.

    Retail trade consists of the sale of goods or merchandise from a very fixed location (such as a department store, boutique or kiosk), online or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption or use by the purchaser. Wholesale trade is defined as traffic in goods that are sold as merchandise to retailers, or to industrial, commercial, institutional, or other professional business users, or to other wholesalers and related subordinated services.

  • Retail (noun)

    The sale of goods directly to the consumer, encompassing the storefronts, mail-order, websites, etc., and the corporate mechanisms, branding, advertising, etc. that support them.

    “She works in retail.”

  • Retail (noun)

    Retail price; full price; an abbreviated expression, meaning the full suggested price of a particular good or service, before any sale, discount, or other deal.

    “I never pay retail for clothes.”

  • Retail (adjective)

    Of or relating to the (actual or figurative) sale of goods or services directly to individuals.

  • Retail (adverb)

    Direct to consumers, in retail quantities, or at retail prices.

    “We’ve shut shown our reseller unit. We’re only selling retail now.”

  • Retail (verb)

    To sell at retail, or in small quantities directly to customers.

  • Retail (verb)

    To sell secondhand, or in broken parts.

  • Retail (verb)

    To repeat or circulate (news or rumours) to others.

  • Trade (noun)

    Buying and selling of goods and services on a market.


  • Trade (noun)

    A particular instance of buying or selling.

    “I did no trades with them once the rumors started.”


  • Trade (noun)

    An instance of bartering items in exchange for one another.

  • Trade (noun)

    Those who perform a particular kind of skilled work.

    “The skilled trades were the first to organize modern labor unions.”


  • Trade (noun)

    Those engaged in an industry or group of related industries.

    “It is not a retail showroom. It is only for the trade.”

  • Trade (noun)

    The skilled practice of a practical occupation.

    “He learned his trade as an apprentice.”


  • Trade (noun)

    An occupation in the secondary sector; as opposed to an agricultural, professional or military one.

    “After failing his entrance exams, he decided to go into a trade.”

    “Most veterans went into trade when the war ended.”

  • Trade (noun)

    The business given to a commercial establishment by its customers.

    “Even before noon there was considerable trade.”


  • Trade (noun)

    Steady winds blowing from east to west above and below the equator.

    “They rode the trades going west.”

  • Trade (noun)

    A publication intended for participants in an industry or related group of industries.

    “Rumors about layoffs are all over the trades.”

  • Trade (noun)

    A brief sexual encounter.

    “Josh picked up some trade last night.”

  • Trade (noun)

    Instruments of any occupation.

  • Trade (noun)

    Refuse or rubbish from a mine.

  • Trade (noun)

    A track or trail; a way; a path; passage.

  • Trade (noun)

    Course; custom; practice; occupation.

  • Trade (verb)

    To engage in trade

    “This company trades in precious metal.”


  • Trade (verb)

    To be traded at a certain price or under certain conditions.

  • Trade (verb)

    To give (something) in exchange for.

    “Will you trade your precious watch for my earring?”


  • Trade (verb)

    To give someone a plant and receive a different one in return.

  • Trade (verb)

    To do business; offer for sale as for one’s livelihood.

    “do business”

  • Trade (verb)

    To have dealings; to be concerned or associated (with).

  • Retail (noun)

    the sale of goods to the public in relatively small quantities for use or consumption rather than for resale

    “the retail trade”

  • Retail (adverb)

    being sold by retail or at a retail price

    “it is not yet available retail”

  • Retail (verb)

    sell (goods) to the public by retail

    “the difficulties in retailing the new products”

  • Retail (verb)

    (of goods) be sold by retail for (a specified price)

    “the product retails for around £20”

  • Retail (verb)

    relate or repeat (a story) in detail

    “his inimitable way of retailing a diverting anecdote”

  • Trade (noun)

    the action of buying and selling goods and services

    “a significant increase in foreign trade”

    “a move to ban all trade in ivory”

  • Trade (noun)

    the practice of making one’s living in business, as opposed to in a profession or from unearned income

    “the aristocratic classes were contemptuous of those in trade”

  • Trade (noun)

    (in sport) a transfer

    “players can demand a trade after five years of service”

  • Trade (noun)

    a job requiring manual skills and special training

    “the fundamentals of the construction trade”

    “he’s a carpenter by trade”

  • Trade (noun)

    the people engaged in a particular area of business

    “in the trade this sort of computer is called ‘a client-based system’”

  • Trade (noun)

    people licensed to sell alcoholic drink.

  • Trade (noun)

    a trade wind

    “the north-east trades”

  • Trade (verb)

    buy and sell goods and services

    “middlemen trading in luxury goods”

  • Trade (verb)

    buy or sell (a particular item or product)

    “she has traded millions of dollars’ worth of metals”

  • Trade (verb)

    (especially of shares or currency) be bought and sold at a specified price

    “the dollar was trading where it was in January”

  • Trade (verb)

    exchange (something) for something else, typically as a commercial transaction

    “they trade mud-shark livers for fish oil”

  • Trade (verb)

    give and receive (something, typically insults or blows)

    “they traded a few punches”

  • Trade (verb)

    transfer (a player) to another team

    “would his behaviour cause them to trade him?”

Oxford Dictionary

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