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Top 5 Differences between Retailers and Distributors

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Table of Content

What are Retailers?

– How Retailers Work

– Retailers’ major functions

– How do retailers promote their products?

     – Retail Standards

    – GS1 Retail Industry Standards

    – American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

What are Distributors?

– Distributor Strategy

– Business Model

– What Are the Functions of a Distributor?

Which Comes First? Retailers or distributors.

Difference between Distributor and Retailer:

Key distinction:

Deciding What’s Best for You


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What are Retailers?

A retailer, sometimes known as a merchant, is an organization that sells products such as apparel, groceries, or automobiles to customers directly through a variety of distribution methods in an effort to make a profit. This company may operate online or offline.

Most individuals frequently contact retailers because they are the segment of the supply chain that directly serves consumers. Typically, retailers will purchase products from a producer, wholesaler, or other distributor and resell them to the general public. Small, family-run pharmacies or your neighbourhood grocery shop can buy from the same outlets or from smaller vendors, unlike large merchants like Walmart and Target which buy products in bulk from producers or wholesalers.

In either case, the retailer charges the customer a markup (the distinction between the product’s purchase price and resale price) for such things. Retailers achieve profitability in this way.

The following are the principal product categories sold by retailers:

  • Food
  • Durable or hard items (such as furniture or cars)
  • Supple goods (such as clothing or footwear, which have a lifespan)
  • Art items (such as books, musical instruments, or art supplies)

How Retailers Work

Retailers must be set up to sell to customers directly in some way. Making decisions about physical and digital venues as well as how to sell things and engage with customers are all part of this.

  • Most contemporary retailers frequently base their strategic choices on the following:
  • The kind of retailer (e.g., major national chain vs. small stores in select cities vs. online only)
  • The vendor’s market (e.g., high-end product consumer vs. cost-conscious consumer)
  • The best possible product mix (unless you’re Amazon and sell everything, of course)
  • Consumer service (e.g., an in-store customer relations rep vs. a toll-free 800 number)
  • Market positioning (e.g., customers with discretionary income vs. those with disposable income)

Retailers’ major functions

  1. A store must provide customers with exceptional services.
  2. Typically, wholesalers purchase their goods from producers. A retailer will later buy the goods from the wholesaler. It’s that easy. A manufacturer works extremely hard to find raw materials, hire workers, and create a final product. The goods must subsequently be sold to the customer at a recommended retail price by a retailer.
  3. Retailers are in charge of all warehouse and storage tasks. It is a step in the logistics process as a whole. But in reality, they can’t do it by themselves. They will have to contract with international order fulfillment platforms for their services.
  4. In some cases, a shop must provide the consumer goods on credit in order to optimize customer happiness. They must therefore have a risk management strategy to prevent amassing too many bad loans. In addition, a merchant’s goals should prioritize the quality of their products.
  5. And that makes sense logically. to prevent returns or even chargebacks, both of which can ultimately lower your profit margins. They launch new products onto the market and communicate with all prospective buyers to inform them about the same.

How do retailers promote their products?

Retailers have access to a wide range of marketing techniques. Social media has surpassed conventional advertising strategies in popularity nowadays. Sponsored posts on Facebook and Instagram, as well as email marketing, are a few of the popular methods used by businesses to promote their goods. In other words, being visible on social media is a strategy that works, and businesses frequently rely on it.

Branding appears to be effective for most retailers. Having a distinctive name and logo helps buyers develop faith in your items. Retailers can obtain products from distributors and brand the packaging to help them advertise their company.

In the e-commerce sector, flash sales have become the new standard. It’s a way to draw clients’ attention. After all, the retailer will offer things at a steep discount in an effort to entice shoppers to buy. Visit on the website of Myanmar Golden heart for further guidance.

Retail Standards

The established guidelines for managing a retail operation are known as retail industry standards. They can be quite helpful in making existing and new retail firms more productive. There are two criteria that retail operations should be aware of.

GS1 Retail Industry Standards

GS1 is primarily based on the GS1 numbering scheme used in Universal Product Codes, and it is dedicated to supply chain management (UPC). By enabling businesses to electronically manage their checkout and inventory systems, this solution increases efficiency. Along the whole supply chain, from manufacture to retail, GS1 supports other crucial information flows.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

The standards for exchanging electronic data across a variety of businesses are established by the ANSI Accredited Standards Committee. Many retail businesses base their operational practices on these principles. For instance, the electronic data interchange (EDI) document standard enables communication between two or more computer systems running in various places. 3 This makes it possible for a retail company to send order data from an online store or website to a warehouse or distribution facility. The numerous ANSI standards should be known to all retail operators.

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What are Distributors?

A distributor is a company that buys large quantities of product in bulk from a manufacturer and distributes it to retailers or consumers directly.

Distributors are also referred to as “wholesalers” sometimes.

Because it enables a business to specialize or concentrate operations on its core competencies of either making items or selling to consumers. A distributor is a crucial part of the supply chain model employed by both manufacturers and retailers.

Distributor Strategy

Some businesses, like Wal-Mart, have grown their empires through the use of both retail storefronts and internal delivery systems. This improves communication between the two departments, enabling flexibility and speedier responses to changing market conditions.

Business Model

  • The distributor’s business strategy is to purchase goods at a discount from the producer and then resell them to retailers or end users for a higher price.
  • The distributor must enter into supply agreements that give low purchasing prices for a high markup while concentrating on operational efficiencies to keep costs low in order to maximize profit.
  • Finding items that you can buy at cheap rates with a high potential markup requires insight into market patterns and commodity prices.
  • Route design and advanced infrastructure are necessary for optimal operation.
  • Due to this intricacy, a lot of producers and merchants may choose to work with a third party distributor to distribute goods rather than setting up their own infrastructure.

What Are the Functions of a Distributor?

Procurement of Goods from the Company

The distributor’s primary duty is to purchase products in bulk from the manufacturer; they never buy products in tiny quantities but rather in order to supply them to independent merchants as needed.

Storage of Goods

Since distributors buy goods in large quantities, they require large storage space to hold the items since there is a time lag between the distributor buying the goods from the corporation and reselling those goods to small retailers. Storing goods is another crucial duty of the distributor. Additionally, retailers are dependent on the distributor because they only maintain a small quantity of goods on hand. Refill them when the current items are sold to retail consumers.

Product Knowhow

A distributor must be well-versed in the company’s products because without such expertise, he or she would not be able to persuade merchants to accept the products and sell them to their customers. Simply put, distributors cannot thrive without having adequate knowledge of the company’s products, just as you cannot pass an exam without doing your homework.


When retailers call the distributor with their needs, the distributor’s job is to convey the goods from the warehouse to the retailers’ stores. In other words, the corporation won’t suffer a loss as a result of the products not being available at retail outlets in the market if distributors are fast in supplying goods to retailers.

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Which Comes First? Retailers or distributors.

Some manufacturers might believe that they can take use of a distributor’s network without partnering with them. This choice will probably slow the rate of market penetration for that brand, but it might be effective for smaller enterprises that are primarily interested in achieving local or regional representation.

Working with a distributor is the gift that keeps on giving in other circumstances, it is quite evident. The ability to quickly extend your retail coverage is frequently provided by access to an established network, giving you more time to focus on creating the next best thing your brand will provide. Contact Myanmar Golden Heart, we will guide you further for making better choices for your business.

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Difference between Distributor and Retailer:

They provide the customer with services such as product information, estimates, technical assistance, after-sales services, and credits. Additionally, they provide goods directly to shops or other enterprises, which then sell to customers. They also keep an exclusive buying agreement in place, which restricts their participants and allows them to operate in a specific region.

Retailers are essentially sellers who are in charge of selling goods to customers at the conclusion of any business management system. They serve as a direct conduit between producers and consumers, assisting the latter in understanding their needs and demands. In contrast to a wholesaler or supplier, who typically sells their goods to another firm, they are “a business or person that sells items to the Retailerconsumer.”

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Key distinction:

A distributor supplies the goods and/or services, whilst a retailer sells them. This is the primary distinction between retailers and distributors.

Any person, including the retailer, supplier, etc., who distributes the goods, products, and/or services to the relevant authorities is referred to as a distributor. According to Myanmar Golden Heart, distributor is a company that purchases non-competing goods or product lines, stores them, and then resells them to merchants or directly to consumers. They support the supplier’s or manufacturer’s promotional efforts financially and with a lot of manpower. 

A retailer typically purchases a small number of goods from retailers and distributors in order to make a profit and achieve their corporate goals. They buy the goods from the suppliers for a fair price and market them in accordance with their advantages. They are typically store owners who provide the merchandise to customers. 





Who are they

Who are distributors? An individual who distributes and supplies the goods to the other relevant authorities is known as a distributor.

Who are retailers?A retailer is a person or company that sells goods or services to final consumers directly.

Relation with

They frequently have a relationship with the producers.

They are in close contact with the customers.


They utilize a chain management system to supply the goods.

There is no such management included in their selling.

Prize at which they sell the products

The costs they charge for the products are the total wholesale costs.

Along with the established price, they additionally sell the products for a profit.

Receives goods from

They frequently purchase from the producer.

Usually, they purchase from the distributors.

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Deciding What’s Best for You

It only takes a little introspection to determine your company’s most profitable course of action. Myanmar Golden Heart mentions a few points to keep track of where your brand is and where you want it to be, ask yourself a few questions.

  1. How successfully do you now handle the demand for your product?
  2. Does the production, storage, or promotion of your goods use an excessive amount of your time?
  3. Do you have unhindered access to a wide range of retailers who serve your target market?
  4. Do you think it would be beneficial for you to try and handle every part of the distribution process on your own?
  5. Have your efforts to contact merchants on your own been successful?
  6. Do you know how to assess the possibilities for expansion of your current business?
  7. Can you meet the demand that your target audience is presenting?
  8. Do you have the resources—technology, people, and storage—necessary to support an increase in production?
  9. Do you have a thorough understanding of the legal standards that apply to your inventory, especially those items related to food?
  10. If you’re interested in a national or global expansion, can you handle foreign and federal regulations?
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Eliminating the intermediary can help you save money, but you should think about how those savings may impact your overall return on investment and return on your most valuable asset—time. Allowing the financial investment to be the primary consideration when creating your business model is frequently a mistake. It’s crucial to know exactly why you’ve chosen this particular path as the best course of action.

It’s frequently advisable to employ a distributor to immediately reach a wide network of shops if your product line is suitable for rapid expansion to remain ahead of copycat products. Building your own distribution system is now easy and Myanmar Golden Heart will guide you, however, might be a better way to advertise your product line if you want to create an exclusive brand, your customers are ready to travel for your goods, or you want to work with select merchants.

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