Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Essay on Retailing Issues

Issues of the Retailing World Essay

There are many concerns throughout the retail world. From where to shop, how to shop, what to shop for, and who to do business with, there is constant competition throughout the industry to be the best among consumers and to gain the most success. Many journal articles have been written addressing these concerns. Though they may be somewhat difficult to interpret, they tend to offer research and suggestions in order to overcome obstacles and answer questions. The following is an analysis of the articles I have read dealing with different areas within the retailing world and the issues each area commonly face.

"Retail performance measures for seasonal fashion",
Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

Merchandising, also called buying or sourcing, is an important step in the retail industry. Getting merchandise to stores on time, and getting the amounts and types of merchandise correct, is a risky job for a buyer. Often buyers look for the best value, or how they can get goods at the lowest price. However, in order to get a great deal, buyers must often purchase merchandise early, sometimes seven to eight months ahead of the selling season. This fashion forecasting can sometimes be wrong, leading to excess inventory, more discounted items, consumer dissatisfaction, or lost sales (Retail performance, 341).



This article is generally directed to experienced workers in the retail field, as well as people in buying positions. It spoke of buying situations and dealt with some formulas and equations. Being someone who is studying the filed, I typically understood most of the vocabulary, but a layperson may have some difficulty. Terms such as forecasting, lead-time, lost sales, GMROI, and product substitute percentage may be a bit confusing.

The journal article was easy to follow. It began with an abstract to introduce the main ideas as well as key words that would be found throughout the reading. The issues of the article were presented next, followed by research and results. Charts and equations were provided to lend a visual hand to some difficult ideas to grasp, leading to easier comprehension.

I do not feel that I will write any journal articles in my future in the retail industry. The authors of this article are all professors, an occupation I will not pursue. Unfortunately, no other information was given about the article’s writers.

“Consumer-sales employee encounters: a dyadic perspective”,
Journal of Retailing

Good relations between customers and sales employees are important for increased sales. This article looks at that relationship from different aspects. It bases the relationship on factors such as the mood of the customer versus the employee and the perception of how helpful and caring the employee is acting (both from customer and employee standpoint).

This article spoke generally to educated retailers, retail experts and psychologists. It was a study on correlations and the relationships and interaction between customers and employees. Again, being a college student with a focus on psychology as well as retail, I was able to understand nearly all the information presented. However, the vocabulary is fairly advanced for a layperson to comprehend without carefully reading and analyzing the information. Terms such as interpersonal perception, correlations, variables, and unique encounter effect can easily get hazy when read throughout a substantially long article.

The layout of this article was easy to follow. It, too, began with an abstract describing what was to be encountered in the article. Keywords were also presented to ease the reader into the vocabulary. An introduction came next, followed by breakdowns of the main points in sections. Results and a discussion came after, and charts and visuals aided the reading. A conclusion came last, which wrapped up the article.

This kind of writing is very involved. I will hopefully not be doing this kind of writing in the future. These authors are all professors, and have all obviously worked long and hard on this research. I am not interested in this type of work within the field. I will be much happier reading, than writing, an article such as this.

“Consumer value: an application to mall and Internet shopping”,
International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

The launch of the Internet and, more importantly, Internet shopping have raised the eyebrows of some people. Will this great new technology make shopping malls obsolete? This is the main focus of this article. Shopping malls and the Internet are major competitors today. Which can provide greater value to the consumer is a battle. “The prevailing sociodemographic changes in today’s consumer market…have significantly altered consumers’ expectations and demands during the shopping experience”(Consumer value, 595). The dimensions of consumer value have been researched in order to try to reach some conclusion as to which shopping experience will better suit consumers.

This article was by far the most interesting to read of the three. It was directed more towards laypeople instead of just the educated and used simpler vocabulary, which was much easier to read smoothly and understand. The article questioned whether mall shopping or internet shopping holds greater value for the consumer. This was so fascinating because it was about everyday people, and it was information and research that most people can relate to.

The reading was laid out just as the other two had been, with an abstract and keywords at the beginning. Background information about the article came next, and then some ideas about malls versus the internet and consumer value followed. A conclusion summing up the research closed the article.

I thoroughly enjoyed this article. It was short and to the point, yet it was the most interesting of the three. If I am to someday write about the retail industry, this is the kind of work I am likely to write. This author is also a professor, as the other articles’ authors have been.

There were definitely some similarities in the articles I read. The layout was similar and the authors had similar backgrounds as university professors. There were differences, though, in the content and style of the articles. One was very scholarly and mathematic, one was scientific, and one was easy reading.

In comparing these articles to the main fashion articles found in the New York Times, I can see a difference. The weekly fashion articles are often humorous and lighthearted whereas these articles are more “down to business”. They focus on the matter at hand and research while the newspaper articles do not typically use such research.

I do feel I have learned from this experience. Reading these journals articles have led me to believe that retail is, in fact, a difficult field to understand at times. There is so much going on, and there are so many other fields that spill into this one - from math to psychology to science, etc. A retail industry worker must know a little about all of this. On the contrary though, this field is also extremely interesting due to the fact that it affects every single person, from experts to everyday consumers.

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