Talking of offline retail, 1000s of small aspiring traders are thinking of online, e-commerce, Flipkart, Amazon etc, very few are thinking about offline. But offline is not dead yet. It is still bigger than online. For certain product category yes Offline retail is dead. Like Books, Electronics etc.
Surprisingly the distribution network is far ahead of e-commerce model. Those who do not know what is distribution network let me explain. If you are a manufacturer of goods, you have option of selling it online or in the shops, or retail outlets – Offline retail.
For selling it online you have options of selling it through market place like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc, or even build your own website. For selling in the shops, you need to setup a distributors/stockist network.
Distributors are the people who supply the goods to the retail stores. You can not go directly to the retail stores, it is not practical. Lets take an example of a ball pen. If you are a manufacturer of ball pen, you will have to send your pens to few 1000 retail store, then manage the payment cycle, explain the goodness of your product to each of the retailers. If you offer warranty or exchange offer…. I hope you understand the complications.
The solution is distributor, who will take your ball pens and make sure that it reaches to all the stores in his local area, he will take care of the training on how to use it, He will also make sure that a small poster about your product is seen in all the stores. He will also take care of credit facility, returns, exchange and most importantly the tracking of the sales too.