What is a Departmental Store?
A departmental store is one that sells different kinds of goods.
Grains, edible oils, different brands of biscuits, chocolates, soaps, toothpaste, face powder, shampoo, stainless steel vessels, ready made garments, fruits, vegetables, medicines, stationery items and fast-food items are available in such a store.
The entire store is divided into a number of departments each displaying a certain type of goods.
It is often said
a departmental store sells everything from pin to plane under one roof.
The salient features of a departmental store are given below:
Features of Departmental Stores
1. Location: A departmental store is usually located at a busy and prominent place.
2. Goods available: All kinds of goods are available in such a store. A customer coming to a departmental store can buy all that he wants and need not go to any other shop.
3. Parking facility: It provides ample car parking facilities to induce the elite group to visit.
4. Normally, the entire showroom is air-conditioned. Baskets and trolleys are made available to enable the customers to carry the goods within the store.
5. All grains, fruits, vegetables etc., are neatly packed in various quantities and kept in the shelves. Each pack is labelled giving details of the quantity, date of packing, price and so on.
6. Self service: Self-service is yet another important feature of a departmental store. The customer need not be at the mercy of any salesman. He can just pick up the goods he wants and keep it in his trolley. He can move the trolley himself to the various sections of the store. Once the customer has collected all that he wants, he can move the trolley to the cash counter where the bill is prepared. After getting payment from the customer, all his goods will be neatly put in a bag and given to him.
7. Computer billing: Computer-billing is another feature of a departmental store. This saves lot of time both for the customer and the cashier. The chance for total mistakes is also avoided.
8. Brands available: As the departmental store makes available almost all popular brands of consumer goods, the consumer can select his favorite brands. He cannot be influenced by any one.
9. Ease in finding products: Salesmen are also posted in all sections or departments to help the customers. If the customer has any difficulty in finding a product, he can seek the help of any salesman.
10. Door delivery of Goods: Departmental stores also provide door-delivery of goods. The order may be placed by phone or even on the Internet. ‘Subhiksha’, a famous departmental store known to the people of Chennai, has introduced Internet order placement.
11. Offers: Departmental stores also come out with certain offers for their customers. They bring out money-saver packs of certain goods like rice, wheat and so on. They also offer cash discounts on bulk purchases.
12. Payment facility: All departmental stores accept major credit cards. This, indeed, is advantageous to many customers. It enables a person to buy what he wants without having to bother about his current cash position.
Disadvantages or Limitations of Departmental stores
The following are some of the disadvantages or limitations of a departmental store.
1. Only city dwellers have access to a departmental store.
2. The price of the products is generally very high in a departmental store. This is mainly because of their higher establishment and operating costs.
3. A departmental store is generally not suitable for budget buyers. This is because it sells only popular brands of goods, the price of which will be generally very high.
4. Such a store is mostly suitable for large quantity buyers. The grains, fruits and vegetables are packed in larger quantities e.g., half a kilo, one kilo and so on. Therefore, small buyers cannot shop in a departmental store.
In spite of some of the limitations mentioned above departmental stores have become very popular over the years. In Chennai itself, there are many such stores like Subhiksha, Foodworld, Nilgiris, Vitan, etc., that do thriving business.