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Super Markets – Characteristics, Advantages and Disadvantages

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A supermarket is a large-scale retail establishment that specializes in necessities and convenience items. They have large warehouses and sell both food and non-food items. It could be entirely owned and operated, or it could have some departments that are leased out on a concessional basis.

In a Super Market Store, customers shop from properly labeled racks, and at the end of the store, there is a cashier who takes the money after weighing and inspecting the goods. Customers typically make purchases and transport them in trolleys. So, supermarkets are known as self-service stores because customers are expected to do all of their shopping without the assistance of salespeople or sales assistants.


1. Prime Location: They are located in the main areas of the cities, especially in shopping centres, which have ample parking.

2. No Credit Facility: They operate on a cash-and-carry basis and do not provide credit.

3. No  Salesperson: There are no sales counters or sales assistants available to assist customers.

4. Wide Range: They have a wide variety of food and non-food items, including meats, dairy products, canned foods, bakery items, vegetables and other household items.

5. Large Retail Companies: They are large retail companies that provide a valuable distribution channel.

6. Low Sales Overhead: Because no salespeople are employed, they have low sales overhead.

7. Proper Packaging: The products in a supermarket are properly packed and organized on separate racks to make purchasing easier for the customer.

8. Large Display: They use large displays of merchandise, low prices, and a self-service model.


1. Availability: The first and most obvious benefit of a supermarket is that customers can get all of their goods under one roof, which saves a lot of time. In the absence of supermarkets, customers would have to go to multiple locations to buy vegetables, groceries, and other daily necessities, and we all know that commuting from one location to another, especially in metros, can be time-consuming and frustrating.

2. Variety: Another advantage is that a consumer has more options for the same product. For example, if you want to buy soap, a shopkeeper in a retail store will give you 1 or 2 options, whereas, in a supermarket, you will have 8 to 10 options of different brands of soap, allowing you to choose the best product for your convenience and wishes. In simple words, just as a full buffet of food allows you to sample a wide range of foods, supermarkets allow you to shop for a wide range of products all under one roof.

3. Promotional Schemes: Supermarkets run various promotional schemes from time to time in the form of discounts, cash-backs and contests, which makes shopping a rewarding experience, whereas small retail shops do not have any such schemes.

4. Accessibility: Super Markets are located at prime locations in a city which enables them to attract many customers and increase their profitability. 

5. No Bad Debts: As Supermarkets do not offer products on credit, there is no chance of bad debts. By doing so, supermarkets save themselves from incurring losses.


1. Large Amount of Fund: The first and most significant disadvantage of supermarkets is that they require a significant amount of capital to open and operate, which only a few people can afford, whereas in retail shops, can be opened with a small amount of capital. In other words, supermarkets are similar to big-budget movies. Just as only a few producers can make a big-budget film, only a few entrepreneurs can open supermarkets.

2. Necessity of Prime Location: Another issue with supermarkets is that they must be located in a convenient location, preferably near residential areas. This can be a major issue if property or rent prices are high. In other words, just as a plane needs a good runway to take off or land properly, a supermarket needs a good location to attract customers to the supermarket.

3. No Credit Facility: In the case of small retail shops, the shopkeeper usually knows his or her customers, so he or she can give goods to customers on credit, whereas in supermarkets, you must pay immediately after purchasing goods.

4. Overspending: In the case of supermarkets, the chances of a customer engaging in wasteful shopping are higher because the consumer is looking at goods and doing shopping, and many times he or she ends up purchasing items that are not required. Simply put, the chances of a customer overspending are higher in supermarkets than in traditional retail stores.

5. No Personal Attention: No personal attention is given to consumers in a supermarket, as it works on the principle of self-service. This becomes a major drawback in selling those products which require personal attention.

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Last Updated : 06 Apr, 2023
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