21 Essential Characteristics of Departmental Stores (With Example)

A departmental store offers the widest possible range of goods and services in one place. It aims at providing convenience in shopping and to supply all requirements from a single place. It is the place where one could get articles ranging from “pin to plane“.

Characteristics of departmental stores
Characteristics of departmental stores

Hence it is, termed as a ‘universal provider’.

Characteristics of Departmental Stores

Following are the main features or characteristics of departmental stores:

1. Variety of Goods

It is a place where a consumer can get all of his daily needs products from pin to lane or needle to car.

Departmental stores deal with a variety of products that can be purchased in one place.

2. Soft and Hard Goods

They feature both “soft goods” – such as apparel, sheets, towels, and bedding – and “Hard goods” – including furniture, appliances, and consumer electronics.

Related: Top 17 Advantages and Disadvantages of Departmental Stores.

3. Many Customer Services

Departmental stores also attract and satisfy consumers by offering many customer services such as alternations, various credit plans, and bridal registry.

These stores have a combination of distinctive, appealing merchandise and numerous customer services.

4. Departmental Basis

The working of the store is organized on a departmental basis.

Here, departments are established o deal with different items.

Each department works under the supervision of the manager.

He has the freedom to control the department as he thinks fit. Each department is specialized in one or more related lines.

5. Centralized Control

In spite of the fact that each department is independent in its day to day working, all departments are owned, managed and controlled centrally.

These departments have centralized control of advertising, sales promotion, accounting, credit, and employment, etc.

Related: 9 Key Difference between Departmental Store and Supermarket.

6. Large Size

The departmental store is large in size. It is centrally located.

It attracts a large number of customers.

7. Convenient services

Services towards customers such as recreational facilities, free home delivery, post, and telegraph, etc. are provided conveniently.

The building also has a provision of car parking and other facilities.

8. Central Location

That is the most important element that decides the successful existence of a departmental store.

Being a large scale institution its profit depends upon the large turnover, only if the location is freely accessible.

9. Horizontal Integration

The store is a horizontally integrated institution.

It brings together under one roof a range of merchandise offerings comparable to the combined offerings of may stores specializing in single or fewer merchandise lines. 29 Important Services of Wholesaler in Marketing (Explained).

10. Recreational Facilities

Stores may create a house image to customers by offering the services of trained salesmen, recreation facilities, music programs, movies, etc., restaurant bars, reading rooms, restrooms, telephone booths, beauty clinics, lectures, demonstrations, fashion shows, information center, etc.

features of departmental stores
features of departmental stores

They allow credit, accept orders on the telephone, offer home delivery, exchange of goods, refund to the unsatisfied buyers, etc.

11. Customer Orientation

He customer is always right is followed as a principle.

Related: 31 Factors Affecting the Choice of Distribution Channels (Explained).

12. Company Form

Departmental stores are organized as a limited company or joint the stock company.

It has a board of directors to frame general policies and to delegate powers to subordinates.

The director or general manager is the executive head of the whole concern.

Departmental managers or section managers are subordinates to the general manager, they are responsible for their respective sections and their progress.

13. Trades Under One Roof

All the departments operate under one roof and each department specialized in a particular type of trade.

14. High Expenses

Due to their prime, busy and important locations, and abundant services, their operating expenses are considerably higher than most other retailers.

15. Huge investment

A large quantum if finance is needed to start a departmental store.

Related: 18 Key Success Factors in Retail Business (With Examples).

16. Promotion

Departmental stores make extensive use of advertisements to attract customers and to compete with other retailers.

17. Specialization

Here, the principle of division of labor and specialization is more extensively used.

18. Cater the Needs of Rich Class

One important feature of departmental stores is that they cater to the needs of rich class customers.

Service rather than price is usually emphasized in the departmental store.

19. Efficient Salesmen

These stores keep trained and efficient salesmen to provide better services, help, and behavior to sophisticated customers.

Related: 10 Important Steps in Process of Sales Forecasting (Explained).

20. Urban institution

Generally, the departmental store is established in big cities only.

They cannot be operated in rural areas.

21. Non-Discounted Prices

Departmental stores strive to charge “full or non-discounted” prices.

What is meant by departmental stores?

A departmental store is a collection of shops under one roof and ownership, each shop or department specializing in selling a special range of goods.

Thus, now you know the all the major features or characteristics of departmental stores.


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