Retailers Without Shops And Co-operative Retail Societies In Commerce (Nigerian As a Case Study)

Retailers Without Shops And Co-operative Retail Societies In Commerce (Nigerian As a Case Study)

Retailers without shops

MAIL-ORDER COMPANIES – Mail-order companies operate through the postal system. This method of retailing originated in the United States in the 19t century when many people lived a great distance from the nearest shopping centre In Nigeria today they are most popular among people who live in rural areas. The ‘shop window for the company’s goods is the catalogue, usually containing pictures of the goods and a price list. Sometimes the company appoints agents to show the catalogues to potential customers and take their orders Other companies operate by sending the catalogue direct to the customer who can look at it at his leisure and make his choice of goods in his own home.

The advantages of this method of retailing are that costs are reduced as no shop has to be rented or staffed and that customers shop in the convenience of their own homes. The problems are that it is reliant on there being a cheap and efficient postal system, over which it has no control. The catalogues also have to be revised regularly to allow for the inclusion of new goods and the price lists also have to be regularly updated.


Many people would like to enter the retail trade but are unable to raise the capital necessary to establish a shop. They may therefore start trading as hawkers or pedlars, selling their wares from a van, cart or canoe. Together with market stall holders they are able to serve customers living in small communities in the more remote areas which would not provide a large enough market to establish permanent shops. The market stalls are also important in the towns and cities.

These forms of retailing are mainly suitable for the more simple goods, such as foodstuffs, that do not require a more sophisticate form of retailing. The items sold are generally comparatively small, since the seller has no permanent storage facilities and also quite cheap, since the trade is carried on in cash.


The co-operatives differ from other retailers in their aims. Their aim is not to make the maximum possible profits for themselves, but to serve their customers. Thus, profits are ploughed back into the societies or are redistributed to customers via dividend payments. The size of the dividend received by the customer is related to the value of his purchases from the co-operative. The controlling body of the co-operative is elected by the members of the society. The goods are sold at current market prices, but given the dividends received the consumers’ outlay is reduced. The co-operatives form wholesale societies from which they buy their goods at competitive prices.


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