You can sell the products through two ways, either you can become a wholesaler or a retailer. If you want to succeed in the e-commerce sector, it is crucial to unlock the difference between wholesale and retail. The approach and profit earning are two different poles in both businesses.

When it comes to choosing one business between wholesale and retail, it’s hard to justify the thing, but this post will help you.

To clarify the wholesale vs retail, we here add the term ‘business’ like business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B). This will enhance our understanding.

  • Wholesalers sell products to other businesses so they are B2B
  • Retailers sell to individual consumers so they are retailers

But this information is not enough to clarify the concept. We will introduce the detailed difference between these two business models. So let’s go ahead.

Wholesale vs Retail: Understand Every Point Here

Wholesale vs Retail Understand Every Point Here

Volume of Transaction

If we talk about transaction volume, the wholesaler handles large product quantities. However, their number of deals is few. They manage the warehouse and logistics. Also, they need to take care of storage space.

Retailers always handle small amounts of transactions but the number of deals is higher. Storage space is not a big issue for them. Per transaction, the value is low.


Wholesalers and retailers both buy products and sell them to make money which is known as a markup. This is added to the product cost to make a profit.

The cost of goods increases with every step in supply chain management which is known as keystone markup. This is a baseline for pricing strategies for retailers.

Range of Products

In the wholesale vs retail game, the range of products is different. Wholesalers have a high level of stock in bulk quantities but are limited to specific items. Their major focus is on supplying items in bulk. For instance, if a wholesaler is selling boys’ T-shirts, they will be of one type only. Also, it will involve shoes.

On the other hand, retailers provide a wide range of products of many varieties. It could be garments of different types. Their selling depends upon trends and customers’ demands.


Location is very crucial for retail and wholesale businesses but both have different needs. Retailers need to be in a highly accessible location that is easy for people to reach and spend time in. Shopping malls and high streets are preferred locations for retailers.

Wholesalers on the other hand give more priority to large storage space. They are less careful about people’s accessibility. Their main concern is storage space and easy shipping. So they prefer a location close to the highway, railway station or airport.

Process of Purchasing

Wholesalers follow a formal transaction process. It involves ongoing negotiations, contracts, and purchase orders. They give more emphasis on delivery schedules, prices, and payment terms.

Retailers’ purchasing process is straightforward. Customers can explore the products and buy the desired product by paying the price. It is equally applicable to online and retail stores. There is no long and formal purchasing process involved for the retailer.

Task and Expenses

Wholesale and retail both focus on different tasks. The wholesaler has no direct relationship with the consumer while the retailer has a direct relationship with consumers. There are fewer expenses to track and worry about in the case of inventory wholesalers.

Retailers have higher expenses related to branding, marketing, and selling. Moreover, managing inventory and cash flow are the other tasks involved. They can accomplish this with the adoption of the best POS system.

What Is Wholesale?

Any person or a company sells the products to various retailers or outlets for the further products sold. They sell the products in bulk with less handling time and low cost. They can easily take orders for smaller quantities because they provide large quantities of goods. Lets understand what a wholesale business is through example.

For instance, as a wholesaler you may buy 200 pairs of gloves at $3 per pair for the total of $600. Afterward, they can sell 100 pairs of gloves each to 10 different retailers at 4 times the original rate of $4 per pair. So at last they could earn a significant profit.

What Is Retail?

Retail is selling products directly to consumers and the company or a person selling it is known as a retailer. The products which they sell will always be at a higher price in order to earn profit.

For instance, a retailer in a retail business may purchase 100 pairs of socks for $5 per pair and then sell them for $10 each. It will allow them to make a profit even after storage expenses.

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Should I Do Wholesale or Retail?

Many people confuse finalizing between retail vs wholesale. Here we will cover the benefits and challenges involved in wholesale and retail.

Benefits and Challenges in Wholesale


  • No marketing headache: The long-term client partnership gives rise to less marketing like retail.
  • Repeat sales: Repeat sales give rise to a consistent revenue stream to the same retail buyers.
  • Business security: Wholesalers include business security due to repeat orders.


  • Supply chain management: Supply chain management needs a lot of time due to tasks like overseeing warehouse inventory and distributing wholesale products.
  • Non-payment risk: There is always a risk involved in non-payment from the client side.
  • Careful client selection: A wholesaler needs to be careful when choosing a client. Wrong client selection can give rise to financial problems.

Benefits and Challenges in Retail


  • Customer interaction: Retailers can establish a direct relationship with customers in the retail business. This can offer the chance to refine services and products.
  • Sales channel flexibility: Retailers can finish transactions in diverse settings with a highly efficient POS system.
  • Upselling opportunities: Individual selling gives upselling opportunities for maximum profit.
  • Get diverse needs: This business model has an ability to meet a broad spectrum of customer needs.


  • Heavy marketing needs: Retailers need to invest time and money in retail marketing tasks. In this way, they can acquire a position in a competitive market.
  • High customer turnout: Efforts are required to attract customers as compared to wholesalers.
  • Technological infrastructure: Retailers always take care of their technological infrastructure.
  • Multiple tasks: Sales management, tracking inventory, employee training, and competitors’ eyes are some multiple tasks in the retail business.

Types of Wholesalers

Wholesalers can be divided into the following types:

Sales and distribution for manufacturers: Here manufacturing companies act as wholesalers and sell their products to other retailers.

Merchant Wholesalers: They buy products in large volumes and then resell them in small quantities.

Discount wholesalers: They buy and sell discounted stock. Returning and refurbished products come from this category.

Broker: Brokers never buy or sell products. Their major role is to arrange a deal between manufacturers and retailers. Their source of earnings is fees and commissions.

Dropship Wholesalers: These kinds of wholesalers are like retail partners. When online retailers create a sale, dropship wholesalers make a product shipped to the end user.

Online Wholesalers: They sell products in bulk online instead of through traditional channels like trade shows.

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Types of Retainers

Let’s have a look at different types of retailers.

Online retailers: These are the businesses that sell online products through websites. Example: Amazon

Specialty stores: Their products sold are narrow and specific to the niche. For example health supplements.

Supermarket: When it comes to selling large varieties of foods and other products, it is a supermarket.

Department stores: These retail stores sell goods in various categories like homeware, shoes, and clothing.

Discount stores: The core focus is to apply the discounts on every product sold.

Convenience stores: These stores sell alcohol, food items, and household items.


The story of wholesale vs retail ends here. We hope you have a lucid understanding of the major differences between both seller types. Now you can make the right decision and get your business in the right direction.

Wholesale and retail businesses are two different ships in the marketing ocean. They have different approaches with one aim which is profit-making.