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Whether we like it or not, shopping is now a part of our lives and the only way to deal with it is by finding the best solution for consumers to shop and at the same time feel comfortable doing what they are doing. Various shopping concepts have been put up but it is the self-service concept that has certainly taken root in most places today. The self-service concept existing in supermarkets today was developed by the American entrepreneur Clarence Saunders in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1916. As a result, the growth of beautifully decorated stores, shopping centers, and malls that open every day for twenty four hours including weekends cannot go unnoticed. This essay will focus on the advantages of supermarkets to both the consumers and the owners.
To begin with, the first advantage of supermarkets to consumers is that they offer more for less in that they provide consumers with reasonably priced goods due to the fact that they get their supplies in bulk and hence can afford to offer discounts on quantities of goods bought. For instance some supermarkets put up special offers and sales like “buy one get one free.” Secondly, supermarkets provide consumers with a wide variety of products to choose from ranging from household products like foodstuffs and cleaning detergents, to other items like clothing, furniture, and electronics among others. This wide variety of products reduces the hustle of going from one shop to the next in search of different products. The consumer is also able to choose the product he/she wants from a large range or even try a new product. Thirdly, the consumer is allowed their own time in deciding what to buy as they not pushed to leave the premises this gives the shopper some form of freedom of selection when shopping. Shopping is also quick and easy since the buyers only come in with a shopping list to pick what they need. In addition, the adequate parking space makes shopping easy and a more pleasing activity. Supermarkets allow consumers to pay for their products by cheque, credit cards or debit cards and even vouchers thus in case of a shortage of liquid cash the customer can still find a way to pay for his/her commodities. Another merit is that customers can return a product to the supermarket in case it turns out to be faulty when it was bought, all the buyer needs to do is produce the receipt obtained at the time of purchase and once the management confirms everything, a new product can be handed over to the buyer or the money returned. One is also guaranteed of obtaining safe and hygienic products since all supermarkets have to operate with high standards of cleanliness especially when dealing foodstuffs.
To the owners of these large stores, the first merit is that supermarkets help the owners to save on labour cost due to the fact that it is a self-service system. Secondly, due to the variety of products being sold at much reasonable prices, these stores are able to register a great turnover. Operation costs are also reduced since labour is reduced and also these stores are able to buy most of their supplies in bulk which allows them to obtain quantity discounts on the stock. Additionally, there is a high degree of efficiency within the store which is brought about by the elimination of service. Supermarkets manage to enjoy the benefits of large scale operations. The problem of bad debt generated from ordinary shops can be avoided here since there is no direct contact between the owner and the buyer. The establishment of security cameras and magnetic screening devices has enabled the owners to reduce on labour and increase on efficiency in that monitoring of the movement of the customers is made much easier.
In conclusion, today, the most basic requirements of a common household can be obtained from a supermarket. It is therefore our role as buyers and sellers to ensure that this place continues to get better with each passing day since in the end everyone is dependent on it for their livelihood and as the adage goes; you never bite the hand that feeds you.