Retail Categories: Product Offerings

Under this classification, retailers are divided based on the width (i.e., number of different product lines) and depth (i.e., number of different products within a product line) of the products they carry.

General Merchandisers

These retailers carry a wide range of product categories (i.e., broad width), though the number of different items within a particular product line is generally limited (i.e., shallow depth).

Multiple Lines Specialty Merchandisers

Retailers classified in this category stock a limited number of product lines (i.e., narrow width).  However, within the categories they handle, they often offer a greater selection (i.e., extended depth) than is offered by general merchandisers. For example, a consumer electronics retailer, such as Best Buy, would fall into this category.

Single Line Specialty Merchandisers

Some retailers limit their offerings to just one product line (i.e., very narrow width), and sometimes only one product (i.e., very shallow depth). This can be seen online where a relatively small website may sell a single product, such as computer gaming software. Another example may be a small jewelry store that only handles watches.