Itinerant retailers are traders who do not have a standard place of business from which they can operate. They keep moving with their shops from one location to another, in search of consumers.
- These small traders operate with limited resources;
- They deal in customer products of day to day use like toiletry products, fruits and vegetables, and similar ones;
- The importance of such traders is on presenting more customer service by making the goods available at the very doorstep of the consumers; and
- Because they do not have a fixed business institution to work from, these retailers have to keep their limited list of merchandise either at home or at any other place. Few of the usual types of itinerant retailers which operate in India are shown below:
- Peddlers and Hawkers: Peddlers and hawkers are most likely amongst the oldest type of retailers in the market place and they have not lost their utility even during modern times. They are small producers or petty traders who carry the products on a bicycle, a hand cart, a cycle-rickshaw or on their heads, and move around a location to sell their products at the doorstep of the consumers. They normally deal in non standardized and low-cost products such as toys, vegetables and fruits, fabrics, carpets, snacks and ice creams, etc. One main merit of this type of retailing is the facility of convenient service to the customers. But, people should be careful in dealing with them, as the goods they sell are not always reliable in terms of quality and price.
- Market Traders: They are the small retailers who open their shops at various places on fixed days or dates, such as every Saturday or alternate Saturdays, and similarly. Market traders may deal in one particular line of products, like fabrics or ready-made garments, toys, or crockery, or alternatively, they can be general merchants. They are mainly catering to lower-income group of consumers and deal in low-cost consumer products which are of daily use.
- Street Traders (Pavement Vendors): These traders are the small retailers who are usually found at locations where large floating population gathers, for example, near railway stations and bus stands, and sell customer products of common use, like stationery items, eatables, readymade garments, newspapers and magazines. They differ from market traders in the sense that they do not switch their location of business so frequently.
- Cheap Jacks: These are petty retailers who own independent temporary shops in a business location. They keep changing their business from one place to another, depending upon the potential of that place. But still the change of location is not so frequent like hawkers or market traders. They also deal in consumer products and provide service to customers in terms of making the item available where ever required.