1. Would it be easier and cheaper if consumers could purchase their goods directly from the manufacturer? If you believe that the answer to this is “no,” then you believe that retail businesses add value. Consider what you know about Wal-Mart. How does Wal-Mart add value, and fit into the supply chain as described in your text? Locate some statistics about Wal-Mart to support your answers, and include them. For instance, how many different items does the typical Wal-Mart carry in-store?
2. Limited-assortment supermarkets and extreme-value discount stores are described in Chapter 2 of your text. In your opinion, why are retailers in the limited-assortment supermarket and extreme-value discount store sectors growing so rapidly? From which retailers are they getting these additional sales? Do you think that these categories will continue to experience strong growth in the next 5 years?
3. Consumers can purchase products from brick-and-mortar stores, catalog call centers, and from retail websites. List at least 2 advantages and disadvantages to purchasing from each of these 3 channels.
4. Should a multichannel retailer offer the same assortment of merchandise for sale, at the same price, on its website and in its stores? Why or why not?
5. Consider the steps in the consumer buying process . Describe how you and your family used this process to select your college. How many schools did you consider? How much time did you invest in this purchase decision? When you were deciding on which college to attend, what objective and subjective criteria did you use in the alternative evaluation portion of the consumer buying process?