Retail businesses can be roughly divided in the following types:
The smallest types of retailers and also the by far most common type of store around the world. Convenience stores (also known as corner shops) have a relatively small selling area of usually way below 1,000 sq meters / 10,000 sq feet. They tend to offer a limited assortment of groceries and only very few non-food items. Convenience stores are thus designed for spontaneous and rather small shopping. While they also exist as standalone locations, most convenience stores are located within existing buildings where they occupy a floor (usually the ground floor). Many convenience stores also exist within gas stations.
Convenience stores are the most common type of store, but especially popular and common in Asia and urban areas of the United States.
Supermarkets represent medium-sized retail businesses. In Supermarkets (also known as grocery stores) you’ll find nearly all groceries with a huge variety of brands and types of foods. They are designed to supply their customers with all of their food-related needs. Non-food products are oftentimes also offered by many supermarket chains but in limited amounts and variety. Supermarket locations are usually standalone buildings with selling space of above 1,000 sq meters / 10,000 sq feet. Though smaller versions can also exist within buildings, especially in densely populated urban areas.
Supermarkets are especially popular and common all over the European Union and Europe in general.
Hypermarkets are the by far biggest retail stores. Like supermarket chains, hypermarket chains offer a full range of groceries with a huge variety of brands and types. Additionally, however, hypermarkets also offer their customers a somewhat big range of many non-food products. Hypermarkets are thus combining the grocery supplies of supermarket chains with a big assortment of non-food items otherwise only found in specialized shops. Hypermarkets are always standalone big-box stores with selling areas of usually well above 5,000 sq meters / 50,000 sq feet.
Hypermarkets are especially popular and common in the United States and some parts of Europe (especially France).
Online stores are virtual stores that sell their items through the internet. Some online stores may sometimes additionally also own stationary physical stores, but the primary selling place is located on the internet. When it comes to the range and variety of products, online stores are best comparable to hypermarkets, since they usually offer an equally wide or even wider assortment. Though specialized online stores exist as well.
Customers of online stores can order their desired products from the comfort of their homes (or any other place with access to the internet). The products themselves are stored in warehouses owned or rented by the respective online store and then delivered to the customer.
In the 21st Century, online stores have gradually increased in popularity. In many product categories (e.g. electronics) they now represent the standard store type in many regions of the world.