Key Difference: Supermarkets are large self-service grocery stores that offer customers a variety of foods and household supplies. The merchandise is organized into an organized aisle format, where each aisle is numbered or labeled and has only similar goods placed together. Hypermarkets are large retail establishments that are a combination of supermarket and department stores. They are considered as a one-stop shop for all of the customer’s needs. Hypermarkets basically have all the merchandise that could be required by a person on a daily basis.
Supermarkets and hypermarkets are two different types of shopping stores that are quite similar in nature. There is only a fine line that differentiates between the two, which can often become confusing for many people. Many hypermarkets are often mistaken for supermarkets and vice-versa. Supermarkets are grocery stores that also provide household items, while hypermarkets are a combination of grocery stores, department stores and discount stores.
Supermarkets are large self-service grocery stores that offer customers a variety of foods and household supplies. The merchandise is organized into an organized aisle format, where each aisle is numbered or labeled and has only similar goods placed together. The supermarket houses fresh foods, poultry as well as canned and boxed goods. Supermarkets are quite larger compared to traditional grocery stores, where people are available behind the counter to provide the consumer with goods and the consumer stands in front of the counter asking for the goods. However, supermarkets are smaller than hypermarkets or big-box markets, which are basically supermarkets combined with departmental stores.
Supermarkets have a special format where it allows consumers to pass through aisles using shopping carts or baskets and pick up whatever they require. Although, the early supermarkets did not house fresh grocery or meat, modern supermarkets have meats, poultry, bread, dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition to fresh and canned food, supermarkets also keep household products such as cleaning supplies, baby goods, pet needs, medicine, kitchen appliances, crockery, etc. Supermarkets offer low prices and many deals or discounts on their products to attract consumers. Some even operate on negative profit margins sometimes to bring in customers. Supermarkets usually receive goods and merchandise in bulk from either manufacturers or large distributors in order to avail economies of scale. The profit margin is usually very small and the discounts are forwarded to the customers. Supermarkets may also be part of a huge chain system and may be closer to other supermarkets. Supermarkets closer together can save even more on costs by sharing distributors and slashing their transportation costs. Supermarkets are usually one-level brick and mortar store but may also include two floors depending on the amount of supplies that are kept.
The concept of an inexpensive food market that relies on discounts based on economies of scale was developed by Vincent Astor, who founded the Astor Market in 1915 but failed to be able to make a successful venture and shuttered it in 1917. The first self-service grocery store concept was developed by entrepreneur Clarence Saunders, who founded the Piggly Wiggly stores in 1916. The store become a financial success and become a franchise. Slowly, the concept started becoming popular all over the world, with many developed countries establishing their own self-service grocery stores. In the developing countries, self-service grocery stores are a recent phenomenon and have received only gained popularity in the last decade or so. Specifically in these countries, many supermarkets also offer loose or open merchandise similar to old grocery stores. People can measure our grains, rice and other staple products and buy it by weight. Supermarkets have also started offering ready-to-eat foods as a way to provide the customer to shop as well as eat at the same time. Some supermarkets may also have banks, ATMs, coffee bar, juice bar and anything else that may attract customers.
Hypermarkets are large retail establishments that are a combination of supermarket and department stores. They are considered as a one-stop shop for all of the customer’s needs. Hypermarkets basically have all the merchandise that could be required by a person on a daily basis such as clothes, grocery, medicine, etc. under one roof. The purpose of the hypermarket is to allow the consumers to purchase all the goods they would need under the same roof, eliminating having to visit various different stores to purchase them. Hypermarkets also offer products such as appliances, hardware, beauty supplies, photos, crockery, electronics, etc. They are also known as superstores. Hypermarkets may also have a specialty store layout, in which they also include specialty stores such as salons, banks, eye glass stores, etc. It is not necessary for all the hypermarkets to have them, but some do.
Hypermarkets have a high-volume, low sales margin model, where customers are given discounted prices in hopes that they will draw in the more crowds. Hypermarkets follow a similar layout to supermarkets, where people are allowed to walk through aisles of merchandise with carts or baskets and select any merchandise they wish. The layout is slightly different, the specialty stores are commonly placed either in the front of the back, while the grocery section is placed towards the front side of the building. The grocery section could also take up the whole lower floor, with other departments taking up additional floors above. Clothing and other departments are usually separated from the grocery department. Check-out counters are placed towards the side, where both the department could easily access the counters. If it is a multi-floor building, the checkout counters could be divided among the different floors and departments. The parking lot is usually in a space surrounding the building or below the building. Hypermarkets require large spaces and often pick areas in suburban or out-of-town locations that require cars for access.
The concept of opening a one-stop shopping center was developed by Meijer in 1934; however, the stores did not open until the 1960s. It included a grocery store along with a home products store, drugstore, off-street parking, gas station and clothing store. The first Meijer store was opened in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1962, named ‘Thrifty Acres’. It claimed to have the ‘Supercenter’ layout. This was followed by European company, Carrefour opening its own hypermarket in 1963 at Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, France. The format become very popular in the during the late 1980s, with the early 1990s bring three major hypermarkets, Wal-Mart Supercenter, Super Kmart and Target. The hypermarket layouts are recently becoming quite popular in the developing countries. However, some countries are wary of the fast spreading of the hypermarkets due to these stores providing everything under one roof at a discounted price. It is threatening the existence of local businesses and stores that cannot compete with the prices offered by the hypermarkets. According to many analysts, hypermarkets are now being threatened by online shopping.
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