Itinerant means traveling from place to place. It is a form of a retail organization in which the seller has no fixed shop or locality. He sells his goods to the buyer through ferrying from place to place it is comprised hawkers as well as the street dealers. Their business is characterized by moving their shops around, sometimes even on a daily basis.
Itinerant retailers have no fixed place of business. They move from place to place for selling their goods to the consumers. Their sale is to the final consumers of the goods, so they are retailers, even if they do not have a standard place of business. Itinerant sell in small quantities. They invest a very small amount of capital.
Itinerant Traders may be of four types:
- Peddlers and Hawkers:
Hawkers and peddlers are probably the oldest kinds of retailers in the world. Peddlers are those retailers who carry goods in hand carts to sell them at the doors of consumers. To hawk means to sell goods in the streets or by knocking on people’s doors. Generally, hawkers carry goods on their heads. They set up in local markets and street corners etc. So, the price charged by hawkers is lower than the market price. They constantly move around to reach the maximum number of customers.
- Cheap Jacks
They have an independent shop. But, the shop is not a permanent one. If the business in one place is not profitable, cheap jacks will choose some other location. But cheap jacks are always on the look for better business, markets with more potential.
- Market traders
Market days vary from place to place, being conducted on a weekly or monthly basis. They open their shops at different places, on different days whenever the market is open. The main customers of such retail stores tend to be from lower-income groups or people buying in bulk. For example, ‘Sunday Market’ in Pondicherry is very popular among shoppers.
- Street traders
Aiming at the floating population, they choose bus stops, railway stations, government, and commercial offices and educational institutions to do business. They sell products of daily use that the customers in that region would require. They deal with one kind of goods at a time that is in high demand.
Common features of such itinerant traders are as follows –
- The scale of operations is small and capital is also limited.
- They usually deal in day to day products and perishable items of daily use like fruits, vegetables, milk, toiletries, etc.
- Such retailers increase the convenience to customers by making products available practically at the doorsteps of the consumer.
- Since they have to shift their place of business with regularity, they keep limited inventory for logistical purposes.