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Merchandise is a collective term for the material goods traded by traders . In the broadest sense, all kinds of goods such as raw materials , agricultural products , capital goods , consumer goods or commodities come into consideration as commercial objects . In the narrower sense - and predominantly - the term “commodity” is limited to the business object of a trading company . The industrial products and agricultural and horticultural products mentioned goods are sold commercially to articles .

Definition of terms

The characteristic of trading goods is that they are material economic goods (such as industrial products or agricultural products) that are usually resold as they were purchased, i.e. without any significant processing or processing. Even if the trading company does not undertake any value-adding production steps on the goods, the economic activity performed by trading companies in the transport industry based on the division of labor is "no less productive than any other economic activity that serves to satisfy needs". The value chain is only completed when the goods are added for consumption or for final use by trading companies. The trading company differs from the manufacturing company, which is defined by the combined use of the production factors dispositive and executing work, operating resources and materials, in its goods business: “The trading company does not use any materials; In their place are the trading goods. ”And while in the manufacturing company the entirety of the goods produced by it is referred to as the production program or product range , in the trading company the entirety of the goods or articles put together by it is called the assortment .


Mineral oil (sold in units of barrels ), wheat , but also pork bellies or PCs .

In a producing company is u. U. also merchandise in the product if, for example, in the production of cabinets, the raw material wood, the auxiliary material glue and possibly also an operating material such as machine oil is obtained from wholesalers. Merchandise is subject to free pricing at all stages of the value chain.

Typing of merchandise according to pricing

The entire range of the trading company is divided into various article categories ("range pyramid"). With regard to the low price policy, a distinction is made between key items, train items and special offers.

See also: Article group , material group and mixed calculation

Key item

The key items are the items whose price is perceived particularly sensitively by customers and which are used as a yardstick for assessing the entire range (irradiation effect). Studies have shown that consumers, on average, know the prices of 20 to 30 everyday items quite well. Key items are suitable for permanent use as low-cost items. Due to the sensitive price perception, however, consumers react to these articles in a particularly price-elastic manner , so that even small price differences compared to the competition are perceived positively or negatively. For these reasons, almost all trading companies offer these items at the lowest possible prices, some of which are even below the cost prices.

Key items form the subset of the mandatory items that does not contribute to cost recovery in the long term.

Pulling articles / profiling articles

Pulling or profiling articles (English loss leader ) are also articles that a trading company wants to use to differentiate itself from its direct competitors. However, they are more likely to serve to increase customer frequency in the short term or to promote the sale of complementary articles in the short term. This article category usually requires a wide range and is characterized by high quality and relatively low prices. Train items are often not calculated to cover costs.

If, for example, a company in the grocery trade wants to distinguish itself through the range of fruit and vegetables, it will offer a particularly large number of different types of fruit and vegetables, present them in an elaborate and appealing way (for example with water sprinkles and large mirrors) and at the same time focus on high quality and low prices pay attention to this product segment.

The aim of the train item strategy is to use this special offer to encourage customers to buy something that will trigger additional purchases. If the customers do not only buy fruit and vegetables, these train items are cross-subsidized by other item groups ( see also mixed calculation ).

Special offer / impulse items / seasonal items

These articles are characterized by a limited duration for which they can be purchased in the trading company. Depending on the type, the price calculation can be tight ( special offer ), normal or high (seasonal items ). Special offers at lower prices primarily serve a sales effect and less an acquisition effect for the entire range. Impulse articles are low-priced and psychotactically placed articles (for example in the reach zone of shelves or in the checkout area) that are impulsive, i.e. H. without prior planning upon entering the store. Seasonal items are particularly popular at certain times, such as fashion items or typical holiday items. In principle, they do not require a low price calculation due to the lack of price elasticity in demand or for reasons of prestige (gifts!). The so-called diffusion model is used to calculate or control sales, especially for this article , in which deviations from the planned sales volume are determined at an early stage using the Gaussian normal distribution .

Compensation item

Under compensation items refers to all items whose pricing will lead to a high, compensating contribution margin. As “balancing agents”, they are the complementary articles to key and pull-out articles with relatively low price elasticity and price transparency, i.e. articles for which customers are price-indifferent to the prices or for which they even react to price increases with increased demand.

Supplementary article

This article category includes articles that do not belong to the “normally expected” (mandatory) offer of the retail company. Similar to profiling articles, supplementary articles can also be used to differentiate from the competition. The decisive factor for these articles is a normal to above-average calculation to achieve profit margins that do justice to the higher product range that corresponds to them. Incidentally, high-priced items can trigger quality and / or prestige effects: If a high price is viewed as a partial social quality, it generates positive demand behavior.

A typical example of a supplement is clothing in grocery stores .

Mandatory article

Mandatory articles are all the articles that consumers expect in the respective type of business of the trading company. In traditional food retailing, these are, for example, food or in department stores clothing items . Apart from the key items, which form a subset of this group, these items represent the core range and contribute significantly to the company's results through normal to high price calculations. As far as the mandatory items are well-known branded goods or everyday goods, so-called corner items , the thresholds of willingness to buy can be influenced by even the smallest price differences.


See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Handel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Quoted from Rudolf Seyffert: Wirtschaftslehre des Handels , 5th ed., Ed. by Edmund Sundhoff, Opladen 1972, p. 13.
  2. Hans-Otto Schenk: Marktwirtschaftslehre des Handels , Wiesbaden 1991, p. 132.
  3. The terms category and article can be found in various combinations in connection with the groups described below.
  5. Ursula Hansen: Sales and procurement marketing of the retail trade , 2nd edition, Göttingen 1990, p. 334 ff.
  6. Hans-Otto Schenk: Psychology in Commerce , 2nd edition, Munich / Vienna 2007, p. 202 ff.