Difference between Hypermarket, Supermarket, & Departmental Store

hypermarket vs supermarket

If you have been curious about the difference between hypermarket, supermarket, and departmental store, then you have landed on the right page. There are different kinds of stores selling items, especially essential commodities. All of them are known by different names. No matter where you are, you will notice various kinds of shops with various names selling more or less the same goods. While some are known as departmental stores, others are called supermarkets. And yes, there are also hypermarkets.

Whether you are reading this just out of curiosity or want to penetrate this business genre, you need to know the differences between them. To get a clear idea, kindly read on. You need to know how they function, the features of each type of store, etc. so that you can make the right decision. 

This will also help you understand the target audience for each kind of store and how they operate. When you are investing your money, you need to be very aware of how you can gain traction and profits from these business types. The more you research, the better it is for you.


Departmental store

It is a large store that sells goods of various kinds of belongings to different departments. It is basically a retail establishment that provides a huge number of consumer goods that belong to different product categories. Departmental stores generally have many subsites that house a wide array of products. Some of the items they sell are home appliances, electronics, stationery items, clothing items, to name a few. 

You will be able to sell all of them under one roof. They are found in different divisions of the same store. It is basically a one-stop solution for all kinds of requirements. These kinds of stores came into notice and flourished in the 19th century following the industrial revolution. The first departmental store was launched in London in 1796. It is known by the name Howell & Co.


Notably, a supermarket is a large self-service retail market that sells foods, household goods, etc. If you know what a grocery store is, then you might want to call it the larger version of the same. They have more items and an extensive variety of common items that a grocery store also offers. The items are placed in aisles so that it is easier for customers to pick them up and throw them into their shopping cart. 

The aisles contain meat, packaged food, dairy products, fruits and veggies, bread and cakes, etc. You will also find other non-food items such as kitchen belongings, pharmacy products, et al. Supermarkets are generally large and are situated in a busy urban area. They are generally convenient to reach. They are open for long hours of the day. Some even remain open for the entire day. Supermarkets belong to corporate chains that have several stores across cities. A few examples of supermarkets are Walmart, Costo, etc.


A hypermarket is basically a combination of a departmental store and a supermarket. It was invented much later in the year 1931. The first one in the US is the Fred Myer chain. However, the term came into existence at a later date. A hypermarket is generally referred to as the stores that have the facilities of a departmental store as well as a supermarket.

They have everything for customers, such as grocery items, furniture, electronics, etc.

They have become quite common these days and can be seen in rural areas as well apart from busy, urban regions. They are the go-to places for daily necessities. Some of the hypermarkets are large enough to house cafes, parlors, spas, etc. People prefer to visit them as they can eat at a restaurant, but necessary items, and even get treatments done – all under one roof.

Differences between a departmental store and a supermarket

Here are the major differences between a departmental store and a supermarket.

When it comes to departmental stores, they are big retails shops that sell various kinds of items belonging to different departments. On the contrary, a supermarket is a big self-service retail market that offers food items and household goods. Even though supermarkets are huge stores, they are usually smaller than departmental shops. So departmental stores are the biggest of them all. Departmental stores are generally built on multiple floors. Supermarkets are limited to a single floor generally.

Moreover, one major difference is that departmental stores sell clothing gear, fashion jewelry, hardware, etc. but a supermarket doesn’t. Unlike supermarkets, departmental stores are not owned by big corporate chains. You need to do your research on this before you put your money into any one of them.

Differences between a Supermarket and a Hypermarket

As told earlier, a supermarket is a huge store but not as big as a hypermarket. You have to understand the diversity of hypermarkets as they offer a larger number of FMCG goods when compared to a supermarket.

Notably, a supermarket has a warm and welcoming feel that attracts customers to make purchases. It is a go-to place for most people who are looking for daily goods. On the other hand, a hypermarket looks like a warehouse and doesn’t have that glamor to it. A supermarket decoration is obviously better than a hypermarket. If you look around, you will see plenty of supermarkets and hypermarkets around you. Taking a walk around both will help you understand the differences better.

If a customer is looking for customer-oriented services, he or she should visit a supermarket because of the personal touch. This is missing in the case of a Hypermarket. Another prominent distinguishing factor is that prices of goods at a Hypermarket are generally lower than in Supermarkets.

During the festive season, supermarkets are decorated and people are often entertained with activities and fun games. These kinds of things are generally not seen in a Hypermarket. You will get warmth and personal touch at supermarkets.

Generally, strategies of supermarkets consist of frills that attract customers. Comparatively, hypermarkets have fewer frills and they won’t push you to spend those extra few bucks, unlike a supermarket.

Hypermarkets threaten other small businesses as they offer the goods at a much lower price. The model is not supported by many economists and business entrepreneurs. Hypermarket models encourage more savings for customers.

Difference Amongst Departmental Store, Supermarket, and Hypermarket

Now that we have explained the differences between supermarket and hypermarket, we would be explaining the differences amongst Departmental stores, supermarkets, and hypermarkets.

A lot of times, the inventory of the departmental stores depends on demand. However, for the other two, goods come in bulk. They are always overstocked to cater to the needs of customers. Departmental stores are not as big as supermarkets or hypermarkets. Departmental stores do not store appliances, electronics, etc. Hypermarkets are massive while supermarkets are big. Hypermarkets are way huger than departmental stores. 

Departmental stores are not a part of large chains, unlike supermarkets and hypermarkets. Profit margins in the latter two are lower as they serve in volume. Departmental stores are independent and have higher prices since they deal with lower volume. 

All of them can be differentiated in terms of scale, space, customer satisfaction, decoration, types of goods, prices, etc. So before you put in your money in any one of them, make sure you know about the profit margins, how they operate, etc. You also need to consider the available capital for the same. 

Application of eCommerce

In today’s world, you need to know the eCommerce game before stepping into any kind of business. Knowing the eCommerce world will help you gain traction from it. It will also provide your business with an extra edge when compared to its immediate competitors. This is more essential amidst the current environment when people are mostly ordering online.

It is mandatory to have a social media presence these days as well. This will help you create the buzz as well. Customers will be aware of the ongoing sale, offers, discounts, new store launches, etc. The presence of an e-Commerce site is also essential. It will help you gain more customers in less time.

The perfect mix of both will help you attract more customers and turn potential ones into real customers. Proper social media presence will attract more customers to your brick and mortar store as they will be updated with proper information, offers, etc.

In the very beginning, you can start by setting up an online site with Shiprocket Social. It is an easy platform to set up a website without any hassle. You can start listing your products almost immediately. There are easy payment options available as well.

Tips to deliver the items at your customer’s doorstep

With the hectic life people leading these days, most are looking for doorstep delivery. If you provide this service, you will obviously attract more customers. For this, you need to partner with a hyperlocal marketplace to deliver your items. You can opt for other feasible options too.


Always note that a good business runs on an advertisement, good service, quality, logistics, etc. Try to form a reputation as soon as you enter the market. You should always prioritize customer satisfaction.

Before you start any kind of store, make sure you know what the residents in the area are looking for. Studying the demand, demographics, etc. will help you make the right decision.