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A retailer or shop is a business that presents a selection of goods or services and offers to sell them to customers for money or other goods. Shopping is an activity in which a customer browses the available goods or services presented by one or more retailers with the intent to purchase a suitable selection of them. In some contexts it may be considered a leisure activity as well as an economic one.
The shopping experience can range from delightful to terrible, based on a variety of factors including how the customer is treated, convenience, the type of goods being purchased, and mood.
The shopping experience can also be influenced by other shoppers. For example, research from a field experiment found that male and female shoppers who were accidentally touched from behind by other shoppers left a store earlier than people who had not been touched and evaluated brands more negatively, resulting in the Accidental Interpersonal Touch effect.
- 1 History
- 2 Shopping venues
- 3 Shopping Activity
- 4 Pricing and negotiation
- 5 See also
- 6 References
Shopping in ancient societies
In ancient Greece, the agora served as a marketplace where merchants kept stalls or shops to sell their goods. Ancient Rome utilized a similar marketplace known as the forum. For example, there was Trajan's Market with tabernae that served as retailing units. Shopping lists are known to have been used by Romans, as one was discovered near Hadrian's wall dated back to 75–125 CE written for a soldier.
Shopping in modern times
Fairs and markets have a long history that started when humans felt the desire to exchange goods and services. People would shop for goods at a weekly market in nearby towns. Then shops began to be permanently established. Shops were specialized, e.g. a bakery, a butchery, a grocer. Then supermarkets appeared.
There have been three major phases in the shopping / trading world in the 20th century. In a way, these link up into a full circle.
- Customers would be served by the shopkeeper, who would retrieve all the goods on their shopping list. Shops would often deliver the goods to the customers' homes.
- Customers have to select goods, retrieve them off the shelves using self-service, and even pack their own goods. Customers deliver their own goods.
- Customers select goods via the Internet. The goods are delivered to their homes as in phase one.
A larger commercial zone can be found in many cities, more formally called a central business district, but more commonly called "downtown" in the United States, or in Arab cities, souks. Shopping hubs, or shopping centers, are collections of stores; that is a grouping of several businesses.
Stores are divided into multiple categories of stores which sell a selected set of goods or services. Usually they are tiered by target demographics based on the disposable income of the shopper. They can be tiered from cheap to pricey.
Some shops sell secondhand goods. Often the public can also sell goods to such shops. In other cases, especially in the case of a nonprofit shops, the public donates goods to these shops, commonly known as thrift stores in the United States or charity shops in the United Kingdom. In give-away shops goods can be taken for free. In antique shops, the public can find goods that are older and harder to find. Sometimes people are broke and borrow money from a pawn shop using an item of value as collateral. College students are known to resell books back though college textbook bookstores. Old used items are often distributed though surplus stores.
Many shops are part of a shopping center that carry the same trademark (company name) and logo using the same branding, same presentation, and sell the same products but in different locations. The shops may be owned by one company, or there may be a franchising company that has franchising agreements with the shop owners often found in relation to restaurant chains.
Various types of retail stores that specialize in the selling of goods related to a theme include bookstores, boutiques, candy shops, liquor stores, gift shops, hardware stores, hobby stores, pet stores, pharmacies, sex shops and supermarkets.
Home mail delivery systems and modern technology (such as television, telephones, and the Internet), in combination with electronic commerce and business-to-consumer electronic commerce systems, allow consumers to shop from home. There are three main types of home shopping: mail or telephone ordering from catalogs; telephone ordering in response to advertisements in print and electronic media (such as periodicals, TV and radio); and online shopping. Online shopping has completely redefined the way people make their buying decisions; the Internet provides access to a lot of information about a particular product, which can be looked at, evaluated, and comparison-priced at any given time. Online shopping allows the buyer to save the time and expense, which would have been spent traveling to the store or mall.
Corner stores are common in the United States, and are often called bodegas in Spanish speaking communities. Sometimes peddlers and ice cream trucks pass through neighborhoods offering goods and services. Also, garage sales are a common form of second hand resale.
The party plan is a method of marketing products by hosting a social event, using the event to display and demonstrate the product or products to those gathered, and then to take orders for the products before the gathering ends.
Most business have shopping hours, but others are open around the clock. Some nations regulate the operation of businesses for religious reasons and do not allow shopping on particular days or dates. These are known as blue laws.
Shopping frenzies are periods of time where a burst of spending occurs, typically near holidays in the United States, with Christmas shopping being the biggest shopping spending season, starting as early as October and continuing until after Christmas.
Some religions regard such spending seasons as being against their faith and dismiss the practice. Many contest the over-commercialization and the response by stores that downplay the shopping season often cited in the War on Christmas.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) also highlights the importance of back-to-school shopping for retailers which comes second behind holiday shopping, when buyers often buy clothing and school supplies for their children. In 2006, Americans spend over $17 billion on their children, according to a NRF survey.
Pricing and negotiation
The pricing technique used by most retailers is cost-plus pricing. This involves adding a markup amount (or percentage) to the retailers' cost. Another common technique is manufacturers suggested list pricing. This simply involves charging the amount suggested by the manufacturer and usually printed on the product by the manufacturer.
In Western countries, retail prices are often called psychological prices or odd prices: a little less than a round number, e.g. $6.95. In Chinese societies, prices are generally either a round number or sometimes some lucky number. This creates price points.
Often, prices are fixed and price discrimination can lead to a bargaining situation often called haggling, a negotiation about the price. Economists see this as determining how the transaction's total economic surplus will be divided between consumers and producers. Neither party has a clear advantage because the threat of no sale exists, in which case the surplus would vanish for both.
When shopping online, it can be more difficult to negotiate price given that you are not directly interacting with a sales person. Some consumers use price comparison websites to find the best price and/or to make a decision about who or where to buy from to save money.
"Window shopping" is a term referring to the browsing of goods by a consumer with no intent to purchase, either as a recreational activity or to plan a later purchase.  Recently, window shopping has become an artistic experience. Today's display windows are being transformed into visually intriguing scenes and pieces of fashion art. On the other hand, showrooming, the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store without purchasing it, but then shopping online to find a lower price for the same item, has become an increasingly prevalent problem for traditional retailers as a result of online competitors, so much so that some have begun to take measures to combat it.
- Personal shopping system
- Price Comparison Service (Internet Shopping)
- Arnold, Mark J.; Kristy E. Reynolds, Nicole Ponderc, Jason E. Lueg (August 2005). "Customer delight in a retail context: investigating delightful and terrible shopping experiences". Journal of Business Research 58 (8): 1132–1145. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2004.01.006. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- Martin, Brett A. S. (2012), "A Stranger’s Touch: Effects of Accidental Interpersonal Touch on Consumer Evaluations and Shopping Time", Journal of Consumer Research, 39 (June), 174-184.
- Popcorn, Faith and Hyperion, Lys Marigold (2000) EVEolution The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women New York. (ISBN 0-79)
- "Roman shopping list deciphered". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2001-03-05. Archived from the original on 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2007-09-23.
- Kavilanz, Parija B. (2007-08-09). "Back-to-school sales' mixed grades". CNNMoney.com (CNN). Retrieved 2008-01-27.
- . Urban Dictionary http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=window%20shopping. Retrieved 18 July 2013. Missing or empty
- Bhasin, Kim (2013-03-25). "Store Charges Customers $5 'Just Looking' Fee To Combat Showrooming". Business Insider.
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