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Shopping is the examining of goods or services from retailers with the intent to purchase at that time. Shopping is an activity of selection and/or purchase. In some contexts it is considered a leisure activity as well as an economic one.
Shopping in ancient societies
In ancient Rome, there was Trajan's Market with tabernae that served as retailing units. Shopping lists are known to be used by Romans as one was discovered by Hadrian's wall dated back to 75–125 AD and written for a soldier. .
To many, shopping is considered a recreational and diversional activity in which one visits a variety of stores with a premeditated intent to purchase a product.
"Window shopping" is an activity that shoppers engage in by browsing shops with no intent to purchase, possibly just to pass the time between other activities, or to plan a later purchase.
To some, shopping is a task of inconvenience and vexation. Shoppers sometimes go though great lengths to wait in long lines to buy popular products as typically observed with early adopter shoppers and holiday shoppers.
A larger commercial zone can be found in many cities, called downtown 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 USA or charity shops in the UK. 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, pharmacys, sex shops and supermarkets.
History of modern shopping
Fairs and markets have a long history that started when man felt the need to exchange goods. 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 last 100 years. In a way, these link up into a full circle.
1. Customers would be served by the shopkeeper, who would retrieve all the good on their shopping list. Shops would often deliver the goods to the customers' homes.
2. Customers have to select goods, retrieve them off the shelves using self service, and even pack their own goods. Customers deliver their own goods.
3. Customers select goods via the internet. The goods are delivered to their homes as in phase one.
Shopping from home
- Home shopping
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.
- Neighborhood shopping
- Party shopping
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.
Some business have shopping hours but other 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.
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 question the over-commercialization and the response by stores that downplay the shopping season often cited in the Christmas controversy or 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.
- Personal shopping system
- Price Comparison Service (Internet Shopping)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shopping.|
- "Roman shopping list deciphered". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2001-03-05. Archived from the original on 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2007-09-23.
- Popcorn, Faith and Hyperion, Lys Marigold (2000) EVEolution The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women New York. (ISBN 0-7868-6523-7)
- Kavilanz, Parija B. (2007-08-09). "Back-to-school sales' mixed grades". CNNMoney.com. CNN. Retrieved 2008-01-27.