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.
The article (published in 2012) examines an unexplored area of consumer research-the effect of accidental interpersonal touch (AIT) from a stranger on consumer evaluations and shopping times. The research presents a field experiment in a retail setting. This study shows that men and women who have been touched by another consumer when examining products report more negative brand evaluations, negative product beliefs, less willingness to pay, and spend less time in-store than their control (no-touch) counterparts. The findings indicate that the AIT effect is especially negative for touch from a male stranger for both men (same-sex touch) and women (opposite-sex touch). Directions are provided for future study that highlight potential moderators and process explanations underlying the AIT effect.
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.
Fairs and markets were established to facilitate the exchange of goods and services. People would shop for goods at a weekly market in nearby towns.
The modern phenomenon of shopping is closely linked to the emergence of the consumer society in the 18th century. Over the course of the two centuries from 1600 on wards, the purchasing power of the average Englishman steadily rose. Sugar consumption doubled in the first half of the 18th century and the availability of a wide range of luxury goods, including tea, cotton and tobacco saw a sustained increase.
Marketplaces dating back to the Middle Ages, expanded as shopping centres, such as the New Exchange, opened in 1609 by Robert Cecil in the Strand. Shops started to become important as places for Londoners to meet and socialise and became popular destinations alongside the theatre. Restoration London also saw the growth of luxury buildings as advertisements for social position with speculative architects like Nicholas Barbon and Lionel Cranfield.
Much pamphleteering of the time was devoted to justifying conspicuous consumption and private vice for luxury goods for the greater public good. This then scandalous line of thought caused great controversy with the publication of Bernard Mandeville's influential work Fable of the Bees in 1714, in which he argued that a country's prosperity ultimately lay in the self-interest of the consumer.
These trends were vastly accelerated in the 18th century, as rising prosperity and social mobility increased the number of people with disposable income for consumption. Important shifts included the marketing of goods for individuals as opposed to items for the household, and the new status of goods as status symbols, related to changes in fashion and desired for aesthetic appeal, as opposed to just their utility. The pottery inventor and entrepreneur, Josiah Wedgewood, pioneered the use of marketing techniques to influence and manipulate the direction of the prevailing tastes.
As the century wore on a tremendous variety of goods and manufactures were steadily made available for the urban middle and upper classes. This growth in consumption led to the rise of 'shopping' - a proliferation of retail shops selling particular goods and the acceptance of shopping as a cultural activity in its own right. Specific streets and districts became devoted to retail, including the Strand and Picadilly in London.
The first display windows in shops were installed in the late 18th century in London. Retailer Francis Place was one of the first to experiment with this new retailing method at his tailoring establishment in Charing Cross, where he fitted the shop-front with large plateglass windows. Although this was condemned by many, he defended his practice in his memoirs, claiming that he:
sold from the window more goods...than paid journeymen's wages and the expenses of housekeeping.
Retailers designed attractive shop fronts to entice patronage, using bright lights, advertisements and attractively arranged goods. The goods on offer were in a constant state of change, due to the frenetic change in fashions. A foreign visitor thought that London was "A world of gold and silver plate, then pearls and gems shedding their dazzling lustre, home manufactures of the most exquisite taste, an ocean of rings, watches, chains, bracelets, perfumes, ready-dresses, ribbons, lace, bonnets, and fruits from all the zones of the habitable world".
The next stage in shopping was the transition from 'single-function' shops selling one type of good, to the department store where a large variety of foods were sold, ordered by department. As economic growth, fueled by the Industrial Revolution at the turn of the 19th-century, steadily expand, the affluent bourgeois middle-class grew in size and wealth. This urbanized social group was the catalyst for the emergence of the retail revolution of the period. The first reliably dated department store to be established, was Harding, Howell & Co, which opened in 1796 on Pall Mall, London.
|Harding, Howell & Co|
This venture was described as being a public retail establishment offering a wide range of consumer goods in different departments. This pioneering shop was closed down in 1820 when the business partnership was dissolved. Department stores were established on a large scale from the 1840s and 50s, in France, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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.
Typical examples include shopping malls, town squares, flea markets and bazaars.
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.
Other stores such as big-box stores, hypermarkets, convenience stores, department stores, general stores, dollar stores sell a wider variety of products not horizontally related to each other.
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.