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.
Woman shopping at a shopping mall in the United States
The shopping experience can range from “delightful” to “terrible,” based on a variety of factors including how the customer is treated, convenience, 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.
“Window shopping” is browsing with no intent to purchase, either as a recreational activity or to plan a later purchase.
According to a 2000 report, in New York women purchase 80% of all consumer goods and influence 80% of health-care decisions.
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.
A larger commercial zone can be found in many cities, called downtown in the USA or in Arab cities, souks. Shopping hubs, or shopping centers, are collections of stores; that is a grouping of several businesses.
Window shopping in Toronto in 1937
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 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, 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.