Shopping is an activity in which a customer browses the available goods or services presented by one or more retailers with the potential intent to purchase a suitable selection of them. A typology of shopper types has been developed by scholars which identifies one group of shoppers as recreational shoppers, that is, those who enjoy shopping and view it as a leisure activity.
Online shopping has become a major disruptor in the retail industry as consumers can now search for product information and place product orders across different regions. Online retailers deliver their products directly to the consumers’ home, offices or wherever they want. The B2C process has made it easy for consumers to select any product online from a retailer’s website and to have it delivered relatively quickly. Using online shopping methods, consumers do not need to consume energy by physically visiting physical stores. This way they save time and the cost of travelling. A retailer or a shop is a business that presents a selection of goods and offers to trade or sell them to customers for money or other goods.
Shoppers’ shopping experiences may vary. They are based on a variety of factors including how the customer is treated, convenience, the type of goods being purchased, and mood.
According to a 2000 report, in New York State, women purchase 80% of all consumer goods.
In antiquity, marketplaces and fairs were established to facilitate the exchange of goods and services. People would shop for goods at a regular market in nearby towns. However, the transient nature of stalls and stall-holders meant the consumers needed to make careful inspection of goods prior to purchase. 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. Rome had two forums; the Forum Romanum and Trajan’s Forum. Trajan’s Market at Trajan’s forum, built around 100-110CE, was a vast expanse, comprising multiple buildings with tabernae that served as retail shops, situated on four levels. The Roman forum was arguably the earliest example of a permanent retail shopfront.
Shopping lists are known to have been used by Romans. One such list was discovered near Hadrian’s wall dated back to 75–125 CE and written for a soldier.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the British engaged in minimal shopping in the early Middle Ages. Instead, they provided for their basic needs through subsistence farming practices and a system of localised personal exchanges. However, by the late Middle Ages, consumers turned to markets for the purchase of fresh produce, meat and fish and the periodic fairs where non-perishables and luxury goods could be obtained. Women were responsible for everyday household purchases, but most of their purchasing was of a mundane nature. For the main part, shopping was seen as a chore rather than a pleasure.
Relatively few permanent shops were to be found outside the most populous cities. Instead customers walked into the tradesman’s workshops where they discussed purchasing options directly with tradesmen. Itinerant vendors such as costermongers, hucksters and peddlers operated alongside markets, providing the convenience of home delivery to households, and especially to geographically isolated communities.
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