Shopping is the examining of goods or services from retailers with intent to purchase. Shopping is the 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
Shopping can be traced back to many civilisations in history. In ancient Rome, there was Trajan's Market with tabernas that served as retailing units. Shopping list are known to be used by Romans as one was discovered by Hadrian's wall dated back 75-125 AD written for a soldier.
To many it is considered a recreational activity in which one visits a variety of stores in search of a suitable product to purchase. Window shopping is an activity that shoppers engage in by browsing though glass windows of a shop for entertainment. Might try on the item(s) or imagine purchasing these items without actually purchasing, possibly just to pass the time between other activities, or planning a 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 adopters shoppers and holiday shoppers. Sometimes buyers feel ripped-off because they did not get what they paid for often asking for a refund. Sometimes shoppers get caught up in a scam.
More recently compulsive shopping has been recognised as an addiction. Commonly referred as compulsive shopping, shopping addiction, shopaholic or formally oniomania, these shoppers have an impulsive uncontrollable need to go shopping to get a rush or high.
Sellers of products come by various names. They may be called vendors, merchants, salesman.
A larger commercial zone can be found in city downtown or Arab city souk. Shopping hubs, or shopping centers, are collection of stores that is a grouping of several businesses. Typical examples include shopping malls, town squares, flea markets, and bazaars.
Shops are divided into multiple categories of stores which sell a selected set of goods or services. Usually they are tiered by target demographic based on the amount disposable income of the shopper. They can be tiered from cheap to pricey.
Some shops sell second-hand goods. Often the public can also sell goods to such shops. In other cases, especially in the case of a nonprofit shop, the public donates goods to the shop to be sold though thrift stores in the USA, 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 chain 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 specialise in the selling of goods related to a theme include bookstores, candy shops, liquor stores, gift shops, hardware stores, hobby stores, pet stores, pharmacys, sex shops, 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.
Travel agency is example of a store that sells services.
With modern technology such as television and telephone and the Internet, users could be described as home shopping though online retail stores. Electronic commerce and business-to-consumer electronic commerce systems in combination of home mail delivery systems make this possible. Typically a consumer could make purchases though online shopping, shopping channels, mail order, etc. Sometimes peddlers and ice cream trucks pass though the neighborhoods offering services and goods. Also, neighborhood shopping takes place though various garage sales found in United States.
Shopping time is anytime, when the stores are closed, go online. Watch TV go on your mobile phone and look at magazines. Make sure to always look at the shipping time and price, because thats when shopping outside of the stores starts to get expensive. Make sure to always spend money wisely. See money. Some countries and stores don't open on a certain day for religious, political, or economical reasons. See reasons.
Some business have shopping hours are open 24 hours 7 days-a-week. Some nations regulate the operation of businesses for religious reasons and do not allow shopping on particular days or dates.
Shopping seasons are periods where a burst of spending occurs typically near holidays in the United States, where Christmas shopping is the biggest shopping spending season. Some famous target dates are Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Some religions regard such spending seasons against their religion and dismiss the practice. Many question the over-commercialisation and the response by stores who 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 where buyers often buy clothing and school supplies for their children. In 2006, American's spend over $17 billion on their kids according to 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 so-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 displayed on signs or labels. Alternatively, there can be price discrimination for a variety of reasons. The retailer charges higher prices to some customers and lower prices to others. For example, a customer may have to pay more if the seller determines that he or she is willing to. The retailer may conclude this due to the customer's wealth, carelessness, lack of knowledge, or eagerness to buy.
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 surplus will be divided into consumer and producer surplus. Neither party has a clear advantage, because the threat of no sale exists, whence the surplus vanishes for both.
In popular culture
There was television shopping game shows called Shop 'Til You Drop and Supermarket Sweep.
The Pet Shop Boys wrote a song called "Shopping" for their 1987 album Actually. It takes the totally consumerist approach many shoppers have, and turns it into a satire on the privatisation culture of Britain in the 1980s.
In the Gilmore Girls fourth season episode "Scene in a Mall," a significant part of the episode is devoted to window shopping, which is Lorelai and Rory's main plan for the day.
In the famous shopping quote by Bo Derek, "whoever said money can't by happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping."
Internet shopping bargain aggregation sites such as have become a favorite shopping channel for busy people. Hundreds of merchant sites are reviewed for favorable pricing. Coupons for reduced pricing or free shipping are presented with the item which help deliver additional value to the shoppers.