Shopping is the purchase of goods and services from retailers.
Shopping is considered a recreational activity of psychological interest. Shopping involves selection and purchase.
"Window shopping" is an American/English phrase meaning to look into glass windows of a shop for entertainment and imagine purchasing items without actually purchasing, possibly just to pass the time between other activities, or planning a purchase.
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.
Kinds of shops
Shops are divided into multiple categories of stores which sell a selected set of goods or services.
Many shops are part of a chain: a number of similar shops with the same name selling the same products 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 (see also restaurant chain).
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. In give-away shops goods can be taken for free. In Antique shops the public can find goods that are older and unique.
For details on the various types of retail stores see:
- Convenience store
- Department store
- Dollar store
- Electronic commerce, B2C
- General store
- Hardware store
- Hobby store
- Mail order
- Pet store
- Surplus store
- Thrift store
- Travel agency