Recreational shopping often involves window shopping (just looking, not buying) and browsing: it does not always result in a purchase.Most modern retailers typically make a variety of strategic level decisions including the type of store, the market to be served, the optimal product assortment, customer service, supporting services and the store's overall market positioning.
Over the centuries, retail shops were transformed from little more than "rude booths" to the sophisticated shopping malls of the modern era.Retail comes from the Old French word tailler, which means "to cut off, clip, pare, divide" in terms of tailoring (1365).It was first recorded as a noun with the meaning of a "sale in small quantities" in 1433 (from the Middle French retail, "piece cut off, shred, scrap, paring"). Archaeological evidence for trade, probably involving barter systems, dates back more than 10,000 years.Some of the earliest retailers were itinerant peddlers.The term "retailer" is typically applied where a service provider fills the small orders of a large number of individuals, who are end-users, rather than large orders of a small number of wholesale, corporate or government clientele.As civilizations grew, barter was replaced with retail trade involving coinage.
Selling and buying is thought to have emerged in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) in around the 7th millennium BCE.
Digital technologies are also changing the way that consumers pay for goods and services.
Retailing support services may also include the provision of credit, delivery services, advisory services, stylist services and a range of other supporting services.
Surrounding the market, skilled artisans, such as metal-workers and leather workers, occupied permanent premises in alleys that led to the open market-place.
These artisans may have sold wares directly from their premises, but also prepared goods for sale on market days.
The Roman forum was arguably the earliest example of a permanent retail shop-front.