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Jump to navigation Jump to search “Retail stores” redirects here. Retail is the process of selling consumer goods or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution to earn a profit. Retailers satisfy demand identified through a supply chain. Retail markets and shops have a very ancient b2c, dating back to antiquity.

Some of the earliest retailers were itinerant peddlers. Over the centuries, retail shops were transformed from little more than “rude booths” to the sophisticated shopping malls of the modern era. Shopping streets may restrict traffic to pedestrians only. As in the French, the word, retail, in both Dutch and German, also refers to the sale of small quantities of items. Retail refers to the activity of selling goods or services directly to consumers or end-users.

Some retailers may sell to business customers, and such sales are termed non-retail activity. In some jurisdictions or regions, legal definitions of retail specify that at least 80 percent of sales activity must be to end-users. Retailing often occurs in retail stores or service establishments, but may also occur through direct selling such as through vending machines, door-to-door sales or electronic channels. Although the idea of retail is often associated with the purchase of goods, the term may be applied to service-providers that sell to consumers.

Some retailers badge their stores as “wholesale outlets” offering “wholesale prices. While this practice may encourage consumers to imagine that they have access to lower prices, while being prepared to trade-off reduced prices for cramped in-store environments, in a strict legal sense, a store that sells the majority of its merchandise direct to consumers, is defined as a retailer rather than a wholesaler. Retail markets have existed since ancient times. Archaeological evidence for trade, probably involving barter systems, dates back more than 10,000 years. As civilizations grew, barter was replaced with retail trade involving coinage. The Phoenicians, noted for their seafaring skills, plied their ships across the Mediterranean, becoming a major trading power by the 9th century BCE.

The Phoenicians imported and exported wood, textiles, glass and produce such as wine, oil, dried fruit and nuts. In the Graeco-Roman world, the market primarily served the local peasantry. Local producers, who were generally poor, would sell small surpluses from their individual farming activities, purchase minor farm equipment and also buy a few luxuries for their homes. Major producers such as the great estates were sufficiently attractive for merchants to call directly at their farm-gates, obviating the producers’ need to attend local markets.

The rise of retailing and marketing in England and Europe has been extensively studied, but less is known about developments elsewhere. Nevertheless, recent research suggests that China exhibited a rich history of early retail systems. The Row, Chester, Cheshire, England, c. In 13th century London, mercers and haberdashers were known to exist and grocers sold “miscellaneous small wares as well as spices and medicines” but fish and other perishables were sold through markets, costermongers, hucksters, peddlers or other type of itinerant vendor.

In the more populous cities, a small number of shops were beginning to emerge by the 13th century. In Chester, a medieval covered shopping arcade represented a major innovation that attracted shoppers from many miles around. Known as “The Rows” this medieval shopping arcade is believed to be the first of its kind in Europe. Medieval shops had little in common with their modern equivalent. As late as the 16th century, London’s shops were described as little more than “rude booths” and their owners “bawled as loudly as the itinerants. Shopfronts typically had a front door with two wider openings on either side, each covered with shutters. Outside the major cities, most consumable purchases were made through markets or fairs.

Markets were held daily in the more populous towns and cities or weekly in the more sparsely populated rural districts. Fruit and Vegetable Market, Painting by Arnout de Muyser. Blintiff has investigated the early Medieval networks of market towns across Europe, and suggests that by the 12th century there was an upsurge in the number of market towns and the emergence of merchant circuits as traders bulked up surpluses from smaller regional, different day markets and resold them at the larger centralised market towns. Market-places appear to have emerged independently outside Europe. English market towns were regulated from a relatively early period. The English monarchs awarded a charter to local Lords to create markets and fairs for a town or village. This charter would grant the lords the right to take tolls and also afford some protection from rival markets.

For example, once a chartered market was granted for specific market days, a nearby rival market could not open on the same days. Braudel and Reynold have made a systematic study of these European market towns between the thirteenth and fifteenth century. Their investigation shows that in regional districts markets were held once or twice a week while daily markets were common in larger cities. Gradually over time, permanent shops with regular trading days began to supplant the periodic markets, while peddlers filled in the gaps in distribution. Our Ships are laden with the Harvest of every Climate: Our Tables are stored with Spices, and Oils, and Wines: Our Rooms are filled with Pyramids of China, and adorned with the Workmanship of Japan: Our Morning’s Draught comes to us from the remotest Corners of the Earth: We repair our Bodies by the Drugs of America, and repose ourselves under Indian Canopies. By the 17th century, permanent shops with more regular trading hours were beginning to supplant markets and fairs as the main retail outlet. Provincial shopkeepers were active in almost every English market town.