According to a plain definition, shopping is the process of searching for or buying products or services. This explanation seems to be clear and simple. However, shopping involves a large number of interrelated matters, which are to be considered.

The tradition of shopping is thousands of years old; it dates back to the time when it became necessary to exchange commodities. During the centuries, it was proven to be effective in practice to use real currency, primarily for its compactness and global potential. Nowadays, currency has even been promoted to a more abstract layer - no longer is real cash required; the focal point of interest is electronic money.

Regarding their sizes, sold product lines, and section models, stores are generally divided into the following categories: warehouses (depots), general stores (similar to corner shops and village shops), supermarkets (typically large grocery stores, under a single roof), department stores (a wide range of merchandise lines), hypermarkets (combined supermarkets and department stores), and big-box stores (also called supercentres, superstores, or megastores).

Both individual departments and stores are focused on a particular type of goods and products. Specialized stores include: newsstands, grocery stores, bakeries, butcher stores, electrical stores, computer stores, clothing stores, second-hand shops, boutiques, barber shops, beauty parlors, drugstores, stationary stores, bookstores, toy stores, souvenir stores, jewelry stores, candy stores, pizzerias, florist’s shops, etc.

Stores and markets, and principally big chain stores, frequently offer a special membership. Their faithful customers can obtain a fixed discount on the whole assortment of goods, collect market points, participate in competitions, or use other benefits.

Undoubtedly, online stores are important strategic players in the field of shopping and the use of them is increasing. This system of shopping is popular because of its easiness and convenience as well as for its pleasing prices since shop assistants are not needed anymore. Certainly, there is a security danger.  However, the safety can be ensured through the selection of a trusted company, through the protection of personal information (evade disclosure of an embossed credit cardnumber and use an encrypted connection with a strong certificate), and by paying after the delivery.

Payments themselves can be made in a variety of manners. In shops, cash can be used as well as credit cards. In e-shops, direct bank transactions can also be performed. Nonetheless, shopping can be carried out even without a sufficiency of money - on a loan. Products are thereafter refunded in regular installments. Unfortunately, the overall costs can be rather astonishing.

The selling and purchasing products are affected by several factors. What is most important and often crucial is the price. Products at discount prices are more likely to be sold. The quality of a product is also one of the fundamental features and cannot be ignored. A cheap item will generally not last for a long time, in business. Nevertheless, advertising and sale promotions are quite effective weapons and manage to do wonders.

From an economic point of view, other aspects that influence the demand are living standards and current financial situations, purchasing power of a currency, and diverse economic trends including substitute and complementary demand.

Customer targeting is widely discussed and is an extensive topic. It is based on the presumption that some groups of people (who share mutual interests) are inclined to purchase specific products. For instance, women tend to buy more cosmetics and clothing while men prefer tools and sports supplies. Young people are major consumers of technology and digital devices, and children wish to have colorful and interactive gadgets and toy.

Shopping habits keep developing and services keep improving. Nowadays, customers have more freedom than ever before.

Přidal: developer 4. 10. 2009
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