Retailing involves 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.
Open air, public markets were known in ancient Babylonia, Assyria, Phoenicia and Egypt.
These markets typically occupied a place in the town's centre.
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.
Sometimes a shopping street has a partial or full roof to create a more comfortable shopping environment – protecting customers from various types of weather conditions such as extreme temperatures, winds or precipitation.
Forms of non-shop retailing include online retailing (a type of electronic-commerce used for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions) and mail order.
The Phoenicians, noted for their seafaring skills, plied their ships across the Mediterranean, becoming a major trading power by the 9th century BCE.
Retail shops occur in a diverse range of types and in many different contexts – from strip shopping centres in residential streets through to large, indoor shopping malls.
Shopping streets may restrict traffic to pedestrians only.
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.