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The Roman forum was arguably the earliest example of a permanent retail shop-front.
The Phoenicians, noted for their seafaring skills, plied their ships across the Mediterranean, becoming a major trading power by the 9th century BCE.
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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.
Retail markets and shops have a very ancient history, dating back to antiquity.
Some of the earliest retailers were itinerant peddlers.
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.
Sometimes this is done to obtain final goods, including necessities such as food and clothing; sometimes it takes place as a recreational activity.
Recreational shopping often involves window shopping and browsing: it does not always result in a purchase.
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.
Open air, public markets were known in ancient Babylonia, Assyria, Phoenicia and Egypt.