Retail is the process of selling consumer goods or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution to earn a profit. Demand is created through diverse target markets and promotional tactics, satisfying consumers' wants and needs through a lean supply chain. In the 2000s, an increasing amount of retailing is done online using electronic payment and delivery via a courier or postal mail. Retailing includes subordinated services, such as delivery. The term "retailer" is also applied where a service provider services the small orders of a large number of individuals, rather than large orders of a small number of wholesale, corporate or government clientèle. Shops may be on residential streets, streets with few or no houses, or in a shopping mall. Shopping streets may be for pedestrians only. 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. Online retailing, a type of electronic commerce used for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions and mail order, are forms of non-shop retailing.
Shopping generally refers to the act of buying products. Sometimes this is done to obtain final goods including necessities such as food and clothing; sometimes it is done as a recreational activity. Recreational shopping often involves window shopping (just looking, not buying) and browsing and does not always result in a purchase.