Retailing involves all activities required to market consumer goods and services to ultimate consumers who are motivated to buy in order to satisfy individual or family needs in contrast to business, institutional, or industrial use. Thus, when an individual buys a computer at Circuit City, groceries at Safeway, or a purse at Ebags.com, a retail sale has been made.
We typically think of a store when we think of a retail sale. However, retail sales are made in ways other than through stores. For example, retail sales are made by door-to-door salespeople, such as an Avon representative, by mail order through a company such as L.L. Bean, by automatic vending machines, and by hotels and motels. Nevertheless, most retail sales are still made in brick-and-mortar stores.