11. Shopping

Questions for Discussion

  • 1. Do you like shopping?
  • 2. Do you do your shopping on a daily or weekly basis?
  • 3. Is shopping a delight or a nightmare for you?
  • 4. Who are shopaholics?
  • 5. What do you know about “window shopping”, “car boot sale”?
  • 6. What are the main kinds of shops?
  • 7. Who do you call “target customers”? Characterize them according to their income, age, preferences, etc.?
  • 8. What do customers usually look for? Good quality of products? Reasonable prices?
  • 9. What can managers do to attract more customers to their shop and increase their store traffic?
  • 10. What does the shop’s pricing policy depend on?
  • 11. What incentives can a shop offer their customers?
  • 12. Do you think shopping habits differ cross-culturally?

Target Vocabulary

shopping goods

household budget

consumer goods


convenience goods


store traffic

to shop on a daily/weekly/monthly basis


smaller-sized packages

chain stores

retail shelves




window shopping


to target a customer

loan schemes

shopping habits

car boot sale


Vocabulary Practice

Exercise 1. Use your target vocabulary to replace these explanations.


the number of customers who visit a shop over a certain period of time


a shop/store that is one of a series of similar shops/stores owned by the same company_


the activity of looking at the goods in shop/store windows, usually without intending to buy anything_


an outdoor sale where people sell things that they no longer want, using tables or the backs of their cars to put the goods on


a person who enjoys shopping very much and spends too much time and money doing it


the act of buying and using products

Exercise 2. Complete these sentences using your target vocabulary in the appropriate form.

  • 1. ... rather than saving has become the central feature of contemporary societies.
  • 2. Shops offer all sorts of... to help customers to pay for their purchases.
  • 3. Families who have their own cars usually shop on a ... basis.
  • 4. Companies carry out market research to find their ...
  • 5. ... stores usually offer the same products and have the same pricing policy.
  • 6. Boutiques cater for high-income ...

Tips for Topic Development

Text 1

Some people love shopping, others hate it. Some people shop on a daily basis, others on a weekly basis, still others prefer shopping on a monthly basis. There are people who shop without leaving their rooms, they are called couch potato mail-order shopaholics, others grudge neither time nor money to travel long distances to buy something they didn’t even plan. We say that they buy on an impulse either to boost their self-esteem or because they are spurred on by offers such as “three for the price of two”.

Goods we buy can be divided into 4 categories: consumer products, shopping goods, speciality goods and convenience goods. The products we need every day such as milk, bread or bail-point pens are called convenience goods. The goods we consider carefully before buying comparing competitive products in terms of quality, price or other features are called shopping goods. Speciality goods are those products for which the customer would be prepared to pay highly in terms of price, time, inconvenience.

There are different shops which cater for all types of customers. Some shops target low-income group customers, others, on the contrary, cater for high-income group customers. Some shops are small, others make a chain (chain shops/ stores) and they have outlets across the country.

Low or middle-income group customers prefer department stores. It is here that they can do all their shopping under one roof because such shops secure low prices for their customers and offer them a wide selection to choose from.

Department stores also offer financial services and loan schemes. They assist their customers with budgeting their expenditures and help them spread the costly purchases over several months.

Agree or disagree with these statements.

  • 1. It isn’t necessary to shop on a daily basis.
  • 2. The easiest way of shopping is a mail-order shopping.
  • 3. I never buy goods on an impulse.
  • 4. I’m never spurred on by offers such as ‘three for the price of two’.
  • 5. Department stores sell speciality goods.
  • 6. I prefer doing the shopping under one roof.

Text 2

How a product is consumed can vary from market to market. In some cultures the female holds the purse strings while in others it is a male. In Japan, for example, it is the housewife who makes most of the major purchases for the family and buys the family’s food, household supplies and clothing. Usually, she receives her husband’s paycheck, manages the household budget, and allocates funds for different categories of expenses, including savings for children’s education, vacations, leisure activities, and retirement. In the United States, the primary decision makers are children and teens. It is estimated that 4- to 12-year-olds annually spend $6.2 billion of their own money purchasing items such as snacks, candy, and toys. Youngsters also influence almost $150 billion in family purchases of such products as stereos, breakfast cereals and frozen pizza. Of course all young people around the world display such consumer clout. Many cultures place greater value on the elders in the community and emphasize the wisdom that comes with age. This respect for the elderly stands in marked contrast to the extreme youth orientation in America.

Even the amount or quantity of a product that consumers in different cultures purchase is not constant. In the United States shoppers typically purchase the economy size of products, as shopping is typically done on a weekly basis. In both Europe and Japan, where shopping is done on a daily basis and where household storage place is more limited, consumers tend to purchase smaller-sized packages. Once Philips introduced a smaller version of its coffee-makers to fit into smaller-sized Japanese kitchens, sales took off. Two-liter bottles of Coca-Cola failed to move from retail shelves in Spain because few consumers had refrigerators with large enough compartments to store the beverage container. In contrast, in Mexico Campbell sells its soup in cans large enough to serve four or more, as families in this market are typically larger. Even deodorant consumption varies dramatically. Americans consume almost twice as much deodorant as the French and nearly four times as much as Italians. Consumers in the United States are perceived by much of the rest of the world as quite fanatical with regards to personal hygiene, (from Advertising” by Barbara Mueller)

Say which of the statements below are true and which are false.

  • 1. In Japan it is a woman who does the shopping for the family.
  • 2. In Japan it is a man who plans expenditures on vacations and leisure activities.
  • 3. In America children and teenagers save pocket money to buy expensive things.
  • 4. Many young people around the world tell their parents what to buy.
  • 5. In the United States shoppers prefer to do their shopping on a weekly basis because they have very little household storage place.
  • 6. Large-size packages are very popular in Spain.
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