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marketing: Evolution of Modern Marketing

In a subsistence-level economy there is little need for exchange of goods because the division of labor is at a rudimentary level: most people produce the same or similar goods. Interregional exchange between disparate geographic areas depends on adequate means of transportation. Thus, before the development of caravan travel and navigation, the exchange of the products of one region for those of another was limited. The village market or fair, the itinerant merchant or peddler, and the shop where customers could have such goods as shoes and furniture made to order were features of marketing in rural Europe. The general store superseded the public market in England and was an institution of the American country town.

In the United States in the 19th cent. the typical marketing setup was one in which wholesalers assembled the products of various manufacturers or producers and sold them to jobbers and retailers. The independent store , operated by its owner, was the chief retail marketing agency. In the 20th cent. that system met stiff competition from chain stores, which were organized for the mass distribution of goods and enjoyed the advantages of large-scale operation. Today large chain stores dominate the field of retail trade. The concurrent advent of the motor truck and paved highway, making possible the prompt delivery of a variety of goods in large quantities, still further modified marketing arrangement, and the proliferation of the automobile has expanded the geographic area in which a consumer can make retail purchases.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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