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Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

3.6 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (April 10 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739341928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739341926
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.9 x 14.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,192,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

In an effort to determine why people buy, Paco Underhill and his detailed-oriented band of retail researchers have camped out in stores over the course of 20 years, dedicating their lives to the "science of shopping." Armed with an array of video equipment, store maps, and customer-profile sheets, Underhill and his consulting firm, Envirosell, have observed over 900 aspects of interaction between shopper and store. They've discovered that men who take jeans into fitting rooms are more likely to buy than females (65 percent vs. 25 percent). They've learned how the "butt-brush factor" (bumped from behind, shoppers become irritated and move elsewhere) makes women avoid narrow aisles. They've quantified the importance of shopping baskets; contact between employees and shoppers; the "transition zone" (the area just inside the store's entrance); and "circulation patterns" (how shoppers move throughout a store). And they've explored the relationship between a customer's amenability and profitability, learning how good stores capitalize on a shopper's unspoken inclinations and desires.

Underhill, whose clients include McDonald's, Starbucks, Estée Lauder, and Blockbuster, stocks Why We Buy with a wealth of retail insights, showing how men are beginning to shop like women, and how women have changed the way supermarkets are laid out. He also looks to the future, projecting massive retail opportunities with an aging baby-boom population and predicting how online retailing will affect shopping malls. This lighthearted look at shopping is highly recommended to anyone who buys or sells. --Rob McDonald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Underhill, once a budding academic who worked on a William H. Whyte project analyzing how people use public spaces, adapted anthropological techniques to the world of retail and forged an innovative career with the consulting firm Envirosell. Since brand names and traditional advertising don't necessarily translate into sales, Underhill argues that retail design based on his company's closeAvery closeAobservation of shoppers and stores holds the key. His anecdotes contain illuminating detail. For example, since bookstore shoppers like to browse, baskets should be scattered throughout the store to make it easier for customers to carry their purchases. In clothing stores, fitting rooms are best placed closer to the men's department, because men choose based on fit, while women consider more variables. And he sprinkles in other smart suggestions: drugstores could boast a consolidated "men's health" department; computer stores, to attract women, should emphasize convenience and versatility, not size and speed; and clerks at luxury hotels should use hand-held computers to check in travelers from lobby chairs. Underhill remains skeptical about cyberspace retail, believing that Web sites can't offer the sensory stimuli, immediate gratification or social interaction available in brick-and-mortar stores. While the book does little to analyze the international, regional or ethnic dimensions of the subject, it should aid those in business while intriguing urban anthropologists, amateur and professional.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It is interesting to note people's reactions to this book. I'm reminded of the adage about the stages of acceptance of an idea. At the first stage people say it's wrong, at the second stage they assert that that it's right, but also trivial (common sense perhaps?), and at the 3rd stage (final acceptance) they claim the idea as their own. Many of the negative reviews fit into stages 1 or 2. I would concur with several reviewers that the author's ego interferes with the presentation, but this does nothing to diminish the observational detail that he manages to share, if you are in a place where you can think about it. It takes a little effort to step back from the detail and consider some of the ideas about our behavior that are cloaked in the author's descriptions. Yet many of the notions about what we notice and why and how we move about in a space could be applied (with some reflective thought) to the whole process of "arriving at" and "navigating" a web site (to purchase something or to get information).
If you are looking for a book that correlates characteristics of people (socieconomic status, sex, etc) with purchases you will be sorely disappointed. I assume that many of Underhill's clients have contemplated charateristic type marketing data with an eye toward some causal connection between characteristics of people and purchasing behavior. But what Underhill notices is that the act of going to a store and buying something is a sequence of behavior that can be derailed in a variety of ways. And this, ultimately, is why characteristics (socieconomic status, gender, etc) that predict purchasing are also not causal (I don't know of any 100% correlations between characteristics and purchasing behavior that would suggest a causal relationshp).
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Format: Hardcover
There are very few books that I read over and over, but 'Why We Buy' has earned a spot in my top ten all time favorites. Through this book, the author takes us on an informative and entertaining journey into the world of retail marketing. However, the beauty of the book lies is that while it is a must-read for any retailer, it will appeal and intrigue the average consumer.
When you shop, you aren't just shopping -- you are performing a science. From the way you move your eyes, to what path you take through the store, even items you touch on the shelves, is all part of how each individual consumer makes a purchasing choice. Through this book, you learn how retailers have studied shoppers -- like yourself -- and why certain items are on the top shelfs, why two items are never on sale at the same time, and a wealth of other retail secrets.
Have you ever stopped to think about what happens the moment you walk into the store? Probably not, but you'll learn about what happens from the parking lot to the checkout stand in this book. You'll find out, for example, why shopping carts are usually always on the righthand side, and why the days of plastering windows with advertisements are all but over for many stores.
Overall, this book is just fascinating in the depth of knowledge it presents, and in such a manner to make it entertaining and informative. Even the most casual reader can find something of interest.
One thing is for sure, once you read this book, you'll never view a grocery store or mall the same way again.
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Format: Paperback
i read the book because of the title, i'm kind of interested in how we tick, and though i don't think a book would be able to answer this question, attempts amuse me. however. this was not about why we buy, but about how stores position things so that you might want to buy them, a marketers perspective on the retail store if you will. and it was interesting for the most part, but it was only a passing fancy interesting, not a stop what you're doing and read this book interesting. things like who shopped with who was taken into consideration and a hypothesis on how merchandise or where to put the store was given accordingly. pretty much the whole book right there. ok i might be simplifying, but still, this book could've been a lot more, or i was expecting a lot more than what was given, so it was a disappointment i suppose. still, i think it should be read, even if it's only bathroom reading, because there is definitely something to be taken away from the book. nothing ground breaking, but something none the less:P
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By A Customer on Dec 28 2003
Format: Paperback
All about shopping behavior. There are tons of insights to be gained for anyone in retail, esp store planning and merchandising. Certainly not written as a how to book for retailing, but worth it all the more for valuable perspective.
FRANKly, the review about it being contradictory--BOGUS because retailers very often show both printers bundled with PCs and printers by themselves in separate locations--it's called cross-merchandising. Also, the claim that Underhill omits any mention of obstructed signage--simply not true. But, I totally agree that more should be said about the impact of employees on shopper behavior.
And yes, there is repetition, even some word for word repetition. That's because lot of the book is compiled from journal articles and other publications. In my opinion this adds credibility. At the outset it claims to be a brief anthropological survey of shopping behavior, and that's exactly what it is.
All in all a compelling read for seller and shopper alike!
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