Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
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.
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!
Most recent customer reviews
I find the book to be very amazing. Its definitely a recommended book for any product marketers and sellers. Read morePublished on Dec 29 2011 by Tim
An awesome new business book I read was Why we Buy - The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill. This one is a business book primarily of interest to retailers (although I see... Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2008 by J. Estill
My fourth year retailing prof at Brock told me to pick up this book. I finally did, and it was a fairly good read. Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2006 by J. Petruszkiewicz
I finally picked this one up after about a year of "meaning to buy it." I'm glad I did. It's a lighthearted and fun book that will make you analyze every store you set... Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by J. Blackman
This is a must have for anyone who not only works in retail, but has an interest in sociology. Envirosell took hours of their research and put it in a straight-forward, very... Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2004 by Tacitblue
I am not in retailing business but I still found this book very interesting and I got so many great ideas how to improve some of my favorite stores. Read morePublished on Aug. 19 2003 by Topi
Two kinds of people will really like this book. You'll like this book if you're responsible for the merchandising in a retail store anywhere. Read morePublished on July 31 2003 by Wally Bock
This book was an interesting peek inside how many decisions about shopping are made, and how the author changed that business in profound yet amazingly common sense ways, simply by... Read morePublished on July 30 2003 by Jules
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