5.0 von 5 Sternen Frederick Taylor's Scientific Management Used for Consumers
The thesis behind this book is that by making the process of shopping easier and more desirable, and the choices clearer, the consumer will buy more. That's very similar to the observation that Taylor made about manual labor. Make it simpler and easier, and more work will get done. The methods are remarkably similar. Measuring the actions that the person under study...
Veröffentlicht am 11. Juli 2000 von Donald Mitchell
3.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting, certainly, but ....
On the plus side, this book had alot of fascinating observations about a whole field of study about which I previously didn't really know even existed, much less had given any thought to. In addition, next time I go shopping, I will probably stop and consider the extent to which some of the author's recommendations have (or have not) been implemented. On the other...
Veröffentlicht am 5. Juli 1999 von P. Meltzer
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Frederick Taylor's Scientific Management Used for Consumers,
The thesis behind this book is that by making the process of shopping easier and more desirable, and the choices clearer, the consumer will buy more. That's very similar to the observation that Taylor made about manual labor. Make it simpler and easier, and more work will get done. The methods are remarkably similar. Measuring the actions that the person under study makes, and changing the environment and process to see how the productivity is affected. I think this work is an important extension of behavioral economics, and hope it will be applied to more areas of business.
Although a book like this could be written in a very technical way, the voice and perspective are quite approachable. Also, the book is written to be equally interesting to shoppers and retailers. I'm sure you notice a lot of new things about your own behavior and that of others the next time you go shopping.
I also thought that the book was a good example of the way that stalled thinking holds back progress. For example, without this kind of observational measurement of shoppers, most retailers would never know which shoppers leave without buying and why. Or, why some merchandising experiments succeed or fail. In both cases, there are opportunities to accomplish more, if you can only grasp how your own decisions and behavior are helping and hurting your sales.
One of the sections I enjoyed was an evaluation of why many book stores miss sales. I often notice the inconveniences mentioned when I am in a book store, and wondered why the stores persist in doing things that make the store hard to shop in. There's a lot of stalled thinking in the industry, which is why we are fortunate to have Amazon.com to help us.
The book does a nice job of discussing how people with different perspectives shop differently. You'll probably get a laugh or two when you find yourself there. Do you secretly dig a sample out of the lipstick or the men's deodorant gel? Do you browse and rarely buy in Laura Ashley or in a computer store? When do you look at yourself in the mirror in a store? When do you not even go into a store because you can see long check out lines?
Ultimately, almost everything in this interesting book is common sense. But chances are that your needs are not often well served in areas that are important to you in retail outlets. My favorite was the problem of people only having two hands, and all of the times that we need three or four to negotiate the retailer's set-up.
A particular strength of this book was that it also pointed out that behavior is subject to change, as social patterns and values change. Men's jeans need to be in areas of wide aisles or fathers pushing their children in strollers will have to choose between looking at jeans and abandoning their children. That was not a very important problem 50 years ago.
I have often noticed how much people like to sample things before buying them, and how difficult it is to sample in many situations. Do you really want to go through what it takes to take a test drive of 20 different cars in 20 different dealers? Probably not. Yet, I would certainly buy a car more often if I had an easier chance to try the new ones out. You are probably the same way.
The main weakness of the book is that much less work has been done in looking at consumer behavior on the Internet, so the findings will hardly surprise you. You probably noticed these things years ago, like sites that are hard to navigate, have no site maps, and won't let you use the forms to buy.
I encourage anyone who has an interest in being more customer oriented to read this book, and use it to reexamine what your customers have to go through to do business with you. How could you improve?
Eliminate your stalls that make buying from you difficult, and rapid profitable growth should quickly follow.
4.0 von 5 Sternen My two pence worth of comments,
This had been a great book. I have worked in the book retail business for more than 3 years and I found the book to be full of practical advice. It has made me look again at the business and see how it can be improved further.
The author has mentioned about some changes he would like to see in bookstores in Chapter 18. While there are some interesting comments there like blow-up displays of book jackets and availabilty of bestseller lists, there are 2 things which I believe are not feasible.
Firstly, book stores need to have shelves that are arranged in rows. While I agree that wide aisles and creative arranging of the shelves can make a better shopping experience, the standard arrangement of rows must remain.
I have seen a public library where the shelves where arranged in a circular fashion. Besides experiencing it myself, I have seen irritated readers walking in circles to find the book they want. It created a very dizzying experience.
The second thing is that books must be arranged alphabetically despite what the author said about lower shelves being Siberias of retailing. This is because book buyers are already accustomed to searching for books alphabetically. They were trained by bookstores and libraries all over the world practising this same standard. As the author said in the last chapter, the environment must adapt to the customer.
When Tower Records first started operating a book store in Singapore, they arranged books according to the first names, like the CDs that they sell. Stephen King books were placed in "S" and not "K" like in other book stores. This created confusion for many book buyers and eventually, they realised that the convention for books is to place it alphabetically by the last name. The environment must cater to the consumer.
I have seen a very creative retailer that seems to have solved this Siberia problem. HMV in Singapore have shelves that have a stock area at the bottom and actual selling space about 1 metre off the floor. This allows customers to see all the displayed CDs easily and to reach them without difficulty. A customer can also check for titles that may have been sold out in the stock area. He does not have to check with retail staff if there is stock in the back room. For the business, this means easier replenishment of stock and smaller stock area. The Siberia area is thus converted to useful space. I believe this can be done by book retailers too.
Overall, this has been a very useful book. I recommend it to existing retail managers who wants practical advise on improving the retail business.
4.0 von 5 Sternen A Superb Study of Retail Environment Interaction,
Mr. Underhill and his company are pioneers in studying the retail environment in a methodical and 'scientific' way. The whole methodology depends on observation, thorough observation; which is later subjected to analysis and from that analysis they come up with valuable conclusions and suggestions for their clients.
The book does, however, contain parts in which Mr. Underhill wanders off his area of expertise and starts projecting into the future without solid basis; therby losing some credibilty.
It also seems that Mr. Underhill is not well versed on Marketing and I quote from Page 206, "But since the early '80s, PoP has really become a player, & now commands a seat at the selling table right next to marketing's", Any apprentice of marketing knows that PoP (point of purchase) is one of the many sales promotional tools that are only one part of Marketing Communications which is but one of 6 main categories of tools at the marketer's disposal. In actuality, PoP does in fact have a chair on the Marketing Table along with many other tools, such as the internet. I think Mr. Underhill shares a common misconception held by many non-marketers that marketing = advertising; while in fact advertising is still only a tool and only part of Marketing communications just like Sales Promotion is.
The book is full of useful and insightful retail information. The essence of the book is how to keep the customer in the store longer, at a greater level of comfort and easy navigation.
Mr. Underhill is backed with years of observation and study of how a shopper interacts with the retail environment; an essential read for anyone in retailing and FMCG brand management.
A great reference book.
3.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting, certainly, but ....,
On the plus side, this book had alot of fascinating observations about a whole field of study about which I previously didn't really know even existed, much less had given any thought to. In addition, next time I go shopping, I will probably stop and consider the extent to which some of the author's recommendations have (or have not) been implemented. On the other hand, the book seemed much too long to me, and rather than hoping it wouldn't end, I more or less had the opposite reaction: after awhile, I found myself skimming over quite a few paragraphs, because I felt that the interesting points could have been stated in a more concise way. Repetitiveness was a problem too. Finally, it seemed as if the majority of the author's recommendations could be summed up as: Give the shopper lots of elbow room (e.g. for strollers, to avoid the butt-brush effect, etc.), and put all of the merchandise within easy reach (no stooping for older people, no unneeded reaching for children, etc.). This sounds fine in theory, but it would seem that, in practice, the author is effectively suggesting that in order to accomplish the above two goals, all retailers should either (1) double the size of their leasehold space, or (2) reduce the amount of their inventory in half. I doubt that either of these options would be feasible for most retailers, and that the reason that some of them don't follow the author's recommendations to the letter is not because they are unaware of them, or even disagree with them, but simply because neither of the above solutions would be considered feasible.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Retailers, manufacturers and consumers should read this book,
This is a book both McDonalds and Ralph Nader would love. In this book, Underhill suggests different methods to maximize retail sales. Some include, for example, common sense solutions such as raising or lowering products so as to fall within the person's view range. Others are based on his research, such as putting a product you're pushing to the right of the best-seller. Many people will gravitate to the desired product (think of it as the magician's trick of "forcing" a card).
The book further discusses the different age groups, family configurations, and genders, and how they shop, maximizing the efficacy of signage and packaging, etc. It has many hints to increase sales over short and long periods of time.
It also advocates making stores more family-friendly. As a parent that has failed to successfully negotiate the Gap Kids' fixtures with a stroller and thus decided not to shop there again, I heartily agree with Underhill's suggestions.
Consumers should also read this book to understand the insiduous (and fascinating) means retailers are using to manipulate them into further purchases. We all know how playing Christmas music is supposed to get you in the mood to buy more. This book details different subtle ways in which retailers are modifying their stores to entice you to buy. My favorite: placing a hopscotch game on the cereal aisle, forcing parents to slow down and become more vulnerable to kids' requests for the latest Sugar Bombs. If you feel that retailers are the enemy, this book will provide further proof.
3.0 von 5 Sternen There are Really Two Books Here - One Great, One Rotten,
When the author sticks to reporting on the things he's observed over many thousands of hours of watching actual shoppers shop, this is an informative useful book. My partner sells pottery out of a studio/gallery and we found much of the data Underhill presents relevant to our experience selling.
However, once he runs out of facts a couple of chapters into the book, Underhill pads the rest of the book out with opinions, and this is where the problems begin. While he may be an excellent observer, Underhill is a poor business analyst. He doesn't understand the dynamics of many of the businesses he comments on. Many of his suggestions are embarassingly ignorant of the realities behind the businesses he discuss, or, worse, suggest--as if he invented the concepts-- that companies should do things that they have already been doing for years.
His chapter on the Internet is a perfect example of both of these criticisms. As someone who has designed and run a successful internet sales site for 5 years I wasn't sure which was greater--his ignorance or his condescension to those of us who have actually done the pioneering work he snipes at.
So read this book with the understanding that Underhill is a pretty good anthropologically-trained note taker,whose observations have turned up several things of interest to the retailer, at the same time that he is a pathetically bad business consultant and would-be futurist, with a pathological need to self-promote and a very annoying prose style.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Retailers can't lose, a must read!,
Von Ein Kunde
The retail industry has and will continue to face monumental challenges when it comes to getting customers to shop and purchase. As a consultant who has spent 20 years working with all types of retailers this book offers real tools and real life issues that this industry must face. No one has ever stepped out and quantified with hours of videotape how customers shop in such a realistic and engaging way as Paco Underhill. I applaud you for sharing your many years of research with us and supporting the research with commen sense! There is much to be learned by reading this book. For retailers of all kinds this book should be read before you re-merchandise your floor, make new signage, sign on for the next advertising campaign or send your staff to a training program. The most important aspect of this book is the concept that the store=brand. What happens within the four walls will make or break it. Read this book with the intention of trying something new or at the least, read this book and believe the greatest asset any retailer has is the store! If a book like this was not needed we wouldn't have 50% of retail businesses fail every year.Thanks Paco. Mindy Thompson, founder, Simply Retail Inc Mpls, Minnesota
5.0 von 5 Sternen Why We Buy Helps Me Sell!,
Since I have never been an avid shopper (usually once or twice a year besides the grocery), I found this book absolutely enlightening! I find I "shop like the guys" in the stores the few times I go each year. Usually I give my neighbor money and she buys my clothes, etc., during her very frequent shopping trips.
However, about a year ago I opened a Holistic Clinic and have started carrying items to fill needs of my bodywork clients and yoga students, etc. Paco's book really made a BIG difference in how I have done the presentation of products, signs, customer checkout, etc. My sales did indeed increase significantly!
I'm in a Business Networking group and have recommended the book to the other 20 people in that group and loaned it to a few. I also recommended it to 3 of our local bookstores (including a very large chain), the post office, and have given it as a gift to two friends who are starting their own businesses.
My husband teases me about "Well, what does Paco say?"
This book is fun to read, extremely informative, and has made a great difference in my sales - and a newfound enjoyment in shopping for me!
5.0 von 5 Sternen Phenomenal Insights,
An amazing book if you're a business CEO, marketing manager, or just an avid shopper. Paco does an incredible job of analyzing shopper habits, tendencies, and patterns. Learning these patterns can help businesses better position, market, and arrange their products for maximum conversion of browsing to closing sale. His chapters on male and female shopping tendencies is intriguing with Paco noting that women enjoy browsing clothes as part of the "process" of shopping while men tend to go directly into a store with an item in mind, find it, and get out as quickly as possible. Nothing striking yet except Paco noticed that the pattern changes when it comes to electronics. Men like to browse and play as part of the process whereas women walk in with something in mind, go to a sales clerk, and get out with a purchase. Other fascinating glimpses into people's purchasing patterns are covered as well. The only disappointing element was the lack of attention given to e-commerce. It would seem that there are similar purchasing patterns online (such as Amazon's recomendation engine) but Paco only skims over e-commerce. Maybe that will be an upcoming book...
3.0 von 5 Sternen Very interesting, a little bit long,
It is the very first time that I read a book devoted to shopping, and I must admit it was a good experience. I think I'll never walk again in a mall without checking if someone isn't writing things about me, standing in my back. Underhill is a very good anthropologist, he knows how to study shoppers ' behaviour, and he knows how to give us the chance to study it too. Many remarks should be taken seriously by a large number of retailers, but sometimes it seemed very obvious. Many of the changes he suggests are already applied in our supermakets. I also have to admit that many chapters were too long: why does he keep on repeating things? Moreover, I pretty much disliked the chapter about internet. I have the feeling Mr Underhill doesn't know a lot about internet sites, and the building of a site: he only criticises. According to him,people who buy on line today are simply having fun, or wasting their time, because the sites are so badly designed. People like me, who shop on the internet, are used to computers and to the rules of the internet, and I think we are not completely lost when a picture does not appear on the screen. Very nice book to read anyway.
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Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping von Paco Underhill (Taschenbuch - 2. Juni 2000)
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