In an effort to determine why people buy, Paco Underhill and his detailed- orientated band of retail researchers have camped out in stores for over 20 years, dedicating their efforts 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 shopper/store interaction. They've discovered that men who take jeans into the fitting room are more likely to buy then females (65 percent to 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, employees/shopper contact, 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 capitalise on a shopper's unspoken inclinations and desires.
Underhill--whose clients include McDonald's, Starbuck's, Estee Lauder, and Blockbuster-- stocks Why We Buy with a bevy of retail epiphanies, 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 ageing baby-boom population and predicting how online retailing will affect shopping malls. This lighthearted look at the shopping is highly recommended for anyone who buys or sells. -- Rob McDonald, Amazon.com
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Erica Marcus"Newsday"What Underhill offers in this delightful and engrossing book is a primer in the science of shopping....The effect of reading this book is that of being alternately entertained by hilarious stories and enlightened by trenchant observations.