Synopses & Reviews
Is there a method to our madness when it comes to shopping? Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle
as "a Sherlock Holmes for retailers," author and research company CEO Paco Underhill answers with a definitive "yes" in this witty, eye-opening report on our ever-evolving consumer culture. Why We Buy
is based on hard data gleaned from thousands of hours of field research -- in shopping malls, department stores, and supermarkets across America. With his team of sleuths tracking our every move, from sweater displays at the mall to the beverage cooler at the drugstore, Paco Underhill lays bare the struggle among merchants, marketers, and increasingly knowledgeable consumers for control.
In his quest to discover what makes the contemporary consumer tick, Underhill explains the shopping phenomena that often go unnoticed by retailers and shoppers alike, including:
- How a well-placed shopping basket can turn a small purchase into a significant sale
- What the "butt-brush factor" is and how it can make sales plummet
- How working women have altered the way supermarkets are designed
- How the "boomerang effect" makes product placement ever more challenging
- What kinds of signage and packaging turn browsers into buyers
For those in retailing and marketing, Why We Buy is a remarkably fresh guide, offering creative and insightful tips on how to adapt to the changing customer. For the general public, Why We Buy is a funny and sometimes disconcerting look at our favorite pastime.
"[A] testament to the nobility, the courage yes, even the heroism of the average shopper....At last, here is a book that gives this underrated skill the respect it deserves." Patricia T. O'Conner, The New York Times Book Review
"[Underhill's] dissection of the retail industry finds much to criticize, but the book also dignifies shopping as a central focus of human activity....A strong portrait of consumers as the most efficient arbiters of what to sell and how to sell it." Kirkus Reviews
"[F]ascinating....Intriguing for both lovers and haters of the game of visual stimulation." Barbara Jacobs, Booklist
"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." Erica Marcus, Newsday
"The guru of retail consulting offers a wealth of insight into what makes a successful shopping experience for both buyer and seller." Craig Ryan, The Oregonian
A witty and pragmatic report from the retail trenches on consumers' tastes and habits--what makes them tick, how to influence or change customers' buying habits, and how to win--and keep--customer loyalty.
If you walk in the door at CompUSA thinking you're going to buy a Canon, and walk out with an Okidata, something has happened in the store; it's that "something" that urban geographer and retail anthropologist Paco Underhill has made his life's work. Why We Buy, the culmination of fifteen years of meticulous research and observation, reveals not only the fascinating findings of Underhill's studies, but offers hilarious anecdotes and amazing hard facts about one of America's favorite pastimes.
In a riveting read for anyone who's ever shopped for anything -- or tried to sell anything -- Underhill explains why men who take jeans into the fitting room are more than twice as likely to buy them than women who do the same; how men are learning to shop like women; how working women have altered supermarket layouts; why the Internet will never replace the shopping mall; what the "butt-brush factor" is; and much more.
About the Author
With clients ranging from McDonald's to Starbucks, Estée Lauder to Blockbuster and Citibank to Wells Fargo, Paco Underhill has been profiled in The New Yorker and Smithsonian Magazine, has written for American Demographics and Adweek, and lectures widely. He is based in New York City.
Table of Contents
I. INSTEAD OF SAMOA, STORES: THE SCIENCE OF SHOPPING
1. A Science Is Born
2. What Retailers Don't Know
II. WALK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN: THE MECHANICS OF SHOPPING
3. The Twilight Zone
4. You Need Hands
5. How to Read a Sign
6. Shoppers Move Like People
III. MEN ARE FROM SEARS HARDWARE, WOMEN ARE FROM BLOOMINGDALE'S: THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF SHOPPING
8. Shop Like a Man
9. What Women Want
10. If You Can Read This You're Too Young
IV. SEE ME, FEEL ME, TOUCH ME, BUY ME: THE DYNAMICS OF SHOPPING
12. The Sensual Shopper
13. The Big Three
14. Time, Real and Perceived
15. Cash/Wrap Blues
16. Magic Acts
17. In Cyberspace, No One Can Hear You Shop
18. The Self-Exam
19. Final Thoughts