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Book Review - Why We Buy

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Background of an Author

Paco Underhill

Urban GeographerRetail Anthropologist

The founder of Envirosell, a research andconsulting firm that specializes in improving retail environments in order to sell more product

Inspired by the methodologies of urbanist William H. Whyte

About The Book

His first book, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping was an internationally recognized bestseller and has been published in 27 languages. Why We

BuyMechanics of Shopping Demographics of Purchasing Different behaviors of Men/Women/ Children/Seniors Dynamics of Shopping Response of shoppers to placements and features

Study of Reactions of people

Objectives of Author

To throw light on the psychological factors of shoppers in the retail industry

To make aware of the Dos and Donts To explore the different forms of retail, i.e. Reality retail and internet retail and their dynamics

Structure of The BookMagic Act Retailers View

Importance of Time and Cash

Science of Shopping

Twilight Zone Start to Exit

Keep Hands Free Three Pillars Study of each Category Signs Perfect Shopper Shoppers Love & Hate People Movement

Chapt1: A Science Is Born

Anthropology - - > Branch is Study of modern shoppers What is Science of Shopping? Def: Precise anatomical mechanism and behavioral psychology of how humans think, react, deal, avoid, when they shop How can it be executed?Cameras Trackers with tracker sheet

Chapt2: What Retailers Dont Know

Expected to understand and absorb all lessons and then apply in real life

How many of shoppers who visit the shop actually buy something?

Planning marketing, advertising and promotions

All this is to Covert Shoppers into Buyers

Chapt3: The Twilight ZoneParking Lot

While exit Observation s

Going Towards Store

Inside the Store

Entering in the Store

Chapt4: You Need Hands

Shoppers like to keep their hands free while shopping E.g.

Cash Counter

How to Handle this? Provide Should

Trolleys/Basketsbe scattered all over


Purchase steps Provide space on counter Baggage area at entrance Provide tote bags

Chapt5: Signs

Help to get attention Importance given to: Location Words

Colours/ Clarity Short


Simple Visible

Chapt6: Shoppers move like People

Study of habits People are observed how and where they walk Chevroning Effect Tactics to attract

Chapt7 Dynamics

Provide seating for support people: husbands shopping with wives, etc.More than 50% of fast food is served in DriveThru Windows. Ten percent of those people park in the parking lot to eat (primarily women).

Chapt8 Men and Shopping

Men will reject a garment it doesnt fit Supermarket are a place for high impulsive buying for both Men take pride in paying- so sell to the women close to him Cars and gadgets men lead A woman spends less time at a store if she is with a man than with a woman friend, child


Take any category where women dominate and make it male dominating Market is changing McD ads with fathers sans moms Stores should have a mens health sectionmens health magazine sells over 1.5 mn copies

Chapt9 What Women Want from Shopping

Research at an italian store Evolution > selection of berries and fruits rather than hunting Women dont like buying at auto stores because they are guy- friendly Men are tech savvy, women like to convert technology into appliances Women focus on results, not processes when computer shopping Gas station for women: the cleanest washrooms anywhere

Chapt10 Elderly people

We can't read labels and signs. They must make it easier for us. Eyes start tofalter at age 40. Also, blues and greens blend so are not good for contrast. At50, we get 1/4 less light in our retinas than a 20-year-old does How can you make your store more senior citizen friendly? The lighting is too dull Put a magnifying glass on a chain near medicine bottles Beckerd Stores in Florida ATM's should talk to us Mattresses will become quasi medical and less furniture-focused Selling technology to elders Does it Happen?

Chapt11 -Kids

Kids go shopping with parents. If you cater to families, is your store stroller accessible? Aisle size, Trolley Even McDonalds make it difficult for kids to order. Kids can't see menus, can't see over counter. How smart booksellers stack their shelves. Very good section about book stores these days Toys: Adults select and buy but the kids are the decision makers. Stores need Kid appeal Innovative packaging like operating toys without opening the box Wells Fargo: 15% of traffic was under 7 years of age Help keep the kids amused- so parents attention can be attained Childproofing

Chapt12: The sensual shopper

How sensuality affects sales of different products and how to bring life the shopping malls. Touch the five senses of the customer through your product: make the floor such that the customer can see, touch, smell, hear, taste the product

Chapt13: The Big three

Design (the Premises) Merchandising (whatever we put in) Operations (whatever employees do)

Chapt14: Time, Real and Perceived

Real Time shown by Watch Perceived Time calculated in mind The shopping experience is spoilt if billing makes the shopper wait How to reduce the time wait: Interaction Orderliness Companionship Diversion

Chapt15: Cash/ Warp Blues

The wrapping counters should be preferably placed away from the cash counters Not be placed with returns and repairs Festive season like Thanks giving, the cash/wrap needs to be staffed appropriately

Chapt16: Magic Acts

Its called Merchandising Placing products next to other stuff, to increase sale of both A video game parlor to sell pop corn and ice cream Multiple placement: E.g. books about dietary vitamins, place them in books section and near vitamins also

Chapt17: Cyberspace, no one can hear you shop

Emphasizes the necessity for reality retailers to go online 3 benefits of stores over Internet selling Touch,

trial or any other stimuli Immediate gratification Social interaction

Benefits Promotes

Corporate identification Customer awareness

Chapt18: The Self-Exam

Summary of the entire book with reference to a Bookstore Elaborates all the important points in the form of navigation to the bookstore, through the bookstore and out of it


The importance of merchandising, floor management and understanding various shopper touch points A retailer should not only focus only on the happenings inside the shop, but should pay attention to the every action of the shop

What we liked?

In depth look at the psychology of shopping The diversity of examples with a witty language Apt Titles Covers examples from all the retail outlets from smaller one to the big malls Elaborates on not only what should be done but also what should be avoided

Whats lacking?

Non - Universal approach. The focus is on US retail shops and difficult for people from other countries to relate It annoyingly highlights the work of the Authors company too many times, making the book a marketing tool It claims a lot of things which are debatebles Examples gives are limited to small range of products and scenarios Use of unpleasant words like molest, sin, obscenely distract the attention of the reader