Revolutionary retail guru Paco Underhill is back with a completely revised edition of his classic, witty bestselling book on our ever-evolving consumer culture—full of fresh observations and important lessons from the cutting edge of retail such as Internet behemoths Amazon and iTunes as well as the globalization of retail in the world’s emerging markets.
This enlightening edition includes new information on:
-The latest trends in online retail—what retailers are doing right and what they’re doing wrong—and how nearly every Internet retailer from iTunes to Amazon can drastically improve how it serves its customers.
-A guided tour of the most innovative stores, malls and retail environments around the world—almost all of which are springing up in countries where prosperity is new. An enormous indoor ski slope attracts shoppers to a mall in Dubai; an uber-luxurious Sao Paolo department store provides its customers with personal shoppers; a mall in South Africa has a wave pool for surfing.
The new Why We Buy is an essential guide that offers advice on how to keep your changing customers and entice new and eager ones.
"At last, here is a book that gives this underrated skill the respect it deserves." -- The New York Times
" Thanks, Mr. Underhill, for explaining in clear and witty prose why my shopping habits are not all that crazy. Now, please tell my wife!" -- Bob Gale, writer/producer, Back to the Future trilogy
"I'm in love. And if I didn't have a devoted husband, two kids and a crushing mortgage, I swear I'd throw caution to the wind and run away with Paco Underhill...fascinating." -- Rocky Mountain News (Denver)
"Why We Buy is a funny and insightful book for people on both sides of the retail counter." -- Michael Gould, CEO, Bloomingdale's
About the Author
Paco Underhill is the founder and CEO of Envirosell, Inc. His clients include Microsoft, McDonald's, adidas, and Estee Lauder. He is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He lives in New York City.
Most helpful customer reviews
148 of 149 people found the following review helpful.
Fascinating, though it ends badly
The first four parts of this book are absolutely fascinating. It's an in depth look at the psychology of shopping and it is exactly what the title promises. Underhill's company gets paid to spy on people in stores and see what they're doing wrong and right. The gems in this book are the anecdotes and the specific revelations about how any obstacle you put in the way of a shopper drops your sales figures. Any way you can make life easier raises your sales. This all seems sort of obvious, but most people running the businesses don't think it through.
One example is the entry zone at the front of the store - you'd think that's a prime location for signage, deals, brochures, etc. But when you're headed through the door into the store you see almost nothing and stop for almost nothing, and then (in America) you tend to drift to the right and then you're 'in' the store. If you put a store directory just inside the door, nobody uses it. Move it back a bit so you can find it once you're into the store and suddenly it's heavily utilized. He has hard observational data for all these, so they're compelling in addition to being fascinating.
And of course all the bad examples are great fun to read (seniors crawling along floors trying to read labels on badly shelved medicine), as are the descriptions of how different groups shop (male vs female, old vs young, parents vs. single, etc.) The whole book is pretty much a commercial for Underhill's company, but it's still informative and fun reading.
Where the book falls down is at the end, where a chapter on the Internet is shoehorned in and a perfunctory shout out to each of Envirosell's worldwide branches is included.
Even though I think he's more right than wrong, the whole Internet chapter comes across as a confused old guy muttering about how he doesn't get that new fangled rock music. He complains about how many review sites there are, for instance, and has no idea how much it can transform the shopping experience (and not just be a poor supplement). Worse, the book's entire premise is mostly about how you need observational data of real customers because they'll always do things you don't expect (can't argue there), but he HAS no data on this topic, so it's just not compelling. I can't help but think the whole chapter is just in there because 'we need something about teh intertubes'.
The 'Come Fly With Me' chapter must be in here because he needs to professionally backscratch all his international partners. It's pretty much useless and turns a mild commercial into an infomercial.
If I sound too negative, please don't take it that way - I'm just trying to tell you why this isn't a five star book. You have 220 pages of 'awesome and can't put it down' book followed by 40 pages of 'what the hell am I doing reading this' slog, then another 30 pages of fairly decent reading. If you don't read those two chapters, it's a five star book!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
I don't advise this book! Save your money & keep looking!
By Claire L.
I bought this book for my niece who is majoring in Marketing and Communications at Boston College. I decided to read it before I gave it to her. It was such a big disappointment!! I'm so sorry I bought it. To me, it seems like the author used it as a marketing tool to sell his own business services. It is very, very drawn out. He takes several pages to say something that can be said in a sentence or two. He keeps bragging about himself, but most of what he says and does can be done by any logical, analytical, intelligent person. I worked in retailing for 4 years while attending college and already knew most of what he wrote in this book. Again, too many pages, too little taught!! Save your money. There are much better books out there!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
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By Molly's Mom
Much of Paco Underhill's language and several of his references were so outdated and even "corny" that I couldn't shake the feeling that I was listening to an assessment of 1966 shopping trends.
Upon closer examination, I see that the book appears to have been published in 2000 while the audio version of the book appears to have been released in 2008. In the much accelerated context of information and technology, practically speaking, any market analysis that's 17 years old IS in fact, ancient history. I wish I could get my money back as this is a perfect case of Caveat Emptor.