How-To

Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping

by Envirosell - A witty and pragmatic report from the retail trenches on consumers’ tastes and habits - what makes them tick, what happens to people in stores, how to influence or change customers, and how customers change stores.

Paco Underhill, urban geographer and retail anthropologist, is the founder of Envirosell, a research and consulting firm that advises a blue-chip collection of Fortune 100 companies seeking to understand the behavior and motivation of the contemporary consumer. Envirosell films, records, and follows 50,000 to 70,000 shoppers through their retail experiences in stores, banks, and public spaces.

The overwhelming majority of purchase decisions are either made, or heavily influenced at the point of sale. If you walk in the door at CompUSA thinking Canon, and walk out with an Okidata, something has happened in the store. Research shows that 60-70 percent of what we buy in the supermarket is entirely unplanned. Now, for the first time in book form, Underhill explains for both the retailer and the shopper alike why a display that looks beautiful in the boardroom might fall on the selling floor, why women won’t shop in narrow aisles, why the Internet will not replace the shopping mall, how hardware stores are learning to adapt to women, how men are learning to shop like women, why pet food should be stocked on a low shelf but larger-size men’s underwear shouldn’t, how working women have altered the way supermarkets are laid out, why the person in charge at the bank sits at the desk farthest away from the front door, and much more.

About the Author

Paco Underhill has documented how people shop for such clients as McDonalds, Starbucks, Citibank, Levi Strauss and the U.S. Post Office. He has written for American Demographics and Adweek as well as numerous trade magazines, and has been profiled in The New Yorker and Smithsonian. His lecture series has been immensely popular on the meeting and convention circuit around the world. He is based in New York City.