Paco Underhill's book about shopping is a really entertaining read and full of interesting nuggets. I was reading it from the perspective of someone who is professionally involved in "shopper marketing" (to use the latest buzzword) but I honestly think even if you were not but had any interest in the psychology of shopping, it would still have much to recommend itself.
For a start, it is very engagingly written and easy to digest which is not always the case with texts based on market research, and lacks the pomposity of some of the other authors on this subject.
The topics covered range from the difference between the way men and women shop, to the way people navigate round stores, to the placement of products on shelf - all pretty fundamental stuff if you are involved in retail in any way, but fascinating even if you are not. Most of the chapters are peppered with anecdotes sourced from Underhill's long experience carrying out in store "tracking" of customers, which really bring the subject to life.
I nearly gave this five stars but docked one, perhaps a little meanly, on the basis of two things.
One is the underlying, though understandable and forgivable, sell that Underhill is making for his company Envirosell (there I've given it a plug!) and his company's approach to measuring shopper behaviour. Which is laudable but impractical for much of the market research world, dependent as it is on highly skilled and highly trained observers.
The other is the fact, as other reviewers mention, that the last couple of chapters are definitely weaker than the rest of the book. In my view, this is because the bulk of the book does draw heavily on actual observations and experience, whereas the latter chapters are largely based on Paco Underhill's point of view. Obviously that's a point of view that has more than a little substance and merit, but still compared with the rest of the book, it's a little soft.
Still on balance this book is a well justified best seller, heavy on substance but written with a light and easy touch.