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Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping [Paperback]

Paco Underhill
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: £11.43 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Dec 2008
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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Upd Rev edition (30 Dec 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416595244
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416595243
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.3 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"At last, here is a book that gives this underrated skill the respect it deserves." -- "The New York Times"

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
First let me give you some information about the context in which I read this book. I am starting out small in e-commerce and in doing so I'm reading up on just about anything that can give me some ideas or knowledge. This book caught my eye and I thought I'd give it a try.

For "normal" retailing this book must be solid gold - having read it I now constantly find myself thinking about signage, store layout, point-of-sale location, clerk density, etc. This is something I never did before and it is now obvious even to me that a lot of stores absolutely misses out on basics. The book is easy to read and provides a good mix between anecdotes and principles. The book is well structured and it feels like it covers just about every area in retail you can think about in a well researched way.

The book's weak point, by a landslide, are the chapters on Internet and global retailing. These chapters seem added in a rush and feel like they have been forced into the book by the publisher just to get a "new edition" out in bookstores. The opinions stated in the Internet chapter in particular seem counterintuitive, poorly backed up and downright uninformed. E-commerce as a whole has not improved since 2000? Amazon (and Internet retailers in general) does not provide good recommendations for their users? I might be overreacting slightly given my context as a reader, but I was almost bemused by the poor quality of these chapters in comparison with the rest of the book.

I'd rather not have read the latter chapters because I think they tarnish an otherwise excellent book. In the end though I certainly recommend this book to anyone interested in retailing or business.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent book, both for retail experts, who need to go back to the basics, and for complete newbies, who need to start there. I'm somewhere in between and, for me, there were three great themes running through this book...

Firstly, it explains, with many great examples, how tiny things can make a huge difference. Of course, this idea is well known, as the butterfly effect, tipping point etc, but it's so beautifully visible in retail. They don't say "retail is detail" for nothing!

Secondly, it shows that, while most of these details are common sense, they are still being missed all the time, because you simply can't see them in the Board Room. You have to go on to the Shop Floor and see what's happening on the ground. That goes for all industries, but again, it's so visible in retail, and Paco has all the examples to prove it.

Lastly, Paco's book, which includes a lot on his personal life, shows that true dedication leads to true expertise, and there's just no beating true expertise! Yes, as a previous reviewer points out, he does use the whole book to advertise his company, but, in my opinion, there's no harm in demonstrating that you're good at what you do. How else will people know about it?

Having said that, I agree with other reviewers, that the last 4 chapters, about the Internet and global retailing, are a bit disappointing, after you've read the first 16. In the Internet chapter, Paco expresses some interesting opinions, but it lacks the scientific basis that gives the book its subtitle, and doesn't really answer the big question: how bricks and clicks will co-exist in the future. Perhaps Paco should write a sequel with someone, who knows clicks as well as he (Paco) knows bricks.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought 13 Aug 2010
By Loubee
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
All paco is worth reading
Published 1 month ago by Guilherme Alves
4.0 out of 5 stars Forewarned is forearmed
I read this fascinating book in one sitting. Forewarned is forearmed - so this is not just for the retail trade. Read more
Published 15 months ago by alexandria1121
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant product
does what it says on the cover, well researched and very well written, took it on hols and she who must be obeyed was cross initially but then she read it from cover to cover,... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and must read complementing Martín lindstrom
Bible of today's entrepeneurs. Basic knowledge to base on new philosofy of business. Common sense guide. Discovering the obvious .
Published 20 months ago by ruben garcia
3.0 out of 5 stars Could do better
I want to love this book, I really do, but I can't help but feel Paco Underhill has taken me for a bit of a mug and instead of buying a book filled with tips for increasing... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Craig
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good informative book!
I purchased this book (Polish edition, but my husband has an English copy, as well) during my Fashion Management studies in order to learn more about buying habits of customers... Read more
Published on 16 Oct 2012 by magdabf
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, informative and engaging for expert and novice alike.
I was recommended to read this for a module on retail marketing and I have not been disappointed. For a retail student or practitioner this book is full of practical examples and... Read more
Published on 23 Jan 2012 by Jack C
3.0 out of 5 stars A mix of great information, and outdated useless junk
Alot of this books information is very good, but I find it hard to see what sort of person or business it could benefit, as most of the information is just regarding previous... Read more
Published on 15 May 2011 by Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars why we buy
Fasinating book I could not stop reading this and thats from someone who is not a big reader at all.
well worth a getting if you are in sales or retail
Published on 14 Dec 2010 by Coleman keith
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
The book is a must read for anyone who is studying or working in retail and marketing. The format is great not like a boring textbok it's almost like a narrative. Read more
Published on 18 Nov 2010 by Calum
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