Friday, September 17, 2010

Why We Buy by Paco Underhills

Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping--Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and BeyondPaco Underhill is the owner of Envirosell, a company which studies the way that people interact with the goods and fixtures in retail environments, and he's written a book that is filled with his musings on retailers, shoppers, and merchandising. The admin at work was going to throw a pile of books away, if no one took them, so, like a hapless child in an animal shelter, I had to rescue one or two. Within a couple of pages, I ran across a spontaneous personal connection; Underhill worked with an architect who was responsible for the design of the international airport in Newark, NJ - I was reading those pages as I sat in that very airport.

Did you know that people instinctively slow down as they approach reflective surfaces? Seems to happen all over the world. I guess we're all a bunch of narcissists at heart.

The majority of us also have a rightward bias. When we enter a store, we automatically head to the right hand side of the store. We also will find it easiest to remove the item from a shelf that is to the right of where we're looking directly.

I had thought it was only me who had a problem with where (especially) grocery stores place their shopping baskets. I find myself halfway through my "just a couple things" list when I realize I should have gotten a basket, and have to make the trip back to the front of the store to get one, so I can finish shopping. Paco suggests that stores distribute them to multiple points within the store. Shoppers actually are proven to buy more items if they pick up a basket. If they have to juggle items, they'll just give up.

He talks about the "butt brush" efffect. If shoppers are in an aisle where there is a lot of traffic, and they receive some sort of physical contact from other shoppers passing by, they'll usually endure the first "brush" or two, but if it occurs more than twice, again, they'll give up on what they're looking at and move on.

Signage is quite important in the retail industry, but most of it turns out to be poorly designed, just because of the way we read and the natural limits on the time we spend doing so.

Most of the "mistakes" he talks about, I've seen happening, as I reflect on it. This isn't a buyer beware sort of book, nor is it a textbook for retailers, but it is an interesting series of vignettes about how we shop, and what makes us more likely to buy from a particular retailer, other than price, quality, or brand loyalty. An amusing and un-assuming read.

1 comment:

Badass Bookie said...

Hi there *waves*,

Just making my round via hop. I love checking out new blogs and visiting old ones becuase everyone has unique content! This week I'm trying to reach 325 followers and for every follower I get this week they will get one too!!! So hop one over!

Take Care,
Badass Bookie (Lisa)xx