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Why we buy : the science of shopping
Underhill, Paco.
Adult Nonfiction HF5415.2 .U53 1999

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Underhill, once a budding academic who worked on a William H. Whyte project analyzing how people use public spaces, adapted anthropological techniques to the world of retail and forged an innovative career with the consulting firm Envirosell. Since brand names and traditional advertising don't necessarily translate into sales, Underhill argues that retail design based on his company's closeÄvery closeÄobservation of shoppers and stores holds the key. His anecdotes contain illuminating detail. For example, since bookstore shoppers like to browse, baskets should be scattered throughout the store to make it easier for customers to carry their purchases. In clothing stores, fitting rooms are best placed closer to the men's department, because men choose based on fit, while women consider more variables. And he sprinkles in other smart suggestions: drugstores could boast a consolidated "men's health" department; computer stores, to attract women, should emphasize convenience and versatility, not size and speed; and clerks at luxury hotels should use hand-held computers to check in travelers from lobby chairs. Underhill remains skeptical about cyberspace retail, believing that Web sites can't offer the sensory stimuli, immediate gratification or social interaction available in brick-and-mortar stores. While the book does little to analyze the international, regional or ethnic dimensions of the subject, it should aid those in business while intriguing urban anthropologists, amateur and professional. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

The title for this treatment of marketing research in the retail setting is misleading. Underhill, founder of the behavioral research company Envirosell, summarizes some of the firm's conclusions about the interaction between consumers and products and consumers and commercial spaces. He lays claim to the research techniques of urban anthropology, but his casual, self-congratulatory tone and loose organization make the book inappropriate for academic use. Underhill breezes through anecdotes about how observing the mundane details of shopping improves retail sales, but there is limited grounding in the framework of his "science." Given the lack of recent titles on the topic, this is recommended for large collections with an emphasis on retailing.ÄPaula Dempsey, DePaul Univ. Lib., Chicago (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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