Why We Buy

BY PACO UNDERHILL

 

SYNOPSIS

Why We Buy is filled with decades of research into customer behaviors. By watching customers as they move through stores, Underhill has been able to come up with good advice backed by science.  Marketers and retailers will find information from merchandising to statistics and learn exactly how customers behave when they shop.  Readers will learn how long customers stay in stores and how to increase that amount of time, resulting in more sales.  Most of all, they will learn how to use this advice to turn browsers into buyers.

 

SUMMARY

Filled with research results like “21% of browsers will buy a computer on Saturday at 5 o'clock”, Why We Buy explains the psychology of shopping and how to use it to get more sales.  The book is laid out in three sections. The first section is about the mechanics of shopping and what customers expect in a store layout.  The second section focuses on demographics.  The shopping behaviors of men, women, children, and seniors are all different, and this section explains why. Retailers can use this information to make buying easy for each group. The third section is about the dynamics of shopping, from product placement to standing in line.

Mechanics. The longer customers spend in a store, the more likely they are to buy. This section teaches how to keep them in the store longer by creating a comfortable place to shop. Narrow aisles may seem to be making the most of the space available, but the “butt brush” effect, where customers are just too close to be comfortable, says otherwise. Having seating for customers may seem like an extra expense, but Why We Buy proves that having somewhere to sit down keeps customers in the store longer. From the parking lot to the back of the store, the mechanics of shopping tells retailers a lot about how customers feel when they are in a store. 

Demographics. People shop in many different ways, and this section teaches what to do about it. Women spend the most time in a store when they are with another woman and the least amount of time when they are with a man. This kind of information gives retailers a chance to see where they can improve for customer groups. Retailers will learn not only how each group shops differently, they will also learn what each group wants. Retailers who understand what their customers want will have an almost foolproof checklist for creating a personalized shopping experience for each customer and increase sales.   

Dynamics. Much of this section relates to the other two by teaching retailers how customers see the overall store environment. This section talks about the 'sensual shopper' and teaches retailers how to appeal to as many senses as possible for more sales. Examples like the smell of fresh baked bread sells more bread, provide retailers with an opportunity to find 'sensual' shortcomings and fix them. Waiting in line can ruin an otherwise great shopping experience and this section teaches retailers how to use distractions to make it easier. These, and other practical approaches, teach retailers how to effectively “market” to all five senses.

Why We Buy reveals the science of customer behavior, but most of all, it teaches retailers how to make buying as easy as possible for their customers.