Book Reviews of some priceless books..!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why We Buy - The Science Of Shopping...!

I can never forget the beginning of the year 2008 - company of amazing friends, pulsating tracks from YellowCard amidst scintillating fireworks, sumptuous food & my euphoric spirit - thoughts about Jan 31st, 2007 night lights up my otherwise serious face ;) Anyways, let me come back to the real world where every moment can be a pleasant surprise - only if we are attentive enough...! I picked up this amazing book by Paco Underhill at the airport. Honestly speaking - the book cover interested me a lot which is why I grabbed this bestseller. Reading this book was quite a learning experience for me for reasons more than talks about the esoteric "Science of Shopping". Paco Underhill explains the shopping phenomenon that often go unnoticed by retainers & shoppers alike and tries to find what makes the contemporary consumer tick..! Some of the questions this book tries to answer are:
  • How working women have absorbed the way supermarkets are designed?
  • How a well-placed basket can turn a small purchase into a significant sale?
  • What kinds off signage & packaging turn browsers into buyers?
  • What is "Common Sense" design of a store?
  • What makes shopping a great experience?
Why we Buy - is a remarkably fresh guide offering creative & insightful tips on how to adapt to the changing customer in this ever complex world which is full of brands enough to confuse a customer than appealing him. To me the book turned out to be a fascinating voyage illustrating the psychology of modern retailing & shopping. This thought provoking book is divided in following 4 sections and walks one through true psyche of a consumer.
(i) The Science Of Shopping
(ii) The Mechanics Of Shopping
(iii) The Demographics Of Shopping
(iv) The Dynamics Of Shopping
I loved the way Paco analyzes common incidents which all of us observe on a daily basis. Here's one of those:
"While studying a cosmetic section of a store in Manhattan, we watched a woman approach a wall rack, study it carefully & then try to reach a mascara placed a little high on the rack. Good that she managed to grab it - only to feel disappointed a little later that the mirror was placed out in rack's front. And disappointed, she leaves the rack. In this case, Underhill ascertains - that the logic should have dictated that the displays should always be tailored to the shoppers who use them , not to the designers to made them. Also, Women - while reinventing themselves before a mirror prefer a little privacy - only if Store designers were a lil' careful - the woman in discussion would have definately bought the item."
Another beautiful example he mentions, is about the Commuters on the run in say Chicago / NYC. Communters, he says normally glance at the newstands (for less than a second) to see how crowded it is and if it looks as though they can breeze in, they'll stop. Which explains why proper proactive planning / design can increase conversion rate by a decent amount.
Likewise, the book talks about many everyday experiences-at SuperMarkets, Bars, Restaurants, Banks, Online Stores etc. You are sure to get impressed with every chapter and thus we recommend this book to all our readers. For us was an eye opener in many ways...!
Finally, the Underhill's advice of Sign Boards (I loved it):
  • Design to Instant Audience Attention
  • Present Message in a crystal clear logical fashion
  • Deliver information in a way people absorb

And did we forget to wish all our readers "Happy Valentine's Day" - may you spend nice time with treasured friends today and may your days ahead be full of positive adventures....!