Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy New
$9.55
  • List Price: $17.00
  • Save: $7.45 (44%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Why We Buy: The Science o... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping--Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond Paperback – December 30, 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 290 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$9.55
$5.29 $4.22

The Numberlys Best Books of the Year So Far
$9.55 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping--Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond
  • +
  • Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition)
Total price: $33.99
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

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

" Thanks, Mr. Underhill, for explaining in clear and witty prose why my shopping habits are not all that crazy. Now, please tell my wife!" -- Bob Gale, writer/producer, Back to the Future trilogy

"I'm in love. And if I didn't have a devoted husband, two kids and a crushing mortgage, I swear I'd throw caution to the wind and run away with Paco Underhill...fascinating." -- Rocky Mountain News (Denver)

"Why We Buy is a funny and insightful book for people on both sides of the retail counter." -- Michael Gould, CEO, Bloomingdale's

About the Author

Paco Underhill is the founder and CEO of Envirosell, Inc. His clients include Microsoft, McDonald's, adidas, and Estee Lauder. He is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He lives in New York City.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Upd Rev edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416595244
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416595243
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (290 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first four parts of this book are absolutely fascinating. It's an in depth look at the psychology of shopping and it is exactly what the title promises. Underhill's company gets paid to spy on people in stores and see what they're doing wrong and right. The gems in this book are the anecdotes and the specific revelations about how any obstacle you put in the way of a shopper drops your sales figures. Any way you can make life easier raises your sales. This all seems sort of obvious, but most people running the businesses don't think it through.

One example is the entry zone at the front of the store - you'd think that's a prime location for signage, deals, brochures, etc. But when you're headed through the door into the store you see almost nothing and stop for almost nothing, and then (in America) you tend to drift to the right and then you're 'in' the store. If you put a store directory just inside the door, nobody uses it. Move it back a bit so you can find it once you're into the store and suddenly it's heavily utilized. He has hard observational data for all these, so they're compelling in addition to being fascinating.

And of course all the bad examples are great fun to read (seniors crawling along floors trying to read labels on badly shelved medicine), as are the descriptions of how different groups shop (male vs female, old vs young, parents vs. single, etc.) The whole book is pretty much a commercial for Underhill's company, but it's still informative and fun reading.

Where the book falls down is at the end, where a chapter on the Internet is shoehorned in and a perfunctory shout out to each of Envirosell's worldwide branches is included.
Read more ›
1 Comment 137 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
When the author sticks to reporting on the things he's observed over many thousands of hours of watching actual shoppers shop, this is an informative useful book. My partner sells pottery out of a studio/gallery and we found much of the data Underhill presents relevant to our experience selling.
However, once he runs out of facts a couple of chapters into the book, Underhill pads the rest of the book out with opinions, and this is where the problems begin. While he may be an excellent observer, Underhill is a poor business analyst. He doesn't understand the dynamics of many of the businesses he comments on. Many of his suggestions are embarassingly ignorant of the realities behind the businesses he discuss, or, worse, suggest--as if he invented the concepts-- that companies should do things that they have already been doing for years.
His chapter on the Internet is a perfect example of both of these criticisms. As someone who has designed and run a successful internet sales site for 5 years I wasn't sure which was greater--his ignorance or his condescension to those of us who have actually done the pioneering work he snipes at.
So read this book with the understanding that Underhill is a pretty good anthropologically-trained note taker,whose observations have turned up several things of interest to the retailer, at the same time that he is a pathetically bad business consultant and would-be futurist, with a pathological need to self-promote and a very annoying prose style.
Comment 68 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This is a book both McDonalds and Ralph Nader would love. In this book, Underhill suggests different methods to maximize retail sales. Some include, for example, common sense solutions such as raising or lowering products so as to fall within the person's view range. Others are based on his research, such as putting a product you're pushing to the right of the best-seller. Many people will gravitate to the desired product (think of it as the magician's trick of "forcing" a card).
The book further discusses the different age groups, family configurations, and genders, and how they shop, maximizing the efficacy of signage and packaging, etc. It has many hints to increase sales over short and long periods of time.
It also advocates making stores more family-friendly. As a parent that has failed to successfully negotiate the Gap Kids' fixtures with a stroller and thus decided not to shop there again, I heartily agree with Underhill's suggestions.
Consumers should also read this book to understand the insiduous (and fascinating) means retailers are using to manipulate them into further purchases. We all know how playing Christmas music is supposed to get you in the mood to buy more. This book details different subtle ways in which retailers are modifying their stores to entice you to buy. My favorite: placing a hopscotch game on the cereal aisle, forcing parents to slow down and become more vulnerable to kids' requests for the latest Sugar Bombs. If you feel that retailers are the enemy, this book will provide further proof.
Comment 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be interesting, if not mind-blowing, with a lot of basic observations about the shopping experience and the need to make measurement a fundamental part of the way we approach business. The book treads a line between feeding you specific anecdotes and findings from Mr. Underhill's research and giving you a framework for thinking about measuring and tuning your business, but it doesn't commit fully to either path. You may be left feeling like there were not actually that many interesting examples nor was a methodology sufficiently fleshed out to be useful.
I view this book as the non-scientific underpinnings of a science (contrary to the sub-title of the book). Mr. Underhill seems like the gentleman scientists of a couple hundred years ago, making excellent and valuable observations, but not having clearly articulated a scientific method that can be applied broadly. This book is certainly worth reading (and for some it may be a real eye-opener), but I feel that a definitive text on the study of buying behavior has yet to be written (or, at least, discovered by me). In favor of this book, it is a fairly easy and quick read, where perhaps a more comprehensive book would not be as accessible. Consider it ...
Comment 64 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping--Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping--Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: off the charts