I’m reading Paco Underhill again -I’d written about him before with respect to his book Call of the Mall which I believe to be absolutely required reading of anyone interested in retailing consumer products. The book I’m reading now is Why We Buy, The Science of Shopping and this title is just as compelling as the first. His writing style is frank, friendly and conversational. Each title is an easy evening read you’re certain to enjoy.
Consider this: with continual decline in mall attendance, the retail landscape must evolve. In Mr Underhill’s book, you can explore the demographic changes that successful retailers must implement. As manufacturers, it’s similarly imperative that you read this book -how else will you know how retail placement of your products and signage affect your sales? Similarly, demographic changes are pivotal. Consider the effects of single person households -as more men and women are remaining single, household appliances have become more masculine as men are buying more of them. Likewise, gender neutrality is welcoming women to the Home Depot’s of America, exploding the numbers of DIY-ers. Successfully reaching consumers in today’s market will mean adapting retail stores to mesh with the preferences of men. While it’s still true that men don’t like to shop (but they evidently do like paying for things and will pay full price) more women have begun to shop like men so traditional retail will not retain its edge through current strategies such as sales events. Lastly, the effects of an aging populace cannot continue to be ignored. As manufacturers, you can’t afford to miss these books. And I say that as someone who has always detested shopping with a passion –I hate shopping! I wish every manufacturer and retailer would read these books and follow their simple prescriptives. I figure that if you can get someone like me into a store and I can complete my trip successfully, you’ll be successful. Read these books!