Paco Underhill is the founder and CEO of Envirosell, a New York based research and consulting firm with offices around the world. He has spent more than 25 years conducting research on shopping behavior, earning his status as a leading expert and pioneer in the field. Why We Buy, originally published in 1999 has been translated into 26 languages and has sold more copies than any other book about retailing in history. This updated and revised edition includes three new chapters that focus on global markets, online shopping, and the latest ploys successful stores are using to sell their wares.

The first section examines the mechanics of shopping, the importance of layout and traffic in a store as well as the ways in which people move. The second section looks at the demographics of purchasing with pieces on the different shopping behaviors of men, women, seniors, and kids. The third part assesses the dynamics of shopping with observations on the placement of merchandise, packaging, and the role of the senses in purchasing something. The fourth section covers the culture of shopping.

Although we are not big shoppers we enjoyed and nodded our heads in agreement with Underhill's comments on the need for baskets, the better use of signs, providing more seating areas for customers. We found it interesting that people report dire effects of the "butt brush" effect in aisles so small that they are brushed or touched by other shoppers. We noted the statistics that only 72% of men read price tags on items in comparison to 86% of women. Equally valuable is the insight that stores should take seriously the aging of the public and the need to accommodate Baby Boomers with larger print on packages, better lighting in stores, and larger aisles for walkers and motorized wheelchairs. Of course, the economic downturn resulting in less consumer spending is sure to have a dire effect on stores and shopping behavior. Thrift shops may rise in prominence while well-known chains go out of business.