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Paco Underhill: The Call of the Mall

[ photo: Paco Underhill ]

The Call of the Mall

Paco Underhill '75 can tell you what percentage of the men who take jeans into the fitting room in a department store will actually buy them (65%), and what percentage of the women will (25%). He can tell you whether people looking to buy a computer are more likely to make a purchase before noon or after 5 p.m. (4% as opposed to 21%). And most important, he can tell you how to position your displays to avoid the negative impact of the "butt-brush factor."

Founder and managing director of Envirosell, Underhill has made an exact science of shopping behavior. Using an array of techniques and equipment, including video cameras, qualitative observation techniques, mapping programs, and attitudinal interviews, Envirosell analyzes shopping behavior for clients like Bloomingdales, MacDonalds, Starbucks, and Estee Lauder. Underhill has been profiled in Fortune, Smithsonian magazine, Fast Company, and the New Yorker and featured on A.B.C.'s "20/20" and C.B.S.'s "48 Hours." He's also written a couple of very insightful and entertaining books - Why We Buy (Simon and Schuster, 1999), which became an instant bestseller (over 100,000 copies sold, published in 25 languages), and in 2004, Call of the Mall. If you want to find out what the "butt-brush factor" is and how to avoid it, read Why We Buy, "Chapter 1: A Science Is Born."
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