What Women Want: The Science of Female Shopping

DIAMOND
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Senteo Rating 3.5
04/27/23
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Author:Paco Underhill
04/27/23
views 5792
comments0
Author:Paco Underhill
DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 3.5

What Women Want: The Science of Female Shopping
Paco Underhill, Simon & Schuster, 2010
Senteo’s Review information

Paco Underhill’s expertise has been shared once again, this time through his understanding of female shopping. What Women Want focuses on the female shopper and her growing presence in the global marketplace, identifying just exactly what constitutes the personality and needs of the modern woman shopper.

Rather than simply targeting women and their impact on retail sales, he specifically looks into how the needs of women have come to influence the evolution of the global marketplace. Identifying four key qualities – cleanliness, control, safety, and considerateness – as the overarching needs of women as a whole, Paco explores what constitutes a “female-friendly” environment. Concise, targeted, and actionable, these four qualities are the basis of the book and answer What Women Want.

Again, we are appreciative of Paco’s almost candid nature when it comes to writing. Much of what is said is not specifically drilled from literature or mined from a research article; Paco channels the information that he has garnered through walkthroughs of stores and personal experience with the target audience. This is valuable because it is realistic and candid, two qualities not always found in purely research-driven publications. What we found most memorable was the short, simple list of what women have come to desire and expect from the global marketplace. The introduction establishes an understanding of the primary points of the book, which emphasizes customer centricity by identifying with and meeting the needs of women, the target market.

As with our review of Call of the Mall, we have to point out Paco’s lack of solid numerical evidence that provides backing to his research. There are case studies and interviews that he cites as part of his research, yet it seems like a majority of the content is from his personal observations. Yes, this is a benefit in creating an honest book, but it does not help to validate his claims or findings. What we are lacking is the reinforcement of his claims through scholarly articles and research. At times the book seems to lack the depth that we found in Why We Buy, namely in that much of the important details can be gathered from the Introduction. Content in the bulk of the book goes into greater detail, yet fails to elaborate to the point where the content is truly actionable.

PACO UNDERHILL, the author of the hugely successful Why We Buy and The Call of the Mall, reports on the growing importance of women in everybody’s marketplace—what makes a package, product, space, or service “female friendly.” Underhill offers a tour of the world’s marketplace—with shrewd observations and practical applications to help everybody adapt to the new realities. As large numbers of women become steadily wealthier, more powerful, and more independent, their choices and preferences are transforming our commercial environment in a variety of important ways, from the cars we drive to the food we eat; from how we buy and furnish our homes to how we gamble, play, and use the Internet—in short, how we spend our time and money. With the same flair and humor that made his previous books universally appealing, Underhill examines how a woman’s role as homemaker has evolved into homeowner and what women look for in a home. How the home gym and home office are linked to the women’s health movement and home-based businesses. Why the refrigerator has trumped the stove as the crucial appliance. How every major hotel chain in the world has redesigned rooms and services for the female business traveler. Why some malls, appealing to women, are succeeding while others fail. What women look for online and why some retail websites, like Amazon, attract women while other sites turn them off. “The point is,” writes Underhill, “while men were busy doing other things, women were becoming a major social, cultural, and economic force.”

And, as he warns, no business can afford to ignore their power and presence.

Paco identifies and analyzes a very broad, yet very misunderstood market: women. This information is quite valuable to any retailer that markets items towards women as a primary target audience. The information itself can be used by retailers to improve the layout and offerings of stores to cater to this growing and powerful market. Marketers, too, can use the information to create campaigns that appeal to the specific needs of women. From a more general standpoint, businesspeople would do well to read this work and apply it to their understanding of the woman shopper in order to analyze the customer base and better assess their overall impact in the retail cycle.

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As with Why We Buy and Call of the Mall, What Women Want presents a research based attempt at understanding the customer – in this case women – and the trends behind their approach to purchasing products. Paco interjects with a few examples of the concepts described within his book, yet there are no clear signs that his intention was to provide the framework for application. Instead, he merely provides the research that may be interpreted and used to understand the female customer.

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    What Women Want: The Science of Female Shopping
    Paco Underhill, Simon & Schuster, 2010
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