The Inside Scoop

One expert's take on today's retail scene
This story first appeared in the July 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Paco Underhill, consumer behavior pioneer and founder of Envirosell, a global research and consulting firm based in New York City, has followed up his international bestseller Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping with the new title Call of the Mall. Here, he shares a few retail insights:

What's one critical trend today's retailers need to watch?
Paco Underhill: A store is a 3-D brand. Everything that's there has to be there for a reason. The way the independent merchant survives is by doing it better or by being more nimble or creative.

So what makes a store "good" today?
Underhill: Entertainment. Being on top of fashion trends. Recognizing that people are more time-poor than money-poor. One very key concept now is value trending, where you give people the excuse and opportunity to trade up. With value trending, you have an item for $12 and a similar item for $17. You have the option to buy either; but there are benefits to buying the more expensive item, such as better quality.

Should nonmall retailers be watching their local shopping centers?
Underhill: It's critical for any merchant to recognize that they're in a bar fight for dollars. They have to be conscious of trends across the merchant spectrum. Go check out Sam's Club, but also check out the new Bulgari.

Entrepreneur Coaching
Entrepreneur Coaching
START, RUN, or GROW your business with step-by-step help from our coaches! Get Started
View Comments (0)