Here are the details for completing the Retail

1. Read “The Science of Shopping” by Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker, 11/4/96. Learn, in the article, about Paco Underhill’s observations.

2. Download the Retail Study form. Just click here to download.

3. Go to a store. I recommend a single shop (in a mall or standalone),
rather than a grocery,  department store, or an entire mall. Observe 2 or 3
shoppers. Take notes.

3.a. Complete the form. Be brief.

3.b. “SAVE AS” on your computer. (You must retain a copy, in case email fails.) When you “SAVE AS,” title it: 


For example, if your name was John Smith:


NOTE: You must use a late enough version of Adobe Professional. If you use Adobe
Reader, you will not be able to perform the SAVE AS steps, because you
cannot write to the document in Reader.  Doing your retail study on the school’s computers will prevent
this problem.
You can do a SAVE AS on them.

4. Attach this saved document to an email and send to

Frequently Asked Questions
Actually, some of these questions have been asked only once. But they are good questions, so here they are with answers:

Question: What’s the best kind of store to visit for the Retail Study?
Answer: A
store that is not too large, nor too complex. Grocery stores and
department stores are too complex. An entire mall (or “town center”) is
too complex. I recommend a store that sells one thing: like a clothing
store, a shoe store, a guitar store or a small bookstore. (It doesn’t
have to be any of these, of course.) If you work in a store, that’s a
good place to observe.

Question: How many people
should I observe in a store?
Answer: One can be enough. A few is certainly enough.

Question: May I use my own shopping experience and
observe my friends’ behavior?

Answer: Yes.
And it is also good to watch people you do not know. But, if you are
uncomfortable doing that, you can watch your friends and yourself.