Paco Underhill

CEO of Envirosell Inc., Speaker, NY Times Best-Selling Author

Paco founded Envirosell Inc. in 1986 as a testing agency for prototype stores. A consulting firm that does research, Envirosell has worked in 46 countries and with more than half of the Fortune 50 list. With branch offices in London, Milan, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo, Mexico City and Sao Paulo – it has a global reach. While prototype testing of stores, restaurants and bank branches is still 30% of its business, its largest clients in 2019 are technology companies trying to understand consumer behavior in store, in home, on the job, and on-line. Other clients include global Mall Developers, CPGs, Healthcare groups, Airports, Professional Sports Clubs, Theme Parks, Home Builders, Office Designers, and On-Line Agencies.

Paco is the author of popular books including Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping out in 28 languages and used in MBA programs, Design Schools and Retailing Training Programs across the world. His books and articles are used in English as a Second Language (ESL) textbooks published by both Oxford University Press and National Geographic. His newest book with a working title of The Future of Eating and Drinking will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2021.

As a speaker and presenter he has worked in 50 countries talking to merchants, marketers, bankers, technologists, hospital groups, government agencies and most importantly students. As the son of a diplomat who grew up around the world – he has a global perspective and believes in Edutainment – laughter and education are intertwined.

  • Posted on: 12/06/2019

    Do independent liquor stores need a rehab?

    We have long history working with the adult beverage industry. The challenge is understanding the local nature of their markets. Yes stocking mega brands is a no brainer, but once you get past Jack.... Another critical issue is about making women feel comfortable -- from the store hygiene to helping get the purchase to the trunk of the car. Men buy for themselves -- women buy as hosts.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2019

    Will Grinches steal Christmas from America’s front porch?

    The problem is only going to get worse. An e-commerce colleague related to me that she had a hundred packages left outside the front door of her Miami Beach Condo on Black Friday. In my own building the delivery issue is a hot topic at our co-op board meeting. The analog end to our digital world, at least in the USA, is on the verge of break down. The delivery engine works in gated suburbs, but in main stream America it is unsustainable and ecologically unacceptable.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Kroger brings the farm closer to the table

    Spend Monday night in Brooklyn at an urban farm. Basil and mint in shipping containers. One container equals one acre of crop. The most underused resource in modern big box retail is the crumbling parking lot that surrounds the property. It is not the solution - but it is the start...
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    CBD and plant-based meats are the next big things in store brands

    Marion Nestle, NYU professor and author of many books on food and food politics points out that plant-based protein concoctions are another form of processed food.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Will a hack ruin Macy’s Christmas?

    Both major merchants and brands are facing major breaches of consumer trust. It is a poison that is fueling shifts in consumer shopping patterns. As the analog results of digital flaws become more real - what will consumer response be? It is not just a Macy's issue.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Can a Soho pop-up relaunch Tupperware’s party?

    Anyone remember the Tupperware Blues song? Finding a way to teach good food storage is about controlling food waste. I don't care how they do it - but as the song says, "you need to burp the lid to make the seal secure."
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Are Americans ready for a DTC shopping holiday?

    Why not? Works for Alibaba. We like the idea of targeted internet shopping. It lets content be more directed and makes it easier for convenience-focused consumption. The only reservation is the 20th century lesson that sales are like heroin - used selectively it is a real high, used too often they become increasingly less effective and end up in costly addiction.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    Is the environment Amazon’s Achilles heel or opportunity?

    We cannot continue to deliver goods in the way we have. Drones, cardboard packaging, paper, plastic much less gas and labor. Outside my NYC office window, I can watch the analog reality of Amazon as trucks and boxes are sorted on the sidewalk -- next to the trash containers filled with the above.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2019

    Free next-day shipping hits Amazon in its bottom line

    I am deeply troubled by delivery issues. Outside my NYC office window, I see the sidewalk where someone is sorting Amazon packages. Urban streets are blocked, cars and trucks sit idling, the carbon footprint of same day/next day/two day delivery are environmentally unsustainable. However digital they may be at the front end, the view from the street is still 20th/19th Century analog. When and how are we going to get to a better solution/system? My 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2019

    Will customers get the ‘social proof’ they need from Fomo Storefront?

    Our research shows that customers will interact with screens only in specific places in the store - and that in-aisle placement often doesn't work. Where they do work is where people are waiting - a cashwrap line or outside/inside a dressing room. The danger in the U.S. is that screens in other places are play spots for bored kids and that the info they collect is flawed. We have been hired often to test interactive in-store systems and arrived to find the systems down. For the record, U.S. kids are interactive terrorists - European and Japanese kids are not as destructive ...
  • Posted on: 10/23/2019

    Will going fur-free move the needle on Macy’s brand image?

    How about leather shoes and jackets? We work with the ASPCA and other animal focused organizations - the issues are more complex.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2019

    Do angry shoppers make happier customers?

    As someone who started his career teaching in a Doctoral program in Environmental Psychology I could not disagree more. Sounds like a lab study transferred into real world retail - 40 years of research tells me it doesn't float.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2019

    Have Giant Food and Stop & Shop nailed ‘frictionless’ checkouts?

    The USA trails Germany and the Nordic countries in grocery checkout tech. Those markets have been driven to build and refine checkout often due to labor issues. Grocery labor in the USA is -- by global standards -- cheap and easy. I agree with many of the comments below. Checkout may be faster; the act of having to scan everything you buy in the aisle may not save you overall time in-store.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2019

    Will debt-free college make Chipotle the place to work in the restaurant biz?

    Nice idea.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Why are grocers still missing the mark with small food brands?

    This is one of the themes of the new book "The Future of Eating and Drinking" I am working on now. Yes we have a major loss of trust to many of the Global food brands. We want to eat better and healthier. We want to get beyond processed food. The farmers market is growing and the range of local products in that market has expanded -- the alternative grocery store that doesn't charge slotting fees is no longer beneath the radar screen. And those smaller brands are finding way to get their customers. My Ginger Juice from the Ginger People just arrived via the mail at my office....

Contact Paco

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