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: 05/05/2020

    Kristin’s farm-to-consumer model fills in food supply gaps at a critical time

    Hear hear. The local food movement is here to stay. We have to ask the tough question would you rather eat organic spinach that got picked two weeks ago in CA, or something picked a day ago, but without the national organic certification? The farmers market movement is no longer functioning under the radar screen.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2020

    Do malls need to add curbside pickup service to reopen?

    American malls are ripe for re-invention. They need to morph into ALLS -- housing, office, a COMPLETE mix of tenants. And may be have schools, libraries, churches, day care centers, doctor's offices and maybe government offices. There is no short term solution. It is a three year project.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2020

    Can Old Navy’s boss lead a turnaround at Gap Inc.?

    Most peoples' closets divide into uniforms and costumes. Uniforms are worn Monday thru Friday -- to work and to play. Costumes are worn on Saturday night and sometimes on Sunday. The Gap prospered when it was clear in-store, in visual merchandising, etc., that it was in the uniform business. The key is making it unambiguous -- you can wear this to the business casual office and/or that Thursday night date. Customers find a uniform solution and go back. Speaking personally as a tall man, there is not a single pair of pants at the Gap I can buy in-store -- they don't stock 36 inch inseams. Hope she can correct that!
  • Posted on: 03/06/2020

    Can Lassie save the mall?

    In NYC it is a health code violation to bring your pet into a retail location that sells food -- the supermarket, the drug store, the corner deli or a restaurant. No fine to the person with the pet, but to the store/restaurant manager. Yes, if the dog has a ADA tag it's allowed. That said, veterans groups are angry that ADA is being used by pet owners to take their animals into stores, airports and onto airplanes -- when the ADA was meant to assist those who had served their country and paid a price.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2020

    Target thinks small to succeed big time

    Retail has to follow housing trends. Many American cities are being repopulated. They are under- or historically poorly-served markets. Target like other national players needs to get local. 85 percent of the product mix stays the same - but the 15 percent needs to be well chosen. Anyone know what Banana Ketchup is? Or the importance in some markets of Halal meats?
  • Posted on: 03/02/2020

    Retailers go into business triage mode as coronavirus enters the U.S.

    The Mall at Short Hills was empty. More associates than customers in the Apple store. Costco in New Jersey was packed -- water, toilet paper, and paper towels flying out the door. There are still more people with the plain flu - which has a higher mortality rate. My cynical self says this is an event for day traders. Yet there I was at Costco with the crowds on Sunday...
  • Posted on: 02/26/2020

    Independent grocers need to make dramatic upgrades in marketing tech

    The challenge isn't the tech - it's using the tech to meet the challenge. How do you get local? How do you connect with your customers and service them (and educate them) better?
  • Posted on: 02/24/2020

    Should grocers just say ‘no’ to big CPG brands when it comes to shelf decisions?

    Catman has reached a crossroads. Time for the merchant and the brands to do a better job managing not just the plan-o-gram and shelf sets, but to understand the broader store better. How does Catman intersect with store design and visual merchandising?
  • 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.

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