Bob Phibbs

President/CEO, The Retail Doctor

Since 1994 companies worldwide have turned to Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor® for the passion and expertise necessary to grow their sales. A professional speaker and author, he has frequently been called on to provide commentary on Marketing and Branding for MSNBC.

  • Worked with some of the largest retail brands in the world including Brother, Hunter Douglas, LEGO, OMEGA, Vera Bradley, Viking, and Yamaha.
  • Retail consultant with a proven track record of increasing sales 20-50% within months.
  • COO with a broad range of responsibilities creating a culture of exceptional experiences.
  • CMO of second-fastest growing company in Los Angeles two years running.
  • Built two successful businesses from scratch.
  • Author of “You Can Compete: Double Sales Without Discounting”
  • Author of “The Retail Doctor’s Guide To Growing Your Business”
  • Author of “Groupon: You Can’t Afford It – Why Deep Discounts Are Bad for Business”
  • Contributor AMEX Open Forum

Visit his blog at

Other Links from Bob Phibbs:

YouTube Channel

  • Posted on: 06/21/2017

    Will Amazon Prime Wardrobe change how Americans shop for clothes?

    Like many of these initiatives, I'm sure some people will use it. Is it a game-changer to buy more and more items and have them shipped? I'm not seeing it.Does anyone look at the enormous waste in all of this for the environment? And if this type of shopping was rewarded by customers, why did Nordstrom write off Trunk Club as a loss this year? In a world pressed for time this runs the opposite -- making customers select more, try on more and return more.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2017

    Why are so many associates being deprived of tech by their employers?

    Please, most employees have the tech tool of their own smartphone out more often than not on the sales floor. To say that they can all be trusted is naïve at best. Unless and until labor scheduling isn't done by algorithm but instead is done to provide a better customer experience, I don't see a big push to spend for the technology.
  • Posted on: 06/14/2017

    Who owns the in-store experience?

    Agreed wholeheartedly! Unless the money and initiative start at the top, there is no room for capital expenses. Operations should be leading the charge -- they see everything day-in and day-out.After visiting various Nordstrom stores that demonstrate the opposite of the Nordstrom Way I ask myself, if I can see it why doesn't anyone else? My guess is that they do but feel disempowered to do much about it. The easy route is to simply let managers manage tasks which can easily be seen. That's why we have so many pretty stores out there and low conversion. I actually had a woman with a clipboard at Restoration Hardware ask me to move so she could inventory some pillows. That was our entire interaction in the store.If Bezos can obsess on the customer experience, why can't the brick-and-mortar retailers? Look to the CEO, it just isn't that important ... obviously.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2017

    Would Nordstrom be better off private?

    I shared a recent experience at Nordstrom on my blog and the poor customer service wasn't due to Wall Street priorities. Twenty years ago the Nordstrom Way was "disarmingly simple: Use your own initiative to provide customers with exceptional levels of service. You’ll never be criticized for doing too much for a customer, only for doing too little. If you’re ever in doubt, err on the side of doing too much rather than too little.”I would suggest that their flagship sales declines have everything to do with employees erring to do too little to uphold that tradition. And with 30 percent of stock owned by the family, they own the customer experience being given. I don't see how going private fixes that.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2017

    Is UNTUCKit the next big thing in apparel retailing?

    Yes, there is no question that a pure-play e-tailer can open brick-and-mortar stores. The key is understanding the difference between online -- product, and brick-and-mortar -- customer experience. These startups have a leg-up on traditional retailers because they know exactly who their customer has been, what products sell well and which need additional help versus traditional retailers trying to figure out what will sell online.Such startups can scale easily as well since they don't have to or want to go to the mall picking up smaller stores vacated by the bloated retail footprint other retailers.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2017

    Are retailers selling their souls and giving away customers to Amazon?

    Totally agree. I did a quick search for a Lands' End men's white shirt and up popped a message pointing me to their brand. Desperate times lead to desperate measures but I agree with Ken. Amazon is a data mining company that sells stuff. Help them with their Trojan Horse and expect the consequences. Especially when something like 55 percent of search starts on Amazon.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2017

    Will virtual reality become the ultimate retail training tool?

    If you were waiting on predictable robots I'd say fine but, quite simply, shoppers aren't predictable and training as if they were misses the mark. As I've written in my primer on retail sales training, continuing to put devices before people does not build interaction skills.Do you want human-to-human contact in a store? VR is not the answer.Do you want basically robots who are not trained to look at people's eyes or build rapport? VR seems perfect.
  • Posted on: 06/02/2017

    Can Walmart workers deliver better last mile results on their way home from work?

    This seems like anything but progress for retail associates. Nordstrom used to encourage employees to deliver things on their way home. The practice stopped due to accidents and things going wrong -- who paid? I would think this would be the same thing.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2017

    Does an American Eagle Outfitters bid for Abercrombie & Fitch add up?

    If e-commerce is up so much, why do they need all the Abercrombie & Fitch stores? Even the Sears/Kmart deal made more sense for having known brands. Banking on more teen retailer turnaround sounds awfully optimistic.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2017

    Will J.C. Penney find success with its new B2B venture?

    It's a home goods chain not a commercial enterprise. What exactly does the value chain look like for a hotelier to buy from J.C. Penney? Hoteliers use commercial grade linens, not whatever is cheapest to manufacture. Count me on the concerned side as this is another distraction from the work they need to do by closing stores and training employees. If Walmart can do it, why not J.C. Penney?
  • Posted on: 05/22/2017

    How should self-checkout be incentivized?

    Exactly Cathy. Who wants to go grocery shopping and then be told what to do? It's like, whoa, am I on the schedule today? Add the nagging voice after every scan and I don't know who thinks this is humane or preferable for anything more than a pack of gum or a Coke.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2017

    How should self-checkout be incentivized?

    This topic comes back from the dead like Sears. As much as people try to make self-checkout personal, it isn't. It only takes one or two glitches and having to wait for some harried cashier to "fix" it to make customers feel stupid they picked the "quicker self-serve" option. No one ever uses the Lowe's self checkout near me for that reason. Once burned, customers are never going back. For a single item in a store where most of the items are similar it's fine, but most retailers aren't boutiques with only 100 SKUs.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2017

    How many training hours are appropriate for store-level workers?

    As an owner of a retail sales training company, this is a bit misleading. Online retail sales training programs can allow for less time but more strategy. Where once you had to get into a classroom for hour after hour to get something to stick, retailers can now get bite-sized training of three to five minutes that only require associates to be off the floor for 10 minutes a week.The actual content only has to be about an hour or so. There's nothing magical about training. It's not like the learner will find out the moon is really made of macaroni (Wow! that's amazing!) It all makes sense. But understanding and doing are two very different things. You don't train them for them to get it right once, you train them so that they can't do it wrong.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2017

    Are digital CX initiatives being lost on Baby Boomers?

    Ken, let me clarify -- we know what Boomers complain about. IBM just released a survey that said 88 percent aren't greeted. You'd think, wouldn't you, that this would be the lowest-hanging fruit a retailer could fix. Easy, right? But no. The second most reported pet peeve is shoppers not finding someone to wait on them and the third is the feeling that the retailer doesn't value their business (which is more complex). There are no easy answers but there are some fairly easy things one could fix if anyone cared to look at what shoppers are really saying.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2017

    Are digital CX initiatives being lost on Baby Boomers?

    As I wrote in Millennials, He Wrote: How Retailers Are Paying The Price For Ignoring Baby Boomer Customers, there are differences. The opportunity is to not disregard the generation most able to pay the bills and to find what works for them. Too much of marketing and customer experience is focused around solutions looking for problems when Boomers can articulate what bugs them quite clearly -- and few retailers work to fix these things, with solutions as easy as a simple greeting or showing they value a customer's business.

Contact Bob