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

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  • Posted on: 03/24/2017

    Can compete on experience over price?

    Sorry, you can't get there when the in-store experience is either a parroted "how are you today?" or nothing. Omnichannel isn't the goose that laid the golden egg -- just the one getting more attention as the in-store experience languishes.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2017

    Will the soy-in-chicken report sink Subway?

    They were able to distance themselves from Jared. I'm sure this will not sink Subway -- even if true.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2017

    Are Old Navy’s ads more effective sans celebrities?

    Let's be honest, when the last words are "All pants, jeans and tops up to 40 percent off" the ad is still just another SALE -- no matter who is or isn't in the picture.
  • Posted on: 03/10/2017

    Has proven that online sales are going to the dogs?

    As I wrote in my post How to Find Strength In Being A Brick and Mortar Retail Store, I’m always shocked at the number of pet stores bemoaning how they lose dog food sales to online retailers. They don’t seem to understand that their customers don’t want to lug home a 30-pound bag every couple weeks.If they established their physical store as their community’s source for pet food, then when pet owners came in to shop for something smaller they could build on that opportunity and set up an auto-shipment of dog food -- and replace the online retailer.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2017

    Are free returns a good way to drive online sales?

    The most telling words in this article are: Results may vary. Last week it was cited that 90 percent of retailers lose money trying to be omnichannel. Amazon reported they lost $7 billion on free shipping last year. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean it makes sense.Many retailers have suddenly gone out of business who embraced these as "necessary to compete." With online returns pegged at about 30 percent how in the world more retailers aren't focusing on the 74 percent who still shop in a store and maximizing that through retail sales training where returns run less than 5 percent baffles me.But then again people were touting that RadioShack could have a second life as well.
  • Posted on: 03/08/2017

    Is the sole proprietor toast?

    Thanks for this Brian. That anyone would ever speak to a small business group and give that message -- even if it is not said exactly -- is bulls***. I've done literally thousands of presentations to associations, chambers and dealer networks -- it is the last message anyone needs to hear: hopeless.I am tired of the endless parade of pundits who seem to get glee out of giving this message. America runs on small business. Period.When the small brick-and-mortar businesses go, so does your downtown shopping, so does the chance of being able to get out and meet others. While we seem to be moving to a stay-at-home economy there is still a huge amount of brands dependent on the eyes and ears of the smaller businesses that make up the web of community. Entrepreneurs don't aspire to be the next Starbucks or Staples or Lululemon, they just want to dominate their market. I think that is far from hopeless.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2017

    Should grocers open slow checkout lanes for seniors?

    I think this is more a cashier training opportunity than anything. If they get annoyed with an older shopper, it follows the older shopper will feel rushed. I would add it is a slippery slope to specific lanes -- how about one just for people who write checks? How about one for those with coupons? How about one for WIC? And what happens when the oldies lane is empty but you have a Millennial mother and kids? Does the cashier just stand there? You get my point -- at what point does segmentation add sales, and at what point would it be economically unworkable?
  • Posted on: 03/02/2017

    Has the retail industry upped its customer service game?

    I didn't find the questions asked in the survey but I'm quite skeptical true "customer service" improved with slashed training budgets and workforce budgets."Customer service" here could have meant that a customer could return anything without a receipt or get a discount just by asking, as much as it could mean they had an awesome shopping experience in a brick-and-mortar store.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2017

    Will the AWS outage make retailers think twice about cloud?

    It should give all of us pause, not just retailers. If that had been Visa, MasterCard or Amex out for four hours it would have been bedlam. The lack of transparency as to why it occurred in the first place makes all of us wonder how vulnerable commerce is in yet another way due to Amazon.
  • Posted on: 02/28/2017

    Has J.C. Penney pulled off ‘one of the greatest financial turnarounds in retail history’?

    This sounds a bit like "Mission Accomplished." Climbing out of the hole Ron Johnson created is good, but it's far from winning the marathon race that is retail in a hyper-fractured stay-at-home market.Look where the brand was five years ago and where it is now. Did they address the fact they are located in a lot of second- and third-tier malls with chains pulling out daily and with traffic slowing? Ulta is gaining on beauty so Sephora may not be the goose that laid the golden egg for long.
  • Posted on: 02/21/2017

    Are Boomers being ignored by retailers?

    As I wrote in this blog last year, Millennials, He Wrote: How Retailers Are Paying The Price For Ignoring Baby Boomer Customers the answer is a resounding yes.Product selection is one key. Trim-fit shirts and suits might look good on paper but older guys like me who can actually afford them don't like them. Next look at the sale pages of most retailers and you'll find them there, unable to fetch the premium price.Look at the quality of materials too. I can wash an $80 polo shirt at home in cold water and it looks like a midriff blouse in a couple washes.The herd instinct to follow anyone but the ones who most likely shop at brick-and-mortar stores -- the Boomers -- needs to change.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Is Amazon the most innovative company in retailing?

    Amazon has the luxury of innovating at a scale few can even dream of ... because they don't have the stodgy and cumbersome need to be profitable. Great when the stock market is betting you'll be last man standing to make it so.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2017

    Will Neiman Marcus find gold with its women’s plus-size pilot?

    One question: What took them so long? The days of the size-2 girl being the fashion standard are ending.
  • Posted on: 02/13/2017

    How price competitive does Whole Foods need to be?

    For gosh sakes, just own your products, cost more and stop trying to be both a luxury grocery store and "for the people." If you do, you won't use discount offers for Groupons customers which is a whole different customer base than the ones who built you. Add more luxury and service. I must say, the Whole Foods I visited recently in Downtown LA didn't feel very upscale, it was packed and the aisles were confusing. Talk less, do more. Pick a side and run with it.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2017

    Is personalization better appreciated online or in stores?

    We are being pushed and pulled to "connect online browsing to physical stores" as the best marriage ever. This survey tellingly shows consumers have little desire for associates knowing all of their browsing behavior and using it to somehow seem "personal." It's called the creep factor; a person who is not sincere but tries to win your approval by being nice to you. It doesn't work in dating or retail.

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