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: 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.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2017

    Why in-store merchandising has to change

    If you're talking about grocery that may be true, but I'm still doubtful. Great merchandising can indeed make a difference as I wrote last week How Your Merchandising Can Influence Customers To Increase Retail Sales. Many retailers now think it is in their best interest to get people "in and out quickly." Sorry, those shoppers are much more likely to look at shopping as work and default to Dash buttons and online delivery.Many grocery stores have added Starbucks -- why? Convenience? No, the more someone lingers in the store, the larger the basket. It is the exact opposite of "get in and out." Self-service kiosks are still being ripped out because they promised to "get in and get out."The stakes are much higher for apparel and other retailers who are turning their stores more into warehouses.
  • Posted on: 02/03/2017

    Why do so few shoppers think of BOPIS as a ‘smooth’ process?

    Didn't we read here a few months ago that 40 percent of BOPIS orders are never picked up? All this to save shipping costs -- which are mostly free?They don't want to be waiting for deliveries? Do you think they're being inconvenienced waiting for Amazon?I don't see how this is a money-making initiative for many retailers and the idea to arm associates with cross-sell opportunities, when they really are order pickers, flies in the face of reality.
  • Posted on: 02/03/2017

    Is Macy’s about to be sold?

    Hedge funds it seems are only interested in wresting the legacy value out of retailers. Take a look at most any retailers that recently closed because they couldn't service the enormous debt they became saddled with. If someone did buy Macy's, which I'm still not sure is happening, I would expect any new owner to more aggressively close stores or sell off pieces.
  • Posted on: 02/03/2017

    Will a new staffing model improve Lowe’s customer service?

    Customer-facing improvements are the key to any retailer's success. Those who choose bricks over clicks are in a vulnerable position in a home improvement store to find what they need and often wonder if they got the best choice. And there are a bunch of people who don't really know specifically what they need so a robot probably won't be their first choice to interact. It would seem this article is about freeing up back office to be more on the sales floor which I would applaud. At 1 percent of the workforce, not sure how much that will help them beat Home Depot.
  • Posted on: 02/02/2017

    Is omnichannel cannibalization retail’s biggest challenge?

    Sorry, I don't ascribe to the theory that "retailers are burdened by their physical stores." A vast majority of profitable sales are still made in stores. One-third of online purchases are returned. Add in free shipping both ways and it's hard to say omnichannel is the way forward. With Target, Walmart, Macy's and Nordstrom trimming back the gusher of money thrown at this idea one has to ask why.If it weren't for those physical stores paying the bills, none of the boutique experiences like basketball courts, full immersive video, etc. -- for a few people to experience -- nor the reams of money in technology to try to beat Amazon would be possible.Maybe that's why this was my most shared post last week, How to Find Strength In Being A Brick and Mortar Retail Store. How about embracing the strengths of brick-and-mortar instead of deriding them at every turn?
  • Posted on: 02/01/2017

    Has Amazon fundamentally changed the way Americans shop?

    My dad used to say, "Watch out when the chickens come home to roost" meaning you have to face the consequences of your bad decisions. Shoppers are punishing brick-and-mortar retail after decades of neglect, slashed training budgets, diminished hiring standards and expectations, a couple of register pods that shoppers have to find and employees that are expected to run multiple departments. Heck, I was in a Macy's a few years ago that an employee told me was being run by only three employees.Retailers separated themselves from their customers long ago. As they are aggressively marching into various areas, Amazon is reaping years of neglect.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2017

    Should Macy’s have never gone national?

    I'd go one step further. Federated is responsible for the great beige-ing of mall retail in America. When everything is the same, nothing stands out. And the one thing that stands out for anyone when you mention Macy's isn't exceptional retailing, I'll bet it would be: coupons.I'd add one to the list of excellent points Lee included -- the loss of the career personnel in those regional players who trained employees on what the brand stood for and what "customer service" looked like. Derided as blue hairs, they often were the true brand ambassadors, not someone taking a pic on their phone.
  • Posted on: 01/27/2017

    Will drop shipping online orders deliver results for retailers?

    As I wrote in this post, What To Do When Your Retail Customer Service Fails Miserably, third-party vendors can be responsible for damaging a well-crafted service message. The problem often lies in transparency; the third party rarely lets the original seller into their system so they are blind to fix problems in as timely a manner as when they control everything.Add to that, many vendors are looking to go direct-to-consumer so the information they glean from drop-ships can come back and help them do just that with laser-like accuracy.
  • Posted on: 01/26/2017

    Do retailers need to work on making more emotional connections?

    Indeed, Ian!
  • Posted on: 01/26/2017

    Do retailers need to work on making more emotional connections?

    Mary Tyler Moore passed away yesterday. Her brand was defined by two roles and ultimately when people think of her they smile. The human connection she had with her other actors was genuine and fun. The human connections retailers' employees over the years have made are what drive a brand. Sorry, an "authentic voice" by charity work or an algorithm that spits out "authentic" messages is not the same. Cutting-edge authenticity is hiring people from a variety of experiences, training them well and rewarding them. Do that and you don't have to ask such questions.

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