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: 12/02/2016

    A small retailer makes a bold move against big chains

    I started my business as the Retail Doctor 23 years ago bashing Starbucks which you can read about in my case study here. We emphasized local without saying "pity us." These guys seem to be doing the same thing. It's always great to market against the devil when you're the angel. I applaud their creativity. I might add my client's sales went up 50 percent the first year and 40 percent more than that the second and led to a profile the New York Times. People love the story of the little guy beating the big guy.
  • Posted on: 12/01/2016

    Click and collect and ship-from-store change associate job descriptions

    I can't imagine a quicker way to say you are in a dead-end job than by making you a warehouse picker in a retail store. I think the divided loyalties between online and in-store plunge customer service levels at peak times. With an earlier RetailWire story reporting that abandonment issues on BOPIS are running upwards of 40 percent I have to ask how effectively this could be managed and I wonder how this will impact turnover rates.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2016

    Will sales promotions be the death of department stores?

    As I wrote in one of my most-shared posts, Millennials, He Wrote: How Retailers Are Paying The Price For Ignoring Baby Boomer Customers most department stores have thrown Boomers under the bus and have expected us to respond to endless coupons and trim-fit shirts with abandon. He's right but it will take a team of people to get the experience human-to-human first, not tablet-to-Apple Pay first. You have to earn our business -- we're not rats to the Velveeta cheese of discounts. We're hungry for something better.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2016

    How badly will Macy’s be hurt by its Black Friday outages?

    Agreed, but one could say server overload is nothing new. The more bells added, the more impatient customers become with the promise of easy online and in-store apps and the miss is infinitely magnified across all channels. Our discussion today is evidence to question going to Macy's online.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2016

    How badly will Macy’s be hurt by its Black Friday outages?

    Sorry, no technology will be as reliable as being there. No AI shiny object will drive sales when it is overloaded. Free shipping means nothing on December 25. No mobile-first strategy is foolproof. Saying put more money into it to fix it now seems a bit naive -- I didn't read about Amazon's outages ...
  • Posted on: 11/28/2016

    Online wins the Black Friday weekend again

    Not so fast. Returns are important to online shoppers. A ComScore study found that 60 percent of customers read a company's return policy and 80 percent are influenced to buy or not based on what they find.Maybe that’s why apparel returns, in particular, run between 25 percent and 50 percent. Maybe that’s why buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) is yielding 30 percent to 40 percent of non-pickups.With 71 percent of buyers shopping online because they want to get a better deal, they only bought items based on price ...While an increase in mobile is inevitable, without the return figures running four to 10 times what they are in a store, adoption is only half the story.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2016

    Has Best Buy solved the Amazon riddle?

    Mr. Joly dumped nearly half of his company stock over the summer, and Sharon McCollam stepped down as chief financial officer after three years on the job. I think it's a bit early to say they've solved the Amazon riddle.People are out shopping again and that's good. I just wonder after a sub-par buying experience there if they aren't settling for crumbs when they should be having a feast.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2016

    Here’s one way retailers can measure cross-channel influence

    That was a great insight to learn. I'm wondering what a brand would do with that information though. Would they decide to leave the store open? I doubt it. The metric I wish someone -- anyone -- would measure is the cause and effect between store employees and cross-channel sales. The one staring in your eyes when you walk into a store determines how likely you'll return to the brick-and-mortar store as well as the online version. I would posit that the influence over shoppers and their friends is much larger than anything to be gleaned in bits and bytes.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2016

    Retailers go beyond (below) price-matching for the holidays

    There's always somebody cheaper, always.The race to the bottom on pricing for a minority of shoppers who enjoy this won't mask the fact that for most, shopping in stores is work, lonely, and something they don't enjoy doing. If you want to compete, you create an exceptional experience for everyone who walks into your store that day.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2016

    Are retailers carrying enough inventory for Christmas?

    If you had posed this a month ago I would have said yes. With the shocking election results still reverberating around the world, I think retail could be in for a rockier holiday than anyone anticipated.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2016

    Can revenue-sharing programs save independents?

    The biggest problem bike shops have is an "ant hill" mentality which means they only take care of those who they already serve. I like the idea of Ibex but doubt it will influence many others. Why? Because the manufacturers are hurting from the "ant hill" approach as well. To grow their businesses they need to partner only with brands who get that and provide an emotional sale full of possibilities or go direct. No brand can afford an "ant hill"-only approach.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2016

    What should stores do about BOPIS abandonment?

    If 30 percent to 40 percent of BOPIS orders are abandoned, the metrics saying it is necessary and preferable need to reflect that. "Credit for the sale" will be with us for the foreseeable future with a battle between online and in-store. If associates are supposed to run around the store speedily picking orders -- at the expense of customer service to those who actually DID come to the store -- and 40 percent are wasted ventures, I'd say that's counterproductive. In fact, I'd say that's dumb -- especially when ship-to-store is included in the mix.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2016

    Review site showrooms online-only brands

    I must be getting old -- we used to simply call these stores.
  • Posted on: 10/28/2016

    Is Black Friday doomed to extinction?

    Black Friday existed before Amazon, Groupon and Pokemon as a way to juice sales with discounts. With the always-discounted retailer always available, the substance of Black Friday is gone, even if the marketing is still around.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2016

    Should high-end brands avoid Amazon?

    This will be the litmus test for brands. Those struggling will continue to go down-market and become available everywhere. Those who are in it for the long run will eschew Amazon and the rest to remain exclusive. Part of the reason Michael Kors and Coach are struggling is overexposure. There needs to be fewer luxury stores in the world but better ones.

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