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: 04/27/2017

    What can TripAdvisor bring to retail?

    One of my very first clients from nearly 30 years ago is still #1 in all of Orange County, CA on TripAdvisor. As I shared in this post What Retailers Can Learn From A Hotel Makeover [Case Study], that was out of more than 300 hotels including luxury properties. Yet the hotel had just 26 rooms, no pool, no concierge, no restaurant -- the people still make the difference.To this day customers love to share their experiences -- it has become "their" hotel. And it is free advertising when you do a great job.AAA used to be the authority due to their inspectors -- not now, we trust TripAdvisor due to the sheer volume of reviews. I could easily see TripAdvisor expanding into retail as Yelp is mostly a restaurant review site. The opportunity is in selecting places you don't already know. Once in the store I don't think the brand translates to toasters or dresses.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2017

    Can parking lots save the mall?

    When I was just starting out and the fax machine was cutting-edge, I worked in malls. Gradually they started adding "craft festivals" and all kinds of temporary kiosks into the hallways. This made it particularly tough to navigate on busy weekends and meant more people looked to get around things than looked at retailers. Eventually, they realized these were distractions and they were discontinued.I would say parking lot events are the same. You don't get people to malls in spite of the retailers - it has to be synergistic.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2017

    What customer service lessons can be learned from United Airlines?

    Bravo Paula! As I wrote in this post last week, Retail Is Not Dead But Stores Are Closing. How To Keep Your Store From Dying, yes stores are closing but it doesn't have to be you. You will be judged on the person you leave in charge for 15 minutes. The most common complaints of shopping haven't changed in 20 years, "I can't find anyone to wait on me," "No one greeted me," and "I didn't feel they even wanted my business." No app or shiny object will change that -- only training. Retail is being brilliant on the basics. That's not product knowledge -- that's the soft skills of how to engage a customer. I simply ask, "Are you doing everything possible?" For 90 percent of retailers the answer is decidedly, "No, we're just trying to hold onto our executive jobs."
  • Posted on: 04/24/2017

    Should Bloomingdale’s sales associates receive commissions for online sales?

    I'm sure I'm in the minority here as I actually did work retail, actually did work on commission and actually purchased my first house by a career in retail. I don't know the answer but the problem is very real when your whole compensation model needs committed, trained and experienced salesforces. To simply say, "oh, it's a new model and a sale is a sale" is naive. The argument against the worker demand is simply how hard it would be to track and reward every contact made with the brand. A plan for them might be to average an employee's annual commission plus salary for the past say three years and make that their salary. At a time brands need employees to differentiate themselves from a warehouse is not time to say, "Suck it up or we'll get someone who will."
  • Posted on: 04/19/2017

    Can McD’s succeed with commercials that don’t mention its name?

    Shiny object syndrome now used as PR. Yes you can get people to do something but does that result in sales or just more rats to the cheese?
  • Posted on: 04/19/2017

    Will Walmart reap dividends from training academies?

    Retail has always been about being brilliant on the basics. Choosing to train the basics is always brilliant. The future is not all bots and bytes but people. This isn't rocket science but it is a decision to control the experience within your four walls.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2017

    Are daily deal sites obsolete?

    Correction -- the world was THRILLED with Groupon. I was the lone wolf saying how it was a very bad deal for retailers and wrote this post: Groupon Review: Worst Marketing For Your Local Business- Case Study.There is no way this is profitable for anyone but Groupon. It degrades a retailer's USP and attracts bottom-feeders who will only shop when there's another deal.
  • Posted on: 03/31/2017

    An open letter to retailers from a Millennial: Fix your omnichannel!

    Let's be clear here. This is not a post about omnichannel. This is about a consumer who waited to buy an item. They saw the sale item and the retailer ran out of it. That's what sales are supposed to do.Could the experience have been better? Maybe. Retailers do not exist for people to follow merchandise down to the lowest price point.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2017

    Could an Amazon augmented reality store shake up appliance and furniture shopping?

    Amazon succeeds where it does not need people. Using VR with humans and knowing everything about the appliances is going to be much harder to do than selling online. To make the brand a player in the brick-and-mortar world it will take an awful lot of money and development for people and processes I don't think they currently have. This idea is anything but a slam dunk.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2017

    How can retailers foster staff enthusiasm for better customer experiences?

    Doug always has great tips. I would add that you have to hire people who are more comfortable talking to people than comfortable doing tasks. From that you can model that the "party is in the aisles," not behind the counter. Each customer is different and you never know who you could meet -- a celebrity, spouse, vendor or business contact.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2017

    Is ‘experiential retail’ taking a new form?

    Seriously? A group of hotels targeting Millennials who are notoriously thrifty?How about having someone actually greet a customer in your stores? Or getting to know them as a person instead of using a showroom like a museum? Retail is being brilliant on the basics -- your own four walls -- before you believe your own PR on something like this and believe it will sufficiently move the needle.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2017

    Will ‘ambitious store redesign’ lift Target to new heights?

    I applaud the design changes to try to differentiate shoppers -- much like online does. In certain urban markets I can see this working well. On the other hand, to Stephen's point -- I don't know that many shoppers who equate a quick trip with Target.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2017

    Lowe’s innovates because it has to

    As I wrote in yesterday's post, Cognitive Computing Is Transforming Online Retail - Where Does That Leave Physical Stores?, what I don't get is how online retailers are obsessed with every interaction point but physical stores aren't.I mean, how many retailers pay any attention to anyone coming into their physical store? Personalization is being human. It is great to have innovation labs if they have the goal to be more human. If they are merely a place to play with shiny objects -- and not convert more shoppers to customers -- they're an expensive indulgence.
  • 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.

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