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: 07/28/2016

    Has Nordstrom lost its customer experience edge?

    Agreed about merchandise selection. Most guys who can afford their shirts aren't looking for the "trim" or "trimmest" fit.
  • Posted on: 07/28/2016

    How should commissions work in the era of omnichannel retailing?

    Many will no doubt posit to do away with commissions. I think that's a mistake. The brightest and best have chosen to make their living selling a brand's wares and deserve to have their talent to build rapport, compare and contrast and make the sale rewarded. Leveling the pay field usually leaves the weaker players on the floor longer and dis-incents the best. Cathy's right, everyone is feeling their way. Just don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
  • Posted on: 07/28/2016

    Has Nordstrom lost its customer experience edge?

    Yes. After I wrote this blog Hey Retailers! Nordstrom’s Customer Service Problems Are Yours Too, I had a conversation with an executive there who agreed they needed to own the customer experience. It is subpar in every location.Just because someone wrote a book about them generations ago doesn't mean they can rest on their laurels. Yet that's what's happened. The long solution is to fix a culture where "Can I help you" has replaced creating relationships.
  • Posted on: 07/25/2016

    White lies, sales fibs and the customer experience

    While there are many things retail employees should never do, as I noted in my post Customer Service: 50 Things Retail Employees Should Never Do, I'm not sure this counts. Who is the arbiter of white lies -- between husband and wife, boyfriend and boyfriend, child to parent? Things happen. Customers just want information. Trying to hold them or your employees up as some mythical George Washington seems like a distraction when most retailers can't even train how to greet a customer.
  • Posted on: 07/25/2016

    7-Eleven makes history with consumer drone delivery

    **cough, cough** publicity stunt ... Right up there with the IoT tea kettle you can turn on from your smartphone. The rush to replace mom with things like this and many IoT devices may get clicks but there's no way this is profitable or scaleable or will be soon.
  • Posted on: 07/22/2016

    Will AI mobile apps replace associates on Macy’s sales floor?

    Mark my words. The more you get consumers to look down, the more irrelevant you'll make your brick-and-mortar experience.The idea that employees can be replaced by an app makes your store nothing more than a warehouse with very expensive stuff. It is hardly a growth strategy.
  • Posted on: 07/15/2016

    Will personal shoppers lift retail sales?

    Sounds like a lot of money and work to cater to a few. I have an idea. How about providing personal service on your salesfloor -- like customers expect?
  • Posted on: 07/08/2016

    Are in-store personalization tactics becoming less creepy?

    Personalization on a website is much easier to handle than in a store as I wrote in my post How Retailers Can Keep Up With Retail Consumer Trends.Say you’ve got a holiday party to go to. You go online and search for red sweaters. You see a couple sites but then get distracted wondering what you’re going to serve. You open another browser window and search for holiday recipes. You click on one using Myers's Rum and cinnamon. You closeout the browsers without buying or taking any other actions. When you come back to read the New York Times, you notice ads for red sweaters in the middle of articles. You go to another site and ads for red sweaters and Myers's Rum show up. Based on your previous browsing, you have been remarketed across the web with ads for Myers's Rum and red sweaters. For the web, most would say this was personalized content.Now, if you were in a store and they remarketed -- oops, personalized -- you with everything you picked up to look at, it might be like having a sidekick running around you screaming, “RED SWEATERS! RUM! CINNAMON! HOLIDAY RECIPES!”No human in a store would ever do that.For that reason, connecting web behaviors to in-store experiences is like telling a stranger in private your wishes then having someone give all of that to another stranger as the starting place of a conversation.No human would do that and no brand hoping to be authentic would do it either.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2016

    Dollar stores — they have the meats

    It doesn't discern between cooked and raw. If raw is a new trend, all it will take is one outbreak to make people question the low prices. Just like the restaurant offering half-off off "fresh" sushi. A deal is a great deal until someone gets sick.Dollar stores don't have the infrastructure to handle raw products.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2016

    Are out-of-stocks driving shoppers online?

    One could say the same thing about not finding someone to help answer questions, finding a lower price or additional options. This is nothing new except that when Amazon is out-of-stock, they show third-party vendors who can fulfill. Dick is right on -- trying to be everything to everyone leaves little room for being a reliable source for many things.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2016

    Can retailers sell anything without sales?

    The trouble is CMOs feel discounting scales easily versus training their employees how to sell which they feel doesn't scale. They're wrong.Unless you have a strategy to move the merchandise at full price, the discount lever simply won't work. They've trained the rats to wait for the cheese.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2016

    Amazon Dash gets a smart button rival

    As the Wall Street Journal noted today, "fewer than half of people who bought a Dash button since March 2015 have used it to place an actual order ... "This again looks like a solution hoping to find a problem. More providers of non-needed solutions for non-existent problems don't make it a good idea.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2016

    What’s the next step for content marketing?

    The next step for content marketing is video. Entertainment is merging with commerce. If you only have a shopping cart, you’re only speaking to the 1 percent committed to buying. For that reason, retailers looking to ride this trend are adding entire pages of video to their sites with unique URLs like challenges are the same as Big Data -- a lot of interest but where do we pull the money from when sales are soft?
  • Posted on: 06/21/2016

    Who will buy Neiman Marcus?

    Sorry, they have not "tried everything." Their customer service level on the floor is as disaffected, disinterested and average as a Kohl's in many locations when I visited them. The stores are cold and antiseptic.One could say that's what made them a "luxury" brand. Maybe, in the '50s, when women wore white gloves to go shopping. In 2016 a retailer must have a compelling, exceptional customer experience that is not only trained but hardwired into their DNA. Unless Neiman can change that, I see no one willing to buy yet another retailer trying to "go digital" and save their butt.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2016

    Why aren’t retailers closing more stores?

    Let's not forget the malls themselves. How many of them want a white elephant anchor location and what that means for their own viability? My guess? Zip.

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