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: 07/21/2017

    Did Amazon just send Sears a life line with their Kenmore deal?

    If Kenmore still meant something this could be good but, like apparel, most people want to come in and see for themselves about appliances before they buy which is why J.C. Penney added them. A damaged brand attached to damaged brand in a cutting-edge marketplace does not delay the inevitable for this zombie retailer.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2017

    Why do so many people love shopping at Ace Hardware?

    What a great testament to their drive to live their brand image, starting back when Connie Stevens crooned that "Ace is the place with the helpful hardware [man]." Without a relentless commitment to that at the top, it would never be possible for their affiliates to effectively represent that brand in countless markets. Would that translate to a Geek Squad of their own? Doubtful -- too many brands believe everything translates equally.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2017

    Are retailers measuring omnichannel all wrong?

    To what end, though? Spend all the time to connect all these dots? That's actionable? If your website is doing a good job, great copy, free samples of material, etc, does more time on the site equal more engaged? Just like when in person, at some point you have to ask if the measuring is more important than the objective. And that "how" you'll get that full picture seems awfully hard to make actionable.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2017

    Should store associates be allowed to use their personal devices?

    I've seen these policies that associates can use their own devices but only for work. It simply doesn't work in the real world with the employee's phone on the desk chirping and clucking drawing their attention or, when it's slow, drawing them back to the much more engaging virtual world. We didn't let employees use store phones for personal calls, I don't see this as much different.How about training your employees so they know what they are selling and how to do it efficiently instead of assuming more technology is the answer?
  • Posted on: 06/28/2017

    Can fitness classes wake up retail store traffic?

    Following in the failed footsteps of Ron Johnson as seen in this article doesn't seem smart.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2017

    Will Sears get traction with its new appliance and mattress store concept?

    In a world of Casper and crowded marketplace for appliances we all shake our heads at this news. How does the brand SEARS mean anything to anyone looking for either category? It doesn't. As Gene said, this is about 30 years too late.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2017

    Will Amazon Prime Wardrobe change how Americans shop for clothes?

    Like many of these initiatives, I'm sure some people will use it. Is it a game-changer to buy more and more items and have them shipped? I'm not seeing it.Does anyone look at the enormous waste in all of this for the environment? And if this type of shopping was rewarded by customers, why did Nordstrom write off Trunk Club as a loss this year? In a world pressed for time this runs the opposite -- making customers select more, try on more and return more.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2017

    Why are so many associates being deprived of tech by their employers?

    Please, most employees have the tech tool of their own smartphone out more often than not on the sales floor. To say that they can all be trusted is naïve at best. Unless and until labor scheduling isn't done by algorithm but instead is done to provide a better customer experience, I don't see a big push to spend for the technology.
  • Posted on: 06/14/2017

    Who owns the in-store experience?

    Agreed wholeheartedly! Unless the money and initiative start at the top, there is no room for capital expenses. Operations should be leading the charge -- they see everything day-in and day-out.After visiting various Nordstrom stores that demonstrate the opposite of the Nordstrom Way I ask myself, if I can see it why doesn't anyone else? My guess is that they do but feel disempowered to do much about it. The easy route is to simply let managers manage tasks which can easily be seen. That's why we have so many pretty stores out there and low conversion. I actually had a woman with a clipboard at Restoration Hardware ask me to move so she could inventory some pillows. That was our entire interaction in the store.If Bezos can obsess on the customer experience, why can't the brick-and-mortar retailers? Look to the CEO, it just isn't that important ... obviously.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2017

    Would Nordstrom be better off private?

    I shared a recent experience at Nordstrom on my blog and the poor customer service wasn't due to Wall Street priorities. Twenty years ago the Nordstrom Way was "disarmingly simple: Use your own initiative to provide customers with exceptional levels of service. You’ll never be criticized for doing too much for a customer, only for doing too little. If you’re ever in doubt, err on the side of doing too much rather than too little.”I would suggest that their flagship sales declines have everything to do with employees erring to do too little to uphold that tradition. And with 30 percent of stock owned by the family, they own the customer experience being given. I don't see how going private fixes that.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2017

    Is UNTUCKit the next big thing in apparel retailing?

    Yes, there is no question that a pure-play e-tailer can open brick-and-mortar stores. The key is understanding the difference between online -- product, and brick-and-mortar -- customer experience. These startups have a leg-up on traditional retailers because they know exactly who their customer has been, what products sell well and which need additional help versus traditional retailers trying to figure out what will sell online.Such startups can scale easily as well since they don't have to or want to go to the mall picking up smaller stores vacated by the bloated retail footprint other retailers.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2017

    Are retailers selling their souls and giving away customers to Amazon?

    Totally agree. I did a quick search for a Lands' End men's white shirt and up popped a message pointing me to their brand. Desperate times lead to desperate measures but I agree with Ken. Amazon is a data mining company that sells stuff. Help them with their Trojan Horse and expect the consequences. Especially when something like 55 percent of search starts on Amazon.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2017

    Will virtual reality become the ultimate retail training tool?

    If you were waiting on predictable robots I'd say fine but, quite simply, shoppers aren't predictable and training as if they were misses the mark. As I've written in my primer on retail sales training, continuing to put devices before people does not build interaction skills.Do you want human-to-human contact in a store? VR is not the answer.Do you want basically robots who are not trained to look at people's eyes or build rapport? VR seems perfect.
  • Posted on: 06/02/2017

    Can Walmart workers deliver better last mile results on their way home from work?

    This seems like anything but progress for retail associates. Nordstrom used to encourage employees to deliver things on their way home. The practice stopped due to accidents and things going wrong -- who paid? I would think this would be the same thing.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2017

    Does an American Eagle Outfitters bid for Abercrombie & Fitch add up?

    If e-commerce is up so much, why do they need all the Abercrombie & Fitch stores? Even the Sears/Kmart deal made more sense for having known brands. Banking on more teen retailer turnaround sounds awfully optimistic.

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