PROFILE

Doug Fleener

President and Managing Partner, Sixth Star Consulting

Doug Fleener is a veteran retailer with over 25 years of hands-on experience with world-class retailers, including Bose Corporation and The Sharper Image. Doug is now president and managing partner of Dynamic Experiences Group, a retail consulting firm dedicated to creating unique retail experiences that allow retailers to stand out from the competition, resulting in higher sales and profits.

In his ten years at Bose, Doug grew the Retail Direct Group from four to 100 stores and was instrumental in developing Bose’s unique and engaging retail methods including the interactive Bose Music Theater.

Doug is a consultant, keynote speaker and author. As a consultant, Doug works with retailers of all sizes throughout the country. As a keynote speaker, Doug turns any meeting into an Experience. His audience interactive speaking programs are designed to teach retailers, small and large, how to deliver the kinds of extraordinary shopping experiences that differentiate retailers from their competition. Doug is the author of the book, The Profitable Retailer: 56 Surprisingly Simple and Effective Lessons to Boost Your Sales and Profits. He also publishes two monthly newsletters, The Retail Experience and The Profitable Retailer.

Doug lives in Lexington, Massachusetts with his wife and two young daughters, where in his free time he barbecues while listening to Jimmy Buffet music.

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  • Posted on: 05/27/2016

    Tips for more productive staff meetings

    Thanks everyone for your insight. One point about roleplay/practice. There was no assumption that a member of management is always doing it. As a matter of fact we encourage clients to assign and rotate responsibility. We have found involving the team not only gets the employees much more engaged, but we've also identified new managers and training team members.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2016

    Walmart tests matching Prime delivery speed

    I think Amazon will see this a threat regardless of how well they pull it off. We also know it takes a while to turn that big Walmart ship around, but I do think they'll eventually get there. Which begs a different question. Will Amazon still be "there" when Walmart gets there? I don't think so.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2016

    Are free shipping expectations crushing smaller retailers?

    Free shipping is to online retailers what free financing is to furniture retailers. What was once a profit item is now an expected commodity that drags down margins.

    My advice to smaller retailers is to offer "discounted" shipping so they're not eating the entire cost.

    Take the $5 or $9.99 rather than shipping for free, or losing the sale by charging full shipping costs.

    This strategy is especially successful for those retailers with targeted and differentiated products.

  • Posted on: 04/08/2016

    L Brands reorg sets stage for a seamless shopping future

    I think doing this is as much about removing channel conflict and competition as it is achieving a seamless shopping experience.

    Not only do these different channels have different customer offers and policies, but they spend vast time and resources trying to beat the other channel within the same company! This conflict cost the company sales, profits and customers.

    Hats off to L Brands for doing this, and to the internal teams for moving forward with what's best for the company and the customer.

  • Posted on: 03/09/2016

    What does it take to improve staff productivity?

    Thanks everyone. I appreciate your insight and feedback.

  • Posted on: 03/09/2016

    Whole Foods plans to buy funny looking fruits and veggies

    I think this is awesome. I remember reading about Imperfect Produce and thought at the time that there needs to be a major player to lead the way. I'm really happy to see Whole Foods take the lead and hope it is something they consider doing nationally.

    I think consumers will embrace it. Especially if there is a price adjustment for doing so.

  • Posted on: 02/17/2016

    Will an Amazon private label diaper prosper under a new name?

    Agree with the perspective that it all starts with quality. Amazon can rebrand it all they want, but when a diaper fails, parents have much different words to use than what Amazon planned.

    I would be surprised that customers who used the product in the past will give it a second chance, but the beautiful thing about these products is that new customers are coming along every day.

    Interesting question about Elements: my first reaction is to ask, why support multiple brands? Then again, isn't that what Trader Joe's does? Personally, I would stick with Elements.

  • Posted on: 02/17/2016

    Are delivery start-ups in trouble?

    Doesn't this industry feel a lot like the first tech bubble? When the seed money slowed down, the companies had to actually make their business model work. (Amazon always excluded of course.)

    I think the most successful will be a company like Uber or even Amazon that will have a model that works because they supported a primary revenue stream, and then they outsourced it for scale. Amazon did it with the cloud. Someone will do it with delivery.

  • Posted on: 01/27/2016

    Will free soul cycling classes help Target get on a roll?

    This is not a strategy, but a promotion and marketing vehicle. It obviously will get the press and others talking about it. (Including RetailWire!)

  • Posted on: 01/27/2016

    Starbucks dumps tea bar concept, keeps tea

    I'm not surprised by these closings at all. Coffee drinkers outnumber tea drinkers 3-1 in the US, and as a result tea drinkers are use to going to Starbucks but not vice versa.

  • Posted on: 01/22/2016

    Will Penney’s appliance test put a fork in Sears?

    It will obviously take time for them to become a significant player, but I think appliances offer JCP a lot of opportunity. Descent margins, steady inventory (compared to fashion) and the opportunity to see a new category to their current customer.

    There's no doubt they're going to take some market share from Sears. It doesn't have to be a lot to help JCP and hurt Sears.

    I give it one thumb up. (Holding back the other thumb to see how well they execute.)

  • Posted on: 01/13/2016

    Should retailers consider new recruiting strategies for Millennials?

    A recent survey found that over 59% of people have worked in a store or restaurant. We're a stop on the way to somewhere else for so many people. That's true for Millennials as everyone else.

    I believe the key to attracting and retention is to deliver an amazing work experience. Be part of a team. Let them contribute ideas and ways to improve. Make it fun. Make it rewarding. Be sure you have leaders who not only appreciate the frontline staff, but is always showing it. Recognize people. Develop them.

    With all of that said, the best retailers were doing this before we had Millennials. The above applies to all age groups!

    Quit worrying about labels, and start focusing on making your work experience as important as your customer's experience.

  • Posted on: 12/01/2015

    Did Apple get it right by skipping Black Friday deals?

    I love how Ms. Ahrendts connected the decision to the employee experience. Why add more stress in the holidays when the impact is going to be minimal to your overall holiday sales.

    Same for REI. I'm sure employees loved being off on Black Friday, and again the impact on business was minimal.

    As a matter of fact, a lot more retailers would be more profitable removing themselves from the madness. If anything, move it online where the cost of business is a lot less.

  • Posted on: 11/30/2015

    Are seasonal employees your saving grace or worst nightmare?

    Good list Kevin! I especially agree with the group workshops, focused roles, and making the temp feel like part of the team.

    I also like to pair them up with a regular employee as a mentor. Having a non-manager help them navigate their new role makes it easier for the seasonal employee and the manager.

  • Posted on: 11/30/2015

    Does weak traffic spell trouble for Black Friday?

    Black Friday weekend is becoming or maybe even has become irrelevant to the overall holiday business. Even the retailers who use to hype it are now spreading the business out over the entire month, and shifting much of the sales online. What matters is where the numbers fall by early January.

    I will add that many of my clients' Black Friday results were off by 30% or more, then turned around and had a terrific Saturday and Sunday that made up for the shortfall. I told them the same thing. What matters is where the numbers fall by early January.

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