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.

  • Posted on: 01/20/2017

    Will online sales redeem struggling brick and mortar retailers?

    The fact is there are just a lot more people taking a slice of the consumer pie, so most older established stores are getting a smaller slice. The really smart retailer will not only get some share of the online sales, but focus on growing their share of in-store sales. There is still a lot of customers out there shopping on a daily basis. The problem is, most stores aren't giving a really good reason to shop with them.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2016

    How can the retail job market survive the AI revolution?

    AI is just another element of the vortex of change in the retail marketplace. Like others, it is understanding how to use it differently that adds value to the customer's experience and enables profitability for the company. This type of innovation will continue to be a challenge ... especially for the independent retailer.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2016

    Amazon considers floating warehouses

    Didn't I see this in an episode of the Jetsons? (Younger readers, YouTube it.)I think this is absurd if you think of it from a 2016/2017 mindset. Ten or twenty years from now I think it could be a real possibility, which is what I think Amazon smartly patents -- possibilities.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2016

    Does Alexa need a screen?

    I don't think it needs a screen, but why wouldn't you offer one if it would include early adoption? Talking is still easier and faster than typing.Changing that habit is much different. After adding Siri to my laptop I have used it maybe six times. And half of those consisted of me talking to the laptop and nothing happening.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2016

    A small retailer makes a bold move against big chains

    I don't see any bashing or anything like that. I see a simple ad where someone asked the listeners to shop local. I agree with others it would be better if they gave a reason on why they're better.But here's what's interesting. I'm not sure there are many or any chain liquor stores here in the Boston area. (Disclaimer: I do live in Great Boston, but I don't shop in liquor stores.) I know every liquor store in my community is locally owned, and liquor and beer isn't sold in the grocery stores.So kudos for a unique shop local message, but I'm not sure who they're telling the customers not to shop with.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2016

    Will Starbucks be the same without Howard Schultz as CEO?

    I think Starbucks is going to be just fine with Kevin Johnson. He's handpicked by Howard, and could be an even better operator than Howard. He also understands how critical the culture is to Starbucks, but I don't think he'll shy away from trying new things.I don't think it will be any less or more with Mr. Johnson. That's an example of how well it will work. They won't miss a beat.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2016

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

    You miss those day's sales, but the consumer will come back if the deal/incentive is there. But can Macy's afford to lose any sales this holiday? I would think the Chief Technology Officer felt the most pain.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2016

    What does a record Cyber Monday foretell for the remaining holiday season?

    I think it is too early to say what the overall holiday sales impact will be, but there's no doubt that more online deep discounting and cost to facilitate the sale is going to impact retailers' bottom line.I think you're going to see a number of retailers who had a strong weekend will not be happy at the end of December. Win the battle but lose the war. Amazon and Walmart can absorb those low margins ... can others?
  • Posted on: 11/15/2016

    Can revenue-sharing programs save independents?

    Good intentions, but it's hard to keep a business open on 10 percent gross margin. I do appreciate how Ibex is trying to work with their stores.I think brands that truly want to support the independent specially retailer need to work extremely hard to drive traffic into those stores, and offer online shopping to those retailers who will only buy in that channel. Too many brands are just competing with the stores and throwing them a small bone.With that said, I also think the independent stores need to do a better job of supporting those brands with a full assortment, etc. Especially with products the customer wants to experience in person.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2016

    What follows all-day breakfast at McDonald’s?

    I think all-day breakfast was a good move to slow the slide, but it is not a growth vehicle. Then again, is there one out there? They can't be both fast food and fast casual. Trying to straddle the two will only hurt their business.If I were in charge, I'd focus on bottom line over top line. (Okay, easier said than done for a public company.) I'd also focus on my core customer, and how to get that customer back in one more time each week or month.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2016

    Will retailers find gold or coal in their holiday stockings?

    I think the most interesting forecast so far has come from Deloitte. They predicted a 3.6 percent to 4 percent increase. It was where they believed the pressure and winners will come from that stood out.From the forecast: "'Retail competition will not only come from the big box down the street or major e-commerce players,' Sides noted. 'It is also likely to come from the small and midsized retailers that focus on niche products and experiences.'"I absolutely believe that's the case. Shoppers shop both logically and emotionally during the holidays. The retailers that can connect emotionally with the holiday consumers will be in a better position to compete with the online convenience and the low doorbuster (or more appropriately termed, margin-buster) pricing of the big boxes.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2016

    Will opening hotels help West Elm sell more furniture?

    I think it is a really smart way to diversify. As Brett says in the article, West Elm only can expand their retail footprint so far, and this approach allows them to evolve as a lifestyle brand. I like it.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2016

    Could heat mapping be an equalizer for brick & mortar?

    Technology is a good thing. Too much technology is not a good thing. I feel this almost falls somewhere in the middle. I'm with some of the other comments ... it seems that most managers/executives already know their hot and cold spots. I do think you could learn some interesting trends on the impact of different products and brands.
  • 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.

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