Phil Chang

Retail Influencer, Hubba
As the Retail Industry Expert at Hubba, Phil is responsible for uncovering both emerging trends and insights that may impact businesses engaged in commerce. With 20 years of experience under his belt, Phil helps brands and retailers adapt to the the new realities of retail and the next generation of commerce. Phil is a frequent speaker at industry events in Canada and the US, across multiple verticals, and is a featured writer in trade publications such Retail TouchPoints, Pet Product News, BikeBiz, and more.

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  • Posted on: 09/22/2017

    Why are marketers increasing their online influencer budgets?

    Telling a story that fits into the consumer's story will result in purchases 55% of the time.It's about time that marketing budgets shifted to be more nimble, agile and frankly, relevant. Compensation is a topic we talk about a lot -- I often encourage brands to chose routes besides giving away free products. This weeds out "arm-chair" influencer enthusiasts who are out for free stuff.A good influencer is one that understands your brand and safeguards their audience. They should be looking for a fit of your product to their audience as much as you're looking for the right audience for your products.I've recommended pay per click -- generically, this drives the best results. If you have the right audience and the right review, you'll get the clicks you need to convert.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2017

    Are retailers getting comfy with click & collect?

    Marketing and logistics are the two areas in which I've seen retailers struggle. I have faith that a store can execute almost anything they can dream up -- retailers small or big are adaptable this way.In marketing, being able to make the breakthrough to get the benefits of click and collect (however obvious) is difficult. While there is a baseline of consumers that want this service, it's still in the infant stages. I also think marketing will have to learn from merchandisers how to create a bigger-basket purchase online (there's no end cap for them to "walk by" ... is there?).In logistics, be prepared for the flood gates. Right now, a half-dozen pickup spots or one or two lanes for pickup are sufficient. What happens when this gets mainstream adoption? Retailers will need to be quick about figuring out where to steal space from in-store to ensure they have the right amount of space for pickups when that happens.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2017

    Albertsons buys its way into the meal kit business with Plated acquisition

    It's nice to see retailers evolving to fit the consumer's changing desires. We've seen more iteration from retailers in the last year than we have in the previous five years.Hopefully this isn't a check box that becomes status quo. Ask any company that acquires another -- the easy part is the acquisition and the transition. The pipeline of innovation is where companies stumble.The online business gives Albertsons access to a lot of households and their kitchens. This should translate into bigger-basket purchases and a larger share of the consumer's buy dollars, but they'll need to integrate data and watch what complimentary items pop up to start leveraging this synergy right away. This is a really great option for consumers!
  • Posted on: 09/20/2017

    Will retailers drive the next phase in digital marketing?

    I think that retailers should drive the next level of marketing. Brands (most of them) lack the big picture required to drive fundamental change. The ones that have driven the most change (e.g. Patagonia) are brands and retailers -- which gives them a big market perspective.The challenge to retailers is to provide leadership. It's been difficult to get the articulation required from a retailer so brands can activate. Some of this will require new age thinking -- sharing of data (not charging for it) and sharing of insights so the entire market moves forward together.Having said all this, to come back to the question at hand, I don't see a retailer rivaling Facebook or Google in this regard. I see strong partnerships where Google or Facebook will enable retailers to be able to deliver key messages to active shoppers.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2017

    Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy, enters ‘new era’

    Toys "R" Us needs to shed inventory and be quicker at getting from supplier to store. They also need to shrink their brick-and-mortar presence and expand their e-commerce front.Toys "R" Us is a destination for all parents looking for toys -- they have that going for them and will continue to have consumer and brand support. If they took a cue from Best Buy about creating a single experience for the consumer to center around, they could make this turnaround quick and profitable.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2017

    Did this startup make a big mistake calling itself Bodega?

    Changing with the times impacts everybody. The classic bodega hasn't changed in many many generations. Nothing wrong here from my perspective, many cultures already do this.If you head to Japan, they sell pretty much anything you want from a vending machine. Bow Wow Bones is a food truck service for Pets, based in Austin, TX and they also have vending machines for pet-focused products.I like the thought of having these new bodegas -- they'll be able to get me things I need, but I'll still stop at a local New York City bodega to get a sandwich that nobody else makes.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2017

    Do retailers need teen consultants to really understand Gen Z?

    Retailers and brands in general, with some notable exceptions, have been guilty of simply not following the data. Hiring Mr. Stillman is brilliant on the part of the Minnesota Vikings, but retailers and brands shouldn't go running for consultants.In no other era in retailing have the retailer and brands had more accessibility to the everyday consumer. Retailers and brands need to continue to leverage the data that is right in front of them. Their consumers are on social media and are willing and available to give them the information they want to continue to be relevant and compelling.The Vikings are smart -- they found someone who can help them translate. In retail, we already have this ... we just need to be listening.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2017

    Survey says grocery has reached its digital tipping point

    I think we're just getting started. You want the consumer to do their homework before they get to the store. There's no better way to be an expert than when consumers understand that you can take what they know and "blow it up."Digital partnerships hopefully are the next step for a grocery store. We're getting into in-store execution from a technological standpoint that should be really exciting for consumers and retailers.I see collaborations coming -- imagine Big Oven or Epicurious partnering with a grocery store and having beacons to flag where ingredients are for a particular recipe that somebody wants. Imagine the complimentary flags that might come with that so a consumer knew -- this dessert or this wine would with the recipe they're putting together, etc.Grocery just needs to take what it knows and move it into the digital age. It's in the industry's DNA to entertain and look after consumer!
  • Posted on: 09/12/2017

    Nordstrom tries a no-merchandise store

    I love this idea. Putting experience at the heart of retail is the first building block to success.We need more details to see if this is going to work out. Will they have a way for consumers to order right away? How quickly will it get delivered? And will the experience continue to evolve or will it be a canned experience every time?The simplicity of this concept is exciting.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2017

    Will lower everyday prices boost Target’s traffic and sales?

    Unless Target has a different way to market this, it's not going to make the impact they want. They've always been competitive with Walmart on price, but have hesitated to commit and make pricing a key tenet for themselves. This feels like more of the same.Pricing is really great for consumers, but they need to know that you're doing it. That's the key to these initiatives. You also need to have deep pockets and need to be committed to the long run. Walmart and Amazon have a war chest full of discounting and hot prices and are prepared to go head-to-head with each other and to keep Aldi and Lidl from getting strong footholds.The funny thing is, Target has a hold of experiential. Of the big box stores, they have a really solid grasp of pop-ups and how to make the shopping experience a fun one. I'm not sure why they keep going back to discount pricing when they have a more valuable asset in their toolbox.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2017

    Will Levi’s virtual stylist put more online shoppers into its jeans?

    Any time that you can remove the fear of not having a product in your hand and create FOMO (fear of missing out) it's a good thing. All sorts of industries can make this work for them -- particularly products that require context. Furniture, apparel and glasses are all categories where some sort of virtual rendering has already started.Sephora has started down this path too -- we'll see how much the cosmetics consumer likes a virtual assistant, but by all accounts it's going well.More importantly, having a virtual assistant allows you to test and learn even more about your consumer. This allows you to clearly map decision making moments and key moments that make your consumer walk away, or commit to purchase.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2017

    ‘Okay Google, I want to order from Home Depot’

    I think you view this as a new channel of doing business. In the same way that customers are buying from Amazon, eBay, and any other site, retailers need to be on these sites to ensure distribution is covered.I think the real battle begins when marketing dollars start flowing towards voice ordering. At that point, retailers may need to choose Echo or Google, but for the time being it makes no sense not to work with Google and Amazon.The other thing to think about is developing a stance on voice ordering. Jumping in with either Amazon or Google helps to build market inertia. Having said that, the questions are still: is voice ordering beneficial to all brands or retailers? Or is it niche to certain products?
  • Posted on: 09/07/2017

    Should retailers rent fans to create buzz for their businesses?

    Having a filler crowd has been done for years. Having said that, we're in the era where finding real fans and getting them to attend your event is easier than ever. The ability to build a viral event is not easy, but the effort is well worth the result.The pressure to generate authentic experiences is really high. Consumers are not going to settle for a generated experience when they have a lot of options to go to authentic events and meet other (real) fans.This seems like something you save for award ceremonies and things where the number of attendees matters more than authentic experiences.
  • Posted on: 09/05/2017

    Five pain points grocers must address to survive in an Amazon/Whole Foods world

    I actually think that the only challenge grocers face is the ability to change faster. Right now they're all built for business with Fortune 500 companies and optimized for logistics. Grocers (and retailers in general) need to cut processing time and get faster at recognizing consumer insights so they can move faster.All the tactics that Amazon is employing -- that's all they are, tactics -- are insight driven. NOT sales dollars and margin numbers alone, but actual consumer and psychographic data. The article covers some of the things consumers have been pining for -- faster check out, or the ability to order online and pickup in store.Retailers need to put consumers at the center of their decision tree and innovate!
  • Posted on: 09/01/2017

    Does e-commerce need 3-D shopping?

    I don't think people will want to wander around a virtual store. Having said that, the technology is useful if you're going to use it to: i) create FOMO (fear of missing out) ii) create an environment that gives a product contextI'll want to view a product in 3D if I want to see how it might sit in my living room, or what it might look like adjacent to a product I already have etc. etc.Creating a mall for technology's sake is just superfluous. If you want to know what it might look like? The US has empty real malls all over the place.

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