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: 11/20/2017

    Who will be left standing after the next retail shakeout?

    Good categorization to start with. Within each of these there are a lot of things that you can do to ensure that your convenience doesn't look like that next retailer's version of convenience.Of the three, the only one that has futurity is Third Wave. Discount is a finite road that leads to pain, suffering and no profits. Convenience may be the same road, we just haven't arrived there yet.Third Wave might be too much to ask of department stores. Their logistical models, profit models and physical lease commitments may make being Third Wave too much, but it is where each of them can find a way to survive and be relevant. The problem is, does anyone at the department stores actually know what the difference is between them and their competition? Raison d'être is a primary challenge for most of these stores.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2017

    Yes, retailers can also reward non-transactional behaviors

    Interesting. I would suggest to retailers that they revise their terms and expectations. "Loyalty" isn't really a thing anymore. Points systems only work for some folks. I think that the interesting spin on this is to get retailers to look at referral programs and affiliate links and think about how they take those to their advantage.Where multi-channel gets very interesting is taking the experiential and pairing it with influencers for compelling referral/affiliate programs. Now a retailer is finding influencers who are committed to getting the best products to their readers focused on their business.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2017

    Walmart’s online prices drive customers to its supercenters

    I (the consumer) don't want two sets of prices. I have a lot of details in my life, keeping track of more price points isn't one of them.While I'm not the definitive voice of the consumer (far from it) Most consumers are going to feel this way.This feels counter intuitive -- one set of prices and better experiential will drive people to store. Online/mobile is rising, not declining. We talked about this, Walmart!Hopefully what happens is that other retailers will go the other way. Stop using pricing as a driver -- the consumer is on to you. Leverage your real estate to your advantage -- make your in-store experience unique so people will want to come to store (not come there because they don't have another choice).
  • Posted on: 11/13/2017

    Are data sharing concerns still holding back true personalization?

    Consumers are more aware of the value exchange of sharing their data for personalization. The rush to personalize shouldn't disregard the value exchange that has to happen and how easy it is to lose that exchange.Retailers need to tune in and do things that make consumers feel at home. Beyond that, it's baby steps to ensure that retailers get consumers comfortable before jumping into too many things.It'll be fun when retailers take the things they know (merchandising, basket upsell, etc.) and figure out how to pair that with personalization.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2017

    Omnichannel is just a term to describe everyday shopping

    I really hate the word "omnichannel" because it suggests something too lofty. Having said that, this article does a really good job of boiling it down to the essence of "omnichannel" or "multichannel."You never really know where your customer will come from. You need to be everywhere, and your plan for your store front -- virtual or physical -- needs to account for consumers coming from anywhere. That means being online, mobile and having a great brick-and-mortar storefront. Retailers shouldn't be worried about Amazon or Walmart in that regard, they need to worry about the consumers who can't find them at the moment they intend to purchase.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2017

    Why is it so hard to get retail associates to upsell?

    Employees don't need to upsell if they feel like the customers coming in are people that they care about and want to look after. When you go to a mom-and-pop where they know everybody -- they don't upsell, they look after you. Upselling comes right with it. The experiential gets you to the upsell without selling.Help employees feel like they're looking after people that matter. Make employees feel like they matter and they have a stake in how the store does. Once you have that, you don't need to upsell.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Can Kroger make a name for itself in fashion?

    Well said. In an age when everyone is talking about experiential marketing -- it's weird to see movement AWAY from the experience and TOWARDS big box. Well said Retail Doctor -- write them a prescription for clear vision and focus!
  • Posted on: 11/03/2017

    Was Amazon scamming or searching for its HQ2 location?

    Max, well said. I'm based in Toronto and we're in the Amazon running but I dread what we're "giving away" to get them.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2017

    Was Amazon scamming or searching for its HQ2 location?

    I think that expanding your horizons and allowing dark horses to compete is a good thing. I think that the "competition" for their second headquarters would have happened anyways, but instead of through lobby groups and back room channels this one was done in the open. I, for one, prefer this method.I also think that Amazon probably already had a top three choice of cities in mind already. Any reasonable business would have this mapped out -- would Amazon not?Talented human capital seems to be the theme of every search right now for companies. I think Amazon is centered around the same thing. The city that wins has to have a good core of talent they can leverage and a great living environment that would be an easy sell for anyone moving to work at Amazon.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2017

    Will this be the year REI regrets opting out of Black Friday?

    One of the things we tell businesses is not to forget who you are. Don't let FOMO get the better of you and do things that aren't you. Black Friday is a big box event reinforced by big box stores. If REI holds to the consumers it has and is committed to driving the right experience for them, then they can't lose on Black Friday.Most businesses can gain more from setting a reasonable promotional plan for the holiday season and doing the right things around it -- driving a marketing campaign and communicating with their consumer base. A one day barn-burner sales event only works for those that have the luxury of not worrying about store traffic on a long-term basis. (Read: big box, about 10 retail chains.)The way out of Black Friday is to be reasonable and stay true to your consumer. If you do right by them, you can't lose.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2017

    Is inventory or staffing the biggest omnichannel challenge for stores?

    Buy Online Return In Store (BORIS) is the biggest challenge in my mind. BOPIS and fulfill from store have foresight and tools that allow for retailers to see what is coming. The challenge with those two is just speed. BORIS represents a significant lack of visibility because you cannot know where the consumer will return, what they will return or how they will return.Stores will have to have the ability to be agile with their returned inventory, and have outlets to move it quickly before returns age and start taking up a ton of space.Inventory visibility (of returns) is going to be very complicated for stores. Liquidating or solving returns will be an issue, and I think will test a retailer's resolve for "endless aisles."
  • Posted on: 10/30/2017

    Johnson & Johnson takes aim at digital disruption

    The model sounds great. The challenge for big companies is to adjust how their processes work. Having worked with and still having lots of friends in CPG, the number one challenge isn't identifying what needs to be done in the marketplace. They can read RetailWire discussions alone to figure out low-hanging fruit -- it's organizational.To be NIMBLE -- layers are going to have to get cut out. Brand spending needs to get unlocked and management needs to lose some oversight on the process. Brand managers need to ditch large agency relationships, roll up their sleeves and get into the consumer feedback that's literally right in front of them.Craft brands are blowing up because they can spend a few thousand on social media campaigns and being authentic, and then read analytics in less than a week. No big company I know is able to do that (or very, very few of them).I hear big things above, but this new age isn't about big. It's about small, quick actions that are measureable and effective immediately. That's what is missing above!
  • Posted on: 10/27/2017

    When are text messages welcome from retailers?

    Retailers need to utilize beacon technology. If I were in the area of a store and there were a sale or feature that I'd find value in, I'd want to know. That would make that retailer someone that I'd trust and want to be around so that I could get more deals.Surprise and delight needs to be at the core of any new technology communications with consumers. Consumers are on to us! You can't send more broad sales-y emails; customization and anticipation of what a consumer needs is what will win.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2017

    Will in-store clienteling aid Neiman Marcus’ digital push?

    It's a step in the right direction. The devil really is in the details so we'll have to see how "enabled" employees are. Hopefully they've been given the right instructions -- which should be something like, "go nuts, have at it."Hopefully each of these employees got a social media account with the ability to take pictures and share as well. If every customer who came into Neiman Marcus got an Instagram welcome or a Snapchat discount filter and a wonderful meme, Neiman Marcus would be on the right track.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2017

    Do U.S. retailers have a big cross-border opportunity?

    I see cross-border opportunities to be limitless -- with some caveats. We've seen (and some of us have lived) expansions that haven't gone well. Target probably holds the most famous retreat in recent memory. With the ability to use e-commerce to reach consumers anywhere, retailers will be able to use all sorts of delivery methods to be able to complete the purchase for the consumer.I do not see brick-and-mortar expansion across borders. There are too many variables. Target went to Canada and couldn't reconcile the demographics, and Saks Off 5th have cooled their expansion hopes too. The cost of physical expansion while learning demographics is very steep. An e-commerce presence with an agile eye on analytics will be the way to make consumers in other countries happy.

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