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: 04/20/2018

    What are retailers missing about building a workplace culture?

    While these are all good, I would suggest you start with training on how to talk to each other first. In an always-on, click-and-send culture, most people's communication skills have atrophied so there is no level playing field. Teach, train and encourage using your own voice first and you'll get better collaboration. That and not looking down your noses at those who work in the store from the C-Suite.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2018

    Starbucks to close shops for racial bias training

    What I think is lost in this is that one individual redefined their store values to the world. That makes it a training issue. One can assume everyone understands Starbucks culture, but how does it look in the real world? Casual words can have big impact. The far right is chomping this was a setup, etc. Starbucks is the one that closed their stores to re-teach their baristas how to make their drinks. They take their image seriously and recognize how they have to constantly work to avoid being just a coffee place; they're working to create a Star Trek world and I applaud them.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2018

    Dyson believes in showroom stores

    Admittedly, being located on Fifth Avenue makes success a fait accompli due to the sheer volume of humans walking by each hour. It is right on-trend for showing how the whole model of vacuum stores need to evolve — elevating the experience instead of expecting shoppers to push aside units that look alike to find one for them while a clerk waits to take their money. That said, it is a fairly severe dark universe their store embodies — the better for spotlighting their machines, no doubt. Curated selection and engaging selling is nothing new, but this store is a reminder of how well it can work.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2018

    Backstage shops star inside Macy’s

    As I wrote in this recent post, Macy's Off-Price Retail Cannot Be The Way Forward, Customer Service Must Be, orphaned clothes, man-handled, stretched and laid out on '60s chrome fixtures in underused and underlit parts of their stores are their way forward. Macy's feels shoppers have changed ... Karen Hoguet, chief financial officer of Macy's, when talking about shoppers in their stores was quoted as having said at an investor conference last year, "Lots just say, 'Leave me alone — let me get the shoe I want and move on.'” Well of COURSE they said that! When all an employee can parrot is, "can I help you find something?" Or, "looking for anything special?" -- what do you expect shoppers to say? Shoppers used to make a special trip to discover items presented with care and thought along with employees who not only liked working there but were trained in how to engage them. And shoppers haven’t changed. But let’s be honest, Macy’s stores have ...
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

    Death Wish Coffee goes from small roastery to Amazon’s ‘most wished for’ brand

    Names matter. Brilliant from the start -- compared to Bad Ass Coffee. Passionate owner, clear vision, knows who they are and aren't. They didn't need AI or predictive technology to grow as much as connecting authentically with their customers. Boutique and specialty retail is the way forward because a clear focus can cut through the clutter and noise of trying to be everyone to everyone.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2018

    Retailers must unite to bring dying downtowns back to life

    This post was taken from my blog. It's not a treatise on urban development, it was simply saying smaller merchants need to get their act together before lambasting city council or thinking there are grants out there to help them. That said, the vehemence of some commenters that online is the only way to go, it's the way of the world, too big to change, is discouraging. Retail isn't just Amazon or AI or predictive analytics; much of it is and will continue to be powered by individual stores.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2018

    Retailers must unite to bring dying downtowns back to life

    The original article began talking about NYC Mayor De Blasio's proposal to tax landlords leaving downtown buildings vacant in hopes of higher rent. I encourage you to read the original post.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2018

    Is Walmart building a tower of power with its expanding in-store pickup network?

    A new way to make a 100,000 foot store irrelevant. This coupled with Amazon's lockers in Whole Foods are based on the hope that people picking up will buy something. This is not likely due to the wall-like nature of the beast. Yet another way to erode the power of brick-and-mortar stores; they're more than a warehouse and UPS store.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2018

    Can MoviePass help revive America’s malls?

    The question anyone offering big discounts has to ask is, "Will enough people join to make it profitable?" I don't see how that is possible if they reimburse the full value of a ticket. The people who already want to see the films will go more, yes, but that doesn't grow your audience -- just traffic. I'm seeing Groupon redux here.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2018

    Luxury fashion hunts ‘hype beasts’ with high-end streetwear

    I would love to see the return rates on these "hype beasts" as I can see many buying, taking snaps, posting on Instagram and returning -- worn or not, just like high-end electronics companies are seeing customers buy the top-end video camera and accessories to shoot a wedding or other event and then return them after doing so.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2018

    Should retailers lower expectations around last-mile delivery?

    Managing the costs is the biggest concern as shipping expectations will not be going down from consumers. As I wrote in this post, What’s The Best Shipping Software For Your Retail Operations?, retailers should look for a multi-carrier shipping software that automatically chooses the best options to get their orders on the truck faster. A carrier-agnostic platform means USPS, FedEx, DHL -- virtually all of your shipping carriers and their services -- are shopped to find the best rate possible for both domestic and international shipments. Software like ProShip can figure out the optimal way to ship/deliver with least problem from store, distribution center or other.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2018

    What would an acquisition of Humana mean for Walmart and its rivals?

    This is a data ploy to learn more about their target demographics and acquisition is the only way they would get them. Yes, it is a preemptive move on Amazon and direct response to Aetna/CVS but Walmart has far fewer locations making it less about access than supporting their fixed income and aging Boomer customers. That said, it is a far cry from Sam Walton's vision and may prove a tricky bolt-on in a highly regulated market.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    Kids don't have a great experience with cheap products. The stores were crowded with merch and dingy. I'll look forward to seeing how this experiment looks a year from now when we're being told "the customer changed."
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    Discounts aren't a strategy.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    I doubt anyone is clamoring for the crowded, dirty, discount environment that was KB Toys in underlit and poor locations in malls -- much less millions. They didn't come back to Toys "R" Us no matter how much Toys "R" Us wished, either.

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