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: 10/16/2019

    Does Target need to address its associate morale problem?

    I'm a big believer of there being two sides to the story. There are 350,000 Target employees - there are bound to be grievances. If they worked the overnight shifts, I can see how they would be upset. In addition, when more is rewarded, more is expected so I can see how a retailer would whittle some shifts. Target is functioning at a very high level now and I expect they will take the grievances seriously but doubt they will add those shifts back.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Amazon makes its social positions public

    Actually, that's not right. They aren't trying to influence their customers -- they understand theirs and that Millennials and iGens fear the increasingly warming world we are leaving them more than getting a job. Just like Nike understood their support of Kaepernick and Target and their unisex bathrooms. And the market responds. Know your customers and speak their values. Just like Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A have done for years.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Amazon makes its social positions public

    As I said in this post on LinkedIn, retailers should take positions. I’m particularly encouraged about their stance on gay and transgender rights. Millennials are noticing and they're voting with their feet.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2019

    REI ventures into drop shipping

    Independent retailers have done this for decades. My only question is what took them so long?
  • Posted on: 10/10/2019

    Can Target’s chief merchandising officer turn Bed Bath & Beyond around?

    Their stores still look dated, there are few employees besides cashiers and there is a reliance on discounts. While I do wish Mark well, it's bigger than a better omnichannel experience. The money drain can be cured on the salesfloor.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    What if stores innovated like restaurants?

    Taco Bell's four-day PR gimmick of a branded hotel is a far cry from Toys "R" Us. Most any independent toy store has plenty of places for kids to play. Ask J.C. Penney customers what they want and they'd probably say more discounts. The customer doesn't always know what is best. The winners in retail right now like Lululemon understand who their customer is and what is important to them, and add onto that experience. I would suggest innovation comes from a laser focus on delivering to customers, not PR.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2019

    Zulily thinks it can beat Amazon and Walmart on price

    News alert: there's always someone cheaper, always. Does anyone believe any retailer saying anything is the lowest price? And if so, are they enough to move the needle of increasing sales? It's not the 1950s.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2019

    Do retail metrics need to be reinvented?

    I would love to have seen three retailers evaluated using these criteria. How exactly would you use a transaction for a product at full price versus a promotion or clearance sale? The profit potential is huge to start, minimal to end. Rolling up on transaction versus product would seem to blur the lines of understanding for time-strapped executives.
  • Posted on: 09/30/2019

    Is Rent the Runway over-promising on deliveries?

    Online retailers have one job: get the customer what they saw on your website in the time provided. This is a huge miss for a premium brand with a huge market cap. A miss of such proportions for RTR is much more disastrous than in-store as the consumer has little choice in what to do as she has already crossed this item off the list for a special occasion. If you were in a store, you could easily mollify a distraught customer for an out-of-stock with something the same or better and they would be on their way.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2019

    Amazon wants to take the lead on regulating facial recognition tech

    I read recently that facial recognition can work with something like 95 percent accuracy with white males but that accuracy drops considerably when other races and sexes are involved. Until and unless this can be fixed, I would say facial recognition is not a reliable tool for consistent results when it comes to masses of people in a store. While I love it on my phone, I don't think facial recognition is ready for primetime.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2019

    Retailers must turn stores into ‘anything engines’

    Sorry, holding up a car brand that has a lot of hype but has a lot of downside, an online retailer who has had decades of free money to play with and a technology company that not only designs but manufactures and controls all of its products as pinnacles of retailing I just don’t buy. I’m sure Apple does care about same store sales just like they do sales of new iPhones. Brick-and-mortar retail has a great chance to reinvent itself and do better just like Lululemon and Target are showing, but saying physical retail is dead I think is right up there with talking about the "retail apocalypse." Great clickbait but not a statement of fact.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2019

    Will pushing back against Christmas creep drive sales eBay’s way?

    While this is great clickbait every year the reality is that shoppers buy Christmas/holiday merchandise throughout the year. I see it as a marketing ploy without legs. I wrote a post a while ago about this: Why Retailers Should Display Christmas Merchandise Before Halloween. Any dollar a retailer captures before Halloween is one dollar less the customer will spend at competitors.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2019

    Retailers falling short at training frontline workers

    While I agree with this, as a retail sales trainer and virtual online retail sales vendor, I do believe your main training has to be done out of sight of others and distractions either one-on-one (which doesn't scale) or using a good online system. You can do an all-hands-on-deck meeting, but make no mistake, that is not training — it is mere exposure to the concepts. It's the difference between seeing Serena Williams at Wimbledon and afterward saying you can do it. You understand the game, but your body hasn't gone through all the repetition to make the moves without error. True training requires an excellent sales process, practice so they get quick wins, roleplaying so they can make mistakes without costing you sales, and accountability. After that, quizzes on phones and short games can help reinforce what was taught. Retail winners report renewed interest in employee retail sales training to improve conversions and add-on.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2019

    Chewy gains customers and increases sales, but will it ever be profitable?

    Enough people will pay for their culture, service and curated products. Those who don't will shop elsewhere. On a side note, it's about time we stop calling people entrepreneurs who can burn through billions of VC and stock money like Uber, Chewy, etc. yet never make a profit with a business.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2019

    Are grocers falling short in selling better-for-you foods?

    While I get that signage can help - most of the signage given in this article is like a label. Organic in particular needs to step up to explain what the heck that means to the planet. I'd consider something like, "Want your kids to live to see a healthier planet? Choose organic." You have to sell the why and the sizzle more than ingredients or exceptions - we're talking food, not a set of tires for the car.

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