PROFILE

Phil Chang

Retail Influencer, Speaker and Consultant
As a Retail Industry Expert, 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: 11/04/2021

    Are the cards stacked against small and medium sized retailers?

    If you're a small or medium sized business and you've made your success as a follower, you're out of luck. The current retail climate will box you out. If you're focused on a unique selling position and you know your consumer, the world is for the taking. We've never had more avenues for small and medium sized businesses to interact with the consumer, and I think there are more boutique brands and makers out there now than ever before. It's not the time to be a follower. There's not enough stock for mini-mes.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2021

    Should PayPal still buy Pinterest?

    Hopefully PayPal will continue to focus its sights on becoming a ubiquitous payment platform. If they're not watching, Google Pay/Apple Pay will come up and take the ground from underneath them. There are so many opportunities for PayPal to continue to expand (personally I love it) that I hope they don't get distracted by the pretty pictures (literally - don't get distracted by Pinterest). I do think there's legitimacy in expanding users by acquiring a "network" but a less pretty but fuller picture would be -- Telegram? Signal? Something secure, that enables users to trust that they can have private conversations and also transfer money/pay for things. WeChat is great if you're in Asia but it just doesn't do it on this side of the world - Paypal + a messaging system would be a fantastic pairing.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2021

    Are gig worker complaints a retail problem?

    Gig workers are used to being in the background. Being in the background doesn't mean they don't exist and shouldn't be treated properly. If retail is counting on delivery apps, they need to hold the tech companies that power these apps responsible for looking after their workers. There are economics that work for both the gig worker and delivery apps. Having said that, tech companies have not always shown appetite for engaging in the messier parts of their worlds - tech products still need humans. Treat humans humanely or nobody will do the job. Just look to the shortage of servers, retail workers and drivers that is hurting businesses everywhere.
  • Posted on: 08/25/2021

    Email marketing drives sales results and sometimes drives customers away

    So email marketing is still marketing. "Sending emails" isn't actually a category and shouldn't be an option. Normal people are frustrated by the number of emails because there is a lot of junk being directed at them. Seriously. JUNK. Everyone can send emails but email marketers actually understand what needs to be put into an email so that a retailer's target consumer likes the message they received. Lots of retailers do this well - and consumers are delighted to follow the emails. Email marketing isn't going away. It's here to stay, and it can be an effective tool if you have the right people thinking about this in the right way. If you're a retailer, sign up your spouse for your emails and you'll know really quickly whether you have a good email program. :)
  • Posted on: 08/02/2021

    Should food be an afterthought for Target?

    I think Target has done a good job of making themselves a top-up destination for food. Competing with true grocery would take a significant shake-up based on their current real estate footprint and merchandising strategy. I know that when I want something interesting to nosh on, or that I need something basic to top up my fridge, I can head to Target and find something experiential. If Target is to move in this direction, it's a tall order to not only do a full range of groceries, but not to disappoint on its experiential benchmark. I have faith that the red and khaki can do it, but I think there are more interesting places where Target could be more dominant.
  • Posted on: 04/22/2021

    Are associates better than influencers for shopping livestreams?

    If you remove the titles, the person in front of the camera needs to be authentic and knowledgeable. What we know is that consumers are really good at spotting fake reviews and pretenders. Probably two questions to think about: 1. An associate gets paid to work for the retailer. Is the retailer going to accept an honest review from an associate? 2. Not all retailers have embraced that their associates might be their best asset in every store. Does a retailer need to come to grips with that first? If not ... see question #1.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2021

    Nike says goodbye to more longtime wholesale partners

    Interesting. Is Nike strategically selecting wholesale partners or strategically re-risking retailers that are in danger of going out of business? Are they the same thing? In this case, they might be the same thing. Perhaps the only question is, how elite does Nike get? When does the brand become inaccessible to those that made it popular?
  • Posted on: 03/11/2021

    Can a celeb endorsement fuel a Payless reboot?

    This is a potential contest Georganne. "What celebrity would make Payless compelling?" Could Payless become an Oprah pick?
  • Posted on: 03/11/2021

    Can a celeb endorsement fuel a Payless reboot?

    I'm sorry to say it - it won't be enough. There's a gap in the value equation that's been filled by all sorts of retailers from more functional/cost-effective brands/retailers to brands/retailers leveling consumers up to expect more from their shoes. Discount is a race to the bottom. It isn't enough now to be compelling. If Payless wants to be around, it needs to figure out what need it is supposed to fill. Perhaps it's targeting children between certain ages? Having a compelling reason why parents would come back? (Dare I say a shoe subscription model?) It needs to be something definitive - consumers have evolved to see past a generic value equation.
  • Posted on: 09/30/2020

    Will same-day deliveries be a difference maker for Bed Bath & Beyond?

    It could be the start of something good. All of the retailers that compete with Bed Bath & Beyond already offer some sort of BOPIS/rapid shipping, so the trick is whether Bed Bath & Beyond can draw consumers into a longer "conversation" about all the other products it carries. It'd be amazing to see them leverage some of the success that Bed Bath & Beyond Mexico has had to help consumers in the U.S. and Canada think of Bed Bath & Beyond differently.
  • Posted on: 08/25/2020

    How should grocers prepare for a possible pandemic stockpiling redux?

    Tony, thanks for this perspective. It's easy to sit where we sit -- getting your "ground view" is really important. Thank you for being available during the pandemic. I've really appreciate my local/neighborhood retailers more in these times.
  • Posted on: 08/25/2020

    How should grocers prepare for a possible pandemic stockpiling redux?

    There are a few things that come to mind. Now that we know what we're dealing with... Enforce minimums. Stores have the right to limit quantities purchased, but many stores were unprepared and not enforcing these (understandably so). Introducing subscription models would be a great way to steady out business. Hopefully they're all better e-commerce equipped for the second wave - a subscription may abate some consumer anxiety knowing thatthey've got a recurring order coming. Facing up power SKUs, and taking out SKUs that don't perform as well. Transparently, I don't love this one because it tends to impact smaller companies. Encourage smaller stock-up trips - find a way to suggest new SKUs, new recipes that incorporate new ingredients that might lessen the pressure on stock-up products.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2020

    REI is going remote and selling its corporate headquarters

    The pandemic has showed us that we can take down old paradigms whenever we want (or, some would argue, when we must). This is a great paradigm to take down. It removes costs from the cost model and allows *most* employees to be happier in their own happy places. Maybe I'm naive but I'd like to think that translates to better retail and hopefully flat to slightly cheaper retail. I think I'd want to see REI and other retailers/companies take the next step which is to help with changing zoning laws so those great big buildings become mixed usage locations.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Macy’s plans for the Christmas rush

    This is a crystal ball answer. The pandemic is going to drive what happens. I think retailers owe it to themselves and to the public to try and mitigate crowds by encouraging steady purchasing online. This might mean hosting events that get online audiences thinking about special events earlier, or creating "special" buy moments but it represents a chance for retailers to steady out their business rather than wait for one special day that may or may not happen.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2020

    Do Americans want retailers to keep their social distance after COVID-19 is gone?

    I think the pandemic has accelerated what consumers have wanted and given retailers the reason to invest in change. For areas where online shopping/online research can make the consumer journey easier and equally as rewarding, I think consumers made the leap and love it. Retailers have had to change too, and we're just at the beginning of how this changes the entire customer journey. Don't get me wrong - in-store retail will never go away, and there is something to be said for real versus virtual shopping, but those categories are going to keep shrinking.

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