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: 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.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2020

    Getting your associates ready to reopen stores

    I think being clear in communication and over-communicating will be critical during this time. One consistent theme throughout watching COVID-19 happen throughout the world is governments, groups, and individuals struggling to articulate how people should be conducting themselves during this crisis. Retail staff are going to be dealing with all manner of people, so keeping expectations and guidelines clear is going to be really important.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2020

    Can experiential retail go live and online?

    I hope so. Some of the breakthroughs that retail could never do alone (proliferation of video conferencing to start) has opened the doors to being able to stitch real world and online together. I'd love to see more virtual reality situations for better retail experiences — the closest thing to putting the product in a consumer's hands. I also think that live chat, whether it'd be typing or a conversation, helps to make more curated conversations that lead to consumer purchases. I think that our new consumer decision making process opens the door for curated pop-ups too that might overcome some of the issues that you'd have to overcome in a strictly brick and mortar world.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2020

    Will the post-COVID-19 world be less global?

    From my perspective, I think it's hard to have a single answer for this. For things like produce and food, I think that local movements will get stronger based on a shortage of labor and regional issues with COVID-19. (I think this is a good thing.) Trade with China is tricky - politics aside, companies will probably seek to find other places to manufacture goods but moving factories/manufacturing plants really isn't that easy and takes time to do. There are some things that I wonder if they're really moveable away from China, i.e. electronics. I think that the one global truth is, everything is going to get more expensive. First world countries have been living on cheap products for a long time, and that's about to change.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Is the REI/West Elm collaboration a win-win?

    Such an interesting way to expand what seems to be concentric circles of consumers. I like that they've give the collection reasonable entry price points and love the way they've blended REI and West Elm's brand looks on the collaboration page. I hope this goes well for both retailers.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Retailers focus on making safe spaces for customers and associates

    With regards to "new tricks," I've been talking about using "old tricks" to make the consumer shop easier. Bundle high-need items into a value bundles for consumers and make them very accessible. For example, my local grocery put together a summer garden vegetable bundle that sits in simple brown boxes right at the front entrance of the grocery store. This allows me to grab and go - helps limit my exposure to one portion of the store, makes for an easy experience and allows the grocery store to get one more person in/out faster. Simplifying the shop is going to make the consumer feel more confident about coming back, and help with traffic in the store.

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