PROFILE

Phil Masiello

Founder and CEO, Hound Dog Digital Agency
Expert digital marketer for eCommerce, Mobile Apps and Amazon Marketplace Sellers. Author of "Think-Engage-Thrive: Marketing Actions To Skyrocket Your Brand In The Digital Age." Phil Masiello has founded or co-founded several disruptive business models, focusing at the intersection of emerging digital technologies and consumer lifestyles. Most recently, Phil was the founder and CEO of 800razors.com, an online seller of Made in the USA shaving products for men and women that compare in quality to the national brands at a fraction of the cost and conveniently delivered to your home. Prior to that, Phil co-founded Raw Beauty with former supermodel Carol Alt to market her skin care line Raw Essentials on the television shopping channels, retail and eCommerce. Prior to that, Phil founded The Daily Market Grab and Go Meal Stores, Fabulous Food Stores and several other notable businesses. Phil is an expert business startup builder in the B2C channel with a primary focus on lifestyle, health, beauty and fashion products. Adept at developing effective digital and social strategies and campaigns to build awareness, brand recognition and top line sales growth. For more information, visit the Hound Dog Digital website...
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  • Posted on: 12/10/2018

    Will Walgreens win the prescription delivery race?

    A smart move. According to several studies, USPS is unreliable whereas FedEx has the highest consumer confidence over other shipping companies (Amazon excluded). So using Walgreens/FedEx to make sure your prescription gets to you quickly is a leg up on the competitors. It will be interesting to watch how this transpires. Don't count Amazon out yet. They have one thing that none of these other players have: a database of over 250 million U.S. shoppers who they can hit with a great offer the minute they close on the PillPack deal and move into prescriptions. Meanwhile, Walgreens has the advantage over all other drug chains.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2018

    What is the dollar value of trust?

    I agree that trust with consumers is a major factor in sales and retention. However, this "study" is ridiculously flawed. Of course, Toys "R" Us and Sears lost sales. But it had very little to do with a loss of trust or consumer data. It had to do with going out of business via heavy debt load. One of the reasons that the average consumer products e-commerce site has conversions below 3 percent is specific to trust. Consumers are afraid to provide their credit card information to a retailer that they have no relationship with. That is why Amazon is so important for many brands to expand their sales. Consumers trust Amazon and trust that if there is a problem the A to Z Guarantee will take care of solving the issue. It has taken years for Amazon to cultivate its trust bubble with consumers and they reinforce it with Prime and their guarantees. Trust is not an initiative that goes on the next quarter goals. Gaining and keeping consumer trust is part of a company's culture. It is embedded in the business strategy and guides decision making. You measure trust by company and brand retention, not by surveys.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2018

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Pier 1 Imports vs. TJX Companies

    TJX did a much better job of speaking to a variety of customers, some that would not think of TJX. Toys, for example, is not a core competency and will probably drive incremental customers. Focusing on the $20 Secret Santa solution was a smart move to show value. The Pier 1 Imports spots did not speak to me. Using this method in one spot was OK. But creating multiple spots with the same theme was a bit creepy. I think they could have been a bit more creative in expressing that you can find the perfect gift at Pier 1 rather than this hugging spot. Overall I think TJX will ultimately reach new customers with their spots.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2018

    Payless scores with mock-up luxury shop

    Absolutely brilliant way to get attention to the brand and the product quality. It also shows the power of branding. This experiment provides Payless with valuable consumer insights. First, their styling and product are appealing to shoppers and second, they can probably turn "Bruno Palessi" into a moderate-priced, high-styled house brand. Great effort in creating buzz. Now it is time to build a long-term strategy from it.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2018

    Can customer lifetime value scores work against retailers?

    Customer lifetime value (CLV) is a metric for retailers and e-commerce companies to understand their customers' behavior AND to understand how much they can spend to acquire a new customer and what it costs to lose a customer. If there are retailers using this metric to determine what level of services to provide to a customer then they do not understand the metric. I would never give this information out to consumers or make this information public. This should only be an internal metric. A secondary goal of the metric is to look at those consumers who are at or below the average and determine ways to increase their CLV. If a retailer is using this information to prioritize customer service then they certainly will fail at that goal. I do not think that the WSJ article reflects the norm. I think it reflects a small percentage of retailers who are out of touch.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2018

    Does Amazon’s record performance point to the growing importance of Cyber Monday?

    Cyber Monday indicates the health of the holiday shopping season for online retailers. So it is important to the retailers in the same way that Black Friday is an indicator of how brick-and-mortar will perform over the holiday shopping season. Smartphones will continue to grow share of orders. It allows customers to buy with immediacy when they see or think of something that they need or want. Apps tend to make this process fast and seamless. Smartphone apps can also drive retention and loyalty to a certain extent. Retailers need to embrace a "mobile first" world to succeed in the not-very-distant future.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2018

    Can online unboxing videos turn Walmart into ‘America’s Best Toy Shop?’

    This is an interesting use of technology and certainly can be used in many categories from toys to fashion to beauty to electronics and furniture. Any category where shoppers like to try and learn before they buy. I can see limited applications at the store level where there is no unboxed product for the buyer to try first. I see this more as an online vehicle for growth and interaction.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2018

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Big Lots vs. Dick’s Sporting Goods

    The Big Lot's commercial and the "Joy to the World" song has been done before by Big Lots. It is the same theme that they used in 2017. I think Dick's did a better job of showing how buying from Dick's can bring the family together at the holiday time. I am not a fan of either quite frankly, but Dick's does a better job of the two.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2018

    FAO Schwarz makes an iconic comeback in the Big Apple


    FAO Schwarz was always known for having unique, sometimes handmade, toys. I remember my sister got a dollhouse from there that was a one of a kind back in the '60s. But it lost that edge and when Toys "R" Us took it over, it was nothing but a bigger Toys "R" Us. Lego land, Pokemon, etc. No toys that could not be found anywhere else. So why would someone want to pay more for the same items you could buy at the local mall? What will be unique about this store? It seems to be a store of other brands like Sharper Image, Build-A-Bear and other, easily accessible toys and brands. Other than the name, I see nothing unique about it and I do not see the long-lasting potential of the brand.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2018

    Can Bernie Sanders force Walmart to raise its minimum wage?

    Retail needs to retain its workers. They represent the brand to the customer. There should be no political pressure or competition. They should act as Costco acts and pay a better wage, provide healthcare and retain their employees. How many more studies need to be done to prove this model lowers costs for retailers over the long term? A stock buyback is a short-term gain to keep the investment community happy. We have already seen that this "company first" approach has killed Sears and Toys "R" Us.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2018

    I don’t like Amazon as much as I did last week

    The issue here is that if Amazon did not pick the city everyone wants them to be in then they don't like Amazon. But that is something people will get over. The unfortunate damage to Amazon's brand is the publicity surrounding the incentives they are receiving for moving to Crystal City VA and LI City , NY. This is quite unfortunate because this is a standard process for big company moves. Look at the tax incentives sports teams receive, or the bonds floated to build new stadiums and stadium taxes incurred by the residents. This is most unfortunate. I think the muckraking over the incentives will hurt the overall brand. And it is becoming political.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2018

    Visually rich social content produces ‘shoppable’ experiences for retailers

    I don't know if visual content is the total future of social commerce, but it certainly is playing and will continue to play a major role. It is equivalent to a living catalog that used to come in the mail. Certainly the ability to see the product you are buying in a lifestyle setting is advantageous to the consumer. But the content has to be done correctly to support the brand image. Retailers who are not adept at social media and content creation and curation will struggle with finding their visual voice. With social media, you need to have a purpose. Just putting out posts with images is not going to achieve the desired results.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2018

    Did Amazon just crush Target and Walmart’s free holiday shipping moves?

    Advantage Amazon. As of April of this year, there are over 100 million Amazon Prime subscribers. Amazon has something neither Walmart nor Target has. Customer loyalty built over the years. Amazon is the most convenient, fastest shippers and most trusted for e-commerce shopping. Walmart and Target may have to actually hunker down and think about creating a unique advantage rather than just attempting copycat moves.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2018

    Shoppable ads need to tone down the sales pitch

    The answer to the question is simple: It depends. Each ad should be A/B tested between the various calls to action. If the product is well known with a great deal, SHOP NOW would more than likely work better. Also, it depends on how well the ad gets across the value proposition. For new products or products about which a customer would need more information, LEARN MORE may be a better choice. That is why testing is important before rolling out ads. All of this has to be weighed with the number of steps to get to the final checkout. Whether it is shop now or learn more, the steps need to be clear, easy and minimized to convert at a high level. Retargeting and other retention strategies are necessary in e-commerce. You have to remain close to your customers and learn as much as you can so you can personalize the experience and turn buyers into advocates.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2018

    Did Target just become the easiest place to shop for Christmas?

    Target should offer free two-day shipping year round. Free shipping is a motivator. If Target thinks this small effort is going to change the world, they have a lot of customer analysis to do. Amazon has used Prime to build loyalty and retention. This is not a short-term program but a strategy. Target's biggest weakness is a lack of understanding of the online customer. Yes there are some exclusive brands at Target, but I don't think that is enough to create huge leaps in online usage.

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