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: 04/16/2018

    Can food halls become retail’s new anchors?

    If the food hall is done in a way to complement the mall and make consumers comfortable enough to use it, it could be a good short-term driver of traffic. In order for this to work long term, it needs to work for the purveyors. If these local and niche restaurants do not get the traffic and sales necessary to pay the overhead, they will end up closing. What will take their place are typical mall food operators, and that will kill the concept. The mall owners will be just as responsible for the success of these by selecting the correct purveyors, making the ambiance less like a food court and making the economics work to sustain the purveyors. In the end, the entire shopping mall and retail environment need to be re-envisioned for the future. Concepts like this are temporary drivers of small changes when big changes are needed.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2018

    Is product discovery now the biggest pain point for mobile buys?

    The first step is in the website design. You have to build with a mobile-first flow. There are still many high-volume websites that are not even responsive to different screen sizes. Not only does this hold you back in Google search, but it is most of the problem uncovered by Qubit. AI can be powerful for product discovery, but it also has its limitations. Because it is learning from past behaviors, it is not great at anticipating what you may be looking for outside of a norm. That said, a website with mobile-first design flow with AI capabilities and several one-click payment options will certainly improve conversions and customer experience.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

    Walmart slows push to add third-party sellers to its online marketplace

    More than 50 percent of the Amazon.com sales come from third-party sellers. Third-party sellers provide variety, which drives users, which drives sales, which lowers costs, lowers prices and drives more users. The downside, as Amazon learned, is the proliferation of counterfeit products and artificially low prices. Walmart needs third-party sellers and they need more of them to improve their variety and increase their traffic and sales. But they need to control them. This slowdown may be a result of taking steps to put controls into place. But if they are going to compete in a stronger way, they need third-party sellers.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2018

    Barnes & Noble’s crowdsourcing app engages readers and earns solid reviews

    The app strategy is a great one for Barnes & Noble and all retailers. It can provide a direct and immediate engagement vehicle to the users. It really depends on how Barnes & Noble uses the app as to whether or not it drives sales. The world of books is very user-involved and has a proven crowdsourcing engagement level. However, this may be too little too late as Goodreads and some other platforms have been in the space for a longer time with better products. It will be interesting to watch the progress.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2018

    Retailers face criticism for failure to protect customer data

    All channels are vulnerable. Online, in-store. However, there are some fairly inexpensive steps that e-commerce retailers can take quickly to minimize breaches such as separating the website database from the customer database on different servers connected through secure firewalls. Encryption on checkout pages is fairly common and inexpensive. I agree that the store-level security is costly, but the correct focus and directives put on the problem can solve it quickly and efficiently. Retailers need to feel the pain of a consumer backlash before taking action.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2018

    Retailers push to onboard tech talent

    What retailers should have by now is a huge database of customer shopping data. That data is valuable to build customer retention, build average sale and continuously enhance the shopper experience. Retailers need the talent to be able to mine that data in a usable way and share it across the organization so users can make it actionable data. When you look at companies like Amazon, Walmart and Google, who have been using data to understand users and are now using that information to migrate into advanced AI initiatives, it is clear that most retailers are way behind the curve.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2018

    Should retailers lower expectations around last-mile delivery?

    Trying to change the consumer or lower expectations is never a good idea and nearly impossible. Retailers should treat fast and free shipping as part of their marketing because that is what it is. Fast and free shipping is a conversion driver in e-commerce. This has been proven time and again. Zappos created a successful company based on free shipping both ways and on being clear at checkout on the timing of delivery. Chewy offered free shipping on commodity pet products and built a business around it. It took Walmart 12 years to respond to Amazon's free two-day shipping and they put a minimum purchase on it so it diluted the response. Why fight the consumer expectation or try to change an expectation? Why not change your operating systems to provide the consumer with what they want and build a loyal customer base?
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Former Walmart U.S. CEO raises prospect of breaking up Amazon

    I think it is very dangerous to have political agendas dictate business issues. Walmart is certainly no angel when it comes to business practices. Why go after Amazon who is not damaging the consumer at all? They are good for both businesses and the consumer. There are other businesses, like CVS, whose practices have come to light as actually harming smaller rivals and the consumer. This is skating on thin ice ...
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    This is going to be a tough road to revive this brand and category. The key is to be able to have the latest and greatest toys available. But even then, those products will be available on Amazon.com, Walmart.com and many other places. Couple that with the move to more electronic games and they will have their hands full. I do think it is very smart to build pop-up stores as a revival strategy. This keeps costs down, does not commit the company to long-term leases and allows them to test the waters before committing. This will also be a great help to mall operators who have excess space from store closings. It will certainly be interesting to watch and I admire the approach.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2018

    Should retailers emulate or differentiate from Amazon?

    Retailers should learn from Amazon. Amazon is a customer-focused company who reinvests back into the systems that will mean something to the customer. 49 percent of all U.S. households have a Prime membership. Prime began in 2005 with Free two-day shipping and now includes over 25 other benefits to the user. Prime is a retention weapon that Amazon has been allowed to build while other retailers paid zero attention. Case in point, it took Walmart until 2017 to respond with free two-day shipping and they added a minimum to it. Sixty percent of all product searches begin on Amazon today. Which shows the trust that Amazon has created with their customers. So retailers can complain about Amazon and they can call Amazon the enemy. But their complacency towards the consumer has allowed Amazon to prosper. Brands who want to thrive, need to sell on Amazon. Why? Because that is where the customer is now. You can look at Amazon as the enemy, or you can look at Amazon as a way to expand your brand, sell more to the consumer and build your business.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2018

    Survey says ‘retail is retail’ no matter where the sale is made

    Consumers understand that retail is retail no matter where the purchase is made. I am not convinced that most retailers understand this. If they did, we would not have the issues we have today with brick-and-mortar retail. Customers want to connect with a brand and build up the trust to make them a habit. I think we will see this much clearer with Amazon entering the physical retail world. Amazon has the trust and relationship with customers who will then trust their stores. Physical retailers need to embrace the omnichannel consumer and provide a great experience no matter where they shop the brand -- even controlling their brand on third-party marketplaces.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2018

    Chef’d has a different recipe for growing its meal kit business

    The meal kit industry has had several obstacles to scaling. Efficient supply chain management from point of manufacture to point of delivery. This leads to increased shipping costs and bulky packages The two plaguing Blue Apron and their model competitors are: marketing or customer acquisition costs which far outweigh the average sale, coupled with low retention rates. But the biggest issue facing all of the players is convincing middle America of the value proposition. These brands have gotten kit trial with low introductory offers, but have not seen return sales. To scale these concepts it has to appeal to the mass market. You cannot get the growth traction necessary with only the top 10 percent of the consumer market.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2018

    Walmart goes big, goes nationwide with online grocery deliveries

    Walmart has the potential to change the delivery game for groceries. They have the logistics in place to leapfrog their competitors in this channel. It will come down to execution and customer satisfaction with the value proposition. Grocery delivery has been difficult for many retailers as the costs have been prohibitive and consumers are unwilling to subsidize the additional expense. It comes down to an efficient supply chain and distribution network. Only Walmart and Amazon have that in place. But Walmart clearly has the advantage of having stores everywhere.
  • Posted on: 03/12/2018

    Will steel and aluminum tariffs hurt American retailers?

    The tariffs will raise the cost to the consumer more than the retailers. Retailers will pass the additional costs to the consumer. I see these tariffs having a negative effect on the economy as a whole. This will begin the rise of inflation. The U.S. economy is driven by consumer spending, not corporate spending. So when you limit consumer spending, you hurt the economy.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2018

    Will all retailers soon go cashier-less?

    Every time I shop, I wish this technology was already implemented. The technology, once proven, will absolutely be scalable. I believe there are going to be issues with theft, inventory management and product management. But once those are worked out, it will be off to the races. Once this is ready, in order to get the most out of this technology retailers must pay attention to the information it is providing. By watching customer shopping behavior patterns, it will enable retailers to build more efficient layouts and shopping experiences. The obvious benefits are around product mix and product placement. The benefits to the customer are speed and convenience. I absolutely believe it will become a reality and I can't wait.

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