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: 10/09/2018

    Is it too late for a new store concept from Barnes & Noble?

    There will always be a place for a physical bookstore in certain high-density markets that can support them. But I do not see this as a rollout and scalable concept. When you look at how books are marketed today via sites like Bookbub, Goodreads, Google Book Search and of course, Amazon, the click to purchase is at that point in time. When the reader is finding out about the book and reading the reviews. So a reader can buy the book immediately and, in most cases, get the book in digital format for instant gratification. There are always going to be browsers. But that market is declining, not growing. Barnes & Noble need to think way outside the box to come up with something disruptive other than a cafe concept. That is old thinking and has run its course.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2018

    Can a new CEO revitalize J.C. Penney’s business?

    J.C. Penney is not in as bad shape as Sears. So there is hope. Certainly having a woman in charge is a great step in the right direction. I find this reminiscent of when Mindy Grossman came in and revamped a dying HSN in 2007. J.C. Penney needs to appeal to a younger audience and regain new shoppers with a redesign of its merchandising. Certainly Jill Soltau has an understanding of the shopper and the category. I would expect her to focus on the product first and leverage the Sephora relationship a bit more. I think it is a positive move for J.C. Penney. It will be great to watch the transformation.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2018

    Are retailers deaf to radio advertising’s potential?

    One of the core issues is what defines radio today. Most people think of radio as AM/FM. But now we have opportunities like Pandora/Sirius, Spotify, podcasts and many more. These are opportunities for sure for brands to target their audience because the content becomes quite specific. The targeting and measurement is more specific than the old methods of CPM which was really a guess. These types of opportunities on the above platforms and others are a resource for many retailers and brands. This medium is going to continue to grow as "radio" becomes integrated into our phones. But more important, the measurement of results has improved so retailers and brands can understand what is working and where it is working.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2018

    Why do retailers practically ignore existing customers to go after new ones?

    This has been the trouble in retail for decades. Each week, retailers measure sales, projected GP, average sale and percentage of department penetration. They pay little attention to whether or not they have grown customers. This lack of focus has led to the "apocalypse" of retail closures we have seen over the years. E-commerce brands measure the cost to acquire a new customer, long-term value of a customer, retention rate and unique site visits. The point is that these metrics are focused on customers. The cost to acquire and keep a customer and the cost of losing a customer. Retailers need to change their metrics to understand how their decisions grow or lose customers. They need to understand long-term value and how to retain customers. A great example is Zappos. Almost 80 percent of Zappos' billions in sales come from returning customers, who also become brand advocates. Customer retention is the key to long-term survival.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2018

    Tuft & Needle and Native knew their first products fell short

    As an entrepreneur who has founded several consumer product brands, you always launch with the best product you can develop and work fast to improve it based upon consumer feedback. Never think that your first product is your best product. But you have to be careful. If your launch product is so bad that the consumers lose faith in the brand right away, then you are sunk. Their message is correct. Continuous improvement and looking paying attention to the customer is key to building a long-term and profitable brand. Any brand, whether it is a startup or established brand, need to continually look for unmet consumer needs and unmet expectations to improve the brand. Startups are innovating and being acquired by larger brands because the larger established brands are taking too long to innovate. They are not nimble enough. They are not paying enough attention to the consumer.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2018

    Walmart expands test of giant automated grocery kiosk

    Not having to park and walk a distance into a store is probably the biggest appeal of these kiosks. The speed of in and out and the convenience of pulling up will probably benefit mothers with young children or elderly customers. These buyers can now pull up to the kiosk, leave the kids in the car while they retrieve the order and be on their way in minutes. It is a good addition to the other conveniences of home delivery and grocery pickup. Walmart needs to make sure that they are accurate with the orders. All it will take is a few mistakes that cause the customer to go into the store and wait to resolve the problem to cause the customer to lose faith in the process.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2018

    Walmart’s Jet.com relaunches site, offers three-hour delivery in NYC

    Where is the relevance to Jet? These are steps Amazon has been taking for years. When Jet launched, they were going to show Amazon how e-commerce should be done and they have pivoted from their original model several times. Amazon has had Prime Now in NYC for years. They deliver from restaurants, food and marketplace products same-day and faster. Apple has, and has had, a store on Amazon for years. So what is the problem they are trying to solve? It does not seem there is one. I do not see Jet unseating Amazon anytime in the near future. They should just fold the technology and staff into Walmart and call it a day.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2018

    Walmart’s two-day shipping pledge comes with a caveat

    You either have two-day shipping or you do not. This is not exactly good customer service nor is it a promise. I think Walmart needs to think long and hard about what their e-commerce strategy is. Just because Jet did it, does not make it right or good. Jet was no screaming success. They were successful at raising capital and selling to Walmart. The operating results were fairly poor. I think the customer is going to reject Walmart because of issues like this.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2018

    L’Occitane aims for a more immersive, more disruptive flagship

    I think this will become one of those "must stop and see" spots for shoppers because of the press it will get. Whether it sells more product or reaches another audience is to be determined. Certainly, brand statement reinforcement is a great use of these stores. Showing what the brand stands for and its environmental efforts. Flying over France, bike rides through the countryside are all nice things, but they need to add to the product and brand somehow. I would think they would be more experiential in their ingredients or product performance. Too many of these offerings may distract from the greater message that they want the visitor to leave with.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2018

    Ross Stores is on an off-price roll

    Ross is still growing by opening stores. But their comp store sales growth is 3 percent, somewhat below the comp store sales growth of T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods. In my opinion, not having an e-commerce store is a weakness today. You cannot make a purchase on their website. You can only sign up for emails. If Ross does not have a convenient location for a customer, they will lose the sale. Ross should concentrate on building new customers rather than trying to take share away from the other discounters.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2018

    Lampert’s Kenmore offer seems like more shuffling of chairs on Titanic’s deck

    I totally agree. Shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. This is nothing more than another way for ESL to strip value out of these retailers. I don't see any way to turn these chains around. He needs to face reality and just put the companies into bankruptcy. It is over.
  • Posted on: 08/14/2018

    ‘Less is more’ when competing with Amazon

    The first thing we need to understand is that Amazon is not a discovery platform. 78 percent of consumers know what they are looking for when they go to Amazon. They have already done their homework. They choose to buy from Amazon because of trust, Prime and the A to Z guarantee. In order to determine the correct merchandising strategy of "less is more" or "more is better" you must understand your customer's path to purchase. Certainly when it comes to furniture, fashion and food, variety is a benefit. When choice becomes a problem is when the product is complex, like technology. That is why Apple has been so successful. They removed the complexity from technology. Know your customers and their needs before determining if less is more.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2018

    J.C. Penney goes after Babies ‘R’ Us customers with new shops

    I am not sure what is meant by the statement. Certainly Target, Walmart, Carter's and other retailers focus on in-store baby supplemented with a digital experience. Making such a large investment in the category may be underestimating the importance of the online experience. Especially when it comes to hard goods like car seats, cribs and the like. These are review-driven purchases and readily available conveniently online. Diapers.com proved that model many years ago. It appears J.C. Penney is trying to seek some relevance for the brand. I think they need to understand who they are and who their customer is today. I don't see this driving strong traffic to the stores.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2018

    Rite Aid and Albertsons call off merger – what’s next?

    Albertsons' challenges are quite apparent. They have no point of differentiation against brick-and-mortar competitors, online grocers and Amazon. The entire company has not progressed forward in a world where the consumer expects more from their grocery store, other than just low prices. In the end, they will go the way of Toys "R" Us. Rite Aid needs to play catch up to the other drug operators. But with Amazon entering the prescription drug market, it is going to become a different playing field. I do not hold much hope for either company. I think both companies should seek to sell themselves to other operators.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2018

    Walmart still trying to figure out home delivery

    Delivery needs to be viewed in a different way. Free shipping on e-commerce is a motivator to purchase. Therefore, it should be looked at as part of the marketing expense to generate conversions. If grocers want to be successful online with home delivery, creating brand loyalty and customer retention, then they need to look at delivery as part of marketing. Certainly there has to be sales minimums and guidelines, so retailers are not making deliveries for low-value items. But delivery can be a powerful tool to drive add-on sales.

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