Bob Phibbs

President/CEO, The Retail Doctor

Since 1994 companies worldwide have turned to Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor® for the passion and expertise necessary to grow their sales. A professional speaker and author, he has frequently been called on to provide commentary on Marketing and Branding for MSNBC.

  • Worked with some of the largest retail brands in the world including Brother, Hunter Douglas, LEGO, OMEGA, Vera Bradley, Viking, and Yamaha.
  • Retail consultant with a proven track record of increasing sales 20-50% within months.
  • COO with a broad range of responsibilities creating a culture of exceptional experiences.
  • CMO of second-fastest growing company in Los Angeles two years running.
  • Built two successful businesses from scratch.
  • Author of “You Can Compete: Double Sales Without Discounting”
  • Author of “The Retail Doctor’s Guide To Growing Your Business”
  • Author of “Groupon: You Can’t Afford It – Why Deep Discounts Are Bad for Business”
  • Contributor AMEX Open Forum

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  • Posted on: 01/19/2021

    Should store associates deliver online orders?

    Back before the Internet, Nordstrom used to do this and if memory serves was sued in California and lost for employees delivering things. I think it makes good press but how does it work organizationally with stores already crippled by cuts to labor budgets? I think it is much more important to juice demand - get the sale in-store using human beings rather than using your best employees as delivery agents. And of all the generations, do these customers really want a person saying thank you at their door other than the pizza guy?
  • Posted on: 01/15/2021

    Would a effort help indy retailers compete with the online giant?

    While there might be some interest in this, at a basic branding level, a retailer should be building up their own website, their local connections, and should collaborate locally. This is essentially trying to build a brand in a crowded market where consumers won't really know what they are getting other than a listing page of random merchants. This reminds me of the 3/50 project from a decade ago that seems to have run its course.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2021

    Is Amazon on its way to becoming America’s favorite grocer?

    Having been to Whole Foods multiple times in the past several months, I wrote this post, Is Amazon Killing In-Person Grocery Shopping to Make Us Buy Online?. Quite simply the crush of online shoppers in brick and mortar locations makes many shoppers feel like they are intruders and their beloved brand is little more than a warehouse. I think the definition of "grocery" has wide latitude here. I buy certain tea bags from Amazon but 95 percent of my purchases are in person. While Amazon would count me in as a grocery customer, I doubt that distinction tells a real story. And outside of a time we were all locked in our homes paranoid we'd all die, is it momentum or opportunism?
  • Posted on: 01/12/2021

    Do sampled freebies drive loyalty?

    The content of this post does not match the headline. Free data is hardly free sampling. Food sampling will always work. Nike and others have found free workout gear at hotels effective. Free data? Apples to oranges.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2021

    Retailers give customers refunds and tell them to keep items

    My guess is while this seems smart, it leads to fraud. And one has to ask, "If the stuff you're selling isn't worth returning, why is it worth selling?" Essentially you've got a gift store for cheap merch now Amazon, Walmart and others. Part of the reason online suffers from 40-50% return rate is those purchases are not considered much. Click and buy. Smart retailers will understand the store is the hub profits come from -- especially when returns are a historically low 6%.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2021

    Shopify dumps Trump’s stores from its platform

    I absolutely agree. Five years ago Walmart, Amazon, and others stopped carrying Confederate flags for a reason. This is no different. Unless, of course, you want to be associated with a man seen as treasonous by most of the world.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2021

    How did QR codes go from DOA to killer app?

    You can pack so much into a QR code it's no wonder China has never looked back. It is the only way really to pack in options, resources, and capture users in the wild.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2021

    J.C. Penney is searching for a new CEO

    While I found her to have had a lack of innovation toward the customer (a single new prototype delivered as they went into bankruptcy) the complete departure of her new team leaves the brand crippled far more than her sudden departure. The word "modern" in their job notice stands out. I thought the team credentials were from other successful brands like Target. While they purchased the brand for pennies on the thousands of dollars, you can only pull a carrot up out of the ground so many times.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2020

    Are the benefits of ghost kitchens more spectral than real?

    I think many of the touted successes of shared resource ghost kitchens resemble mall food courts with multiple brands cranking out food for different brands visible to the consumer. Restaurants will be back in full force in six to eight months and consumers will outstrip demand. Having a brand that is consistent with an established brand makes sense but it is a smaller percentage of operators I read about who are just start-ups.
  • Posted on: 12/28/2020

    How do you grow sales the week after Christmas?

    LOL Rich. Boggles the mind how Store Ops leaders trying to be efficient can nonetheless be at odds with their own performance metrics - growing sales.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2020

    Was Walmart responsible for vetting opioid prescriptions?

    It’s not like they didn’t know there was an opioid problem. It was enough to raise bells for those who are in charge of safeguarding the public that worked for the company. To pass it off and say they had a prescription negates the fact that the company had knowledge of what was going on and tried to stop it.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2020

    Was Walmart responsible for vetting opioid prescriptions?

    If it were a liquor store not enforcing age restrictions, they wouldn't get a pass. Their own employees are quoted as knowing and trying to stop it - why did Walmart not listen to them to begin with?
  • Posted on: 12/17/2020

    Is the pandemic pushing livestream shopping into the mainstream?

    I would agree with the learning curve and just because you can go live doesn't mean you should. I think many smaller retailers were able to cobble together something during the summer/fall which enabled them to still sell though they didn't have nearly as big a website as the bigger players. That said, it does become "one more thing" for many. Content creation isn't something you can just wing. Consumers want it and brands can sell full price without discounts and engage in new ways. I know one of our customers, Hammitt handbags in Los Angeles, is tearing it up for both themselves and their customers like Dillard's. There's an appetite for this but does it scale for anyone but the bigger players? That is the million-dollar question here.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2020

    Are retailers facing a no-win decision in mandating vaccines for workers?

    I do believe vaccines should be mandated if it is allowed by law. Then I would promote the heck out of it. I would turn your question on its side: Can retailers that don't mandate worker vaccinations avoid PR controversies? We'll have months to figure this out but I don't see how "only if they want to" will make nervous shoppers happy. Mandate it, give time off for it, pay for it, celebrate it - that's my advice.
  • Posted on: 12/15/2020

    What if Barnes & Noble had produced ‘The Queen’s Gambit’?

    Great insights Dave. Absolutely, in hindsight we can see the opportunities but, seriously, the Queen's Gambit was filmed pre-pandemic. Who could predict chess sets would become the must-have during a pandemic probably two years after such licenses were sought? Let alone Barnes & Noble having the progressive marketing ability to see the opportunity. Project Runway thought they had a winner when they partnered with J.C. Penney one season - it fell flat due to limited runs and out-of-stocks. Who did this well? Amazon with their "Making the Cut" first year winner Johnny Cota. Each week the designs were available on Amazon's site and built to order. I love the idea here but there is no surefire winner when you're blazing a new trail.

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