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: 02/19/2020

    Would Lumber Liquidators floor customers with a new name?

    Yes, Tom, the founder came back during the crisis to right the ship and then left. To my knowledge, he now is no longer associated with LL. His whole story of how he founded and built the company is a great American success story.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2020

    Shoppers have a love/hate relationship with self-checkouts

    This perennial discussion seems to always come back to "X is putting more in, Y is ripping them out." The promise still does not live up to actual customer use. And if 30 percent of the time you're calling me over to make sure I actually bought what I scanned -- no thank you.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2020

    Would Lumber Liquidators floor customers with a new name?

    Full disclosure, I worked with Lumber Liquidators and their team for a number of years before the 60 Minutes scandal. One of the things that the founder was relentlessly focused on was building that brand name with a simple message: Hardwood flooring for less. With so many original players gone who built the brand before it was gobsmacked on 60 Minutes, I still would not counsel getting rid of the name. Millions of people found LL to be a trusted name, needing to attract those customers to something unknown could be a major mistake as homeowners try to fix up those properties again or cash out and retire.
  • Posted on: 02/18/2020

    Can Body Shop build a better workforce with an open hiring policy?

    Sorry, I don’t get it. Seems like lazy hiring more than anything. You’re rolling the dice that somebody who shows up is going to give great customer service and not steal or disrupt your entire operation. Would you let a vendor who just showed up sell their wares in your store? I think not. While I applaud the ideal, the devil is in the details.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2020

    Startup turns to the gig economy to bring expert sales advice online

    On the surface this sounds great but being an on-call resource is not a career move. I would expect keeping a high level of knowledge and customer service in a 1099 position will keep this from growing.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2020

    Why isn’t voice commerce taking off?

    This is totally consistent with the survey I did with Netsuite Oracle last year, “HEY ALEXA, 95% OF CONSUMERS DON’T WANT TO TALK TO A ROBOT WHEN SHOPPING.“ This is yet another way we’re being sold a bill of goods that we’ll all be doing something no one really sees a need for currently, nor enjoys doing, without being able to see or touch before buying.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2020

    Can a new off-price retailer find treasure without opening stores?

    I'm sorry, I find the "treasure hunt for bargains" a trend that is leading to sloppy merchandising and shoppers trying in vain to find something among disconnected products. I find such stores and websites looking like little more than a Sunday circular threw up on the fixtures or the page. Department stores still have their place for most people, time to step up what made them successful - carefully curated items. A shopper doesn't have to settle for whatever leftovers another store had leftover.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2020

    Will Macy’s cut its way to improved margins and future growth?

    The big mistake was buying all their competition and turning them a deep shade of beige. With no real competition, stores were allowed to grow old, bean counters were encouraged to cut staff, and marketers to get lazy with discounts. As I said in this article, closing that many stores holds risk. As you exit markets, their online orders will take a big hit as well. While I applaud their announcements, when you have so many locations that originally competed with each other but now are the same, there will be another round of closures that have to be made as well.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2020

    Can luxury retail attract a new generation of shoppers?

    "I think the strategy for Millennials is actually not to have any strategy for Millennials, because they can smell it." What does that even mean? And while Mr. Metrick may talk a good game about not being transactional, they can't even help people who want to buy as I discovered on my recent visit. Brands seem to think store design is their ace in the hole along with technology. Retail has always been about being brilliant on the basics. The most basic is engaging a shopper as a person, not as a tracked object. Millennials are plagued with debt and thrifty. They are more likely to buy second hand if they buy luxury at all. The best way to change the in-store experience is realize the store is the hub everything connects from. Get it right and they'll go to your sites and social posts, get it wrong and you're chasing an increasingly thrifty shopper. And that's true of all generations.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2020

    Will a resale shop deliver bigger sales for Nordstrom?

    I question both study's findings and how the question was asked. If over half of people were happy to get secondhand gifts, garage sales would have become a franchise. As to will it work, it seems everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to find out.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2020

    Is hot food the ingredient Amazon Go has been lacking?

    When I was in Manhattan recently I saw few people at Amazon Go but plenty at Duane Reade and the like. I still think this is technology looking to fix a problem few find value in solving. Adding the operational issues of fresh food doesn't seem to address that.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2020

    Can a former Victoria’s Secret exec turn J.Crew around?

    Bleeding 10 million a month doesn't bode well for a quick turnaround. Or a turnaround at all. Who is the J.Crew customer? Are enough of them left to market to? Are Millennials who are more inclined to rent than own going to appreciate the quality vs. the cost to own? The first two problems remind me of those faced by Gap and J.C. Penney, and we see how that's going...
  • Posted on: 01/28/2020

    Will investors sleep on Casper’s IPO?

    As my buddy Scott Galloway has said Casper would be better off if they sent a mattress to everybody for free stuffed with $300. The numbers just aren’t there and I expect investors will leave them cold. I love their store design, I love the idea but clearly people are taking advantage of their returning mattresses for free – as I predicted they would around colleges. And the profit of "bed in a box" just isn’t there.
  • Posted on: 01/23/2020

    Will store closures worsen in 2020?

    Fix the customer experience and you have a chance. Think your merch will save you, prepare to close stores. Keep discounting and you’re just a going out of business sale on layaway.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2020

    Has BOPIS changed holiday selling?

    Shoppers want to know the product is there before they get in the car and are potentially disappointed. Why most retailers don't understand this reasoning is that they still think it is about them saving money. It's about the consumer being sure.

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