The Retail Doctor's Blog


Attract, Close & Delight Your Customers

Why I Had To Trash My Website Design – And You Should Too

Bob Phibbs

Websites have progressed to become the most important marketing tool for any retailer, small or large.  

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Topics: Marketing, Attract customers, webdesign

Take These 9 Actions In Summer For Successful Winter Holiday Sales

Bob Phibbs

Christmas in July...or August. We’ve all heard the phrase.

It’s summer and a lot of retailers are thinking about what they will do differently for the upcoming holidays.

In a media world itching to say how expectations are soft for retail sales this shopping season, you might be worried, and that’s definitely understandable. You can easily drown in a sea of worry.

But you’re reading this post so take heart!

Here are my top nine actions you need to take to have a successful holiday season in 2014.

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Topics: Retail Holiday Sales, Retail, Attract customers

5 Warning Signs For Retailers from Dick’s Sporting Goods’ PGA Firings

Bob Phibbs


Back in 2009, I sat next to a golf sales representative while flying to Chicago. He told me the golf industry was in trouble. It had lost something like 30% of sales representatives, and many of those who were still there were aggressively unloading stock on unaware merchants.

I thought about that conversation today as I read that Dick’s Sporting Goods was cutting almost 500 PGA in-store golf pros due to lower sales.  It seems fewer customers are upgrading their clubs and even fewer are taking up the sport.

Heck, even the CEO said, "We don't know where the bottom is in golf. We may be at the bottom, we're not sure."

While you may not be a golf merchant, a shifting market holds valuable insights.

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Topics: Management, Retail Sales

How Can Retailers Stop Creating Angry Employees?

Bob Phibbs

Retail traffic is slowing.

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Topics: Retail Sales, Employee Management

Can You Pay A Living Wage To Your Retail Employees?

Bob Phibbs

Recently, Gap raised their minimum wage for their retail employees to $9 an hour for all of their brands; next June, they will raise it to $10.

IKEA too has just announced that on Jan.1, their rate will jump to $10.76 an hour.

To put that in perspective, that is 48% higher than the federal minimum.

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Topics: Retail Sales, Retail Hiring, Minimum wage

How To Choose The Right Retail Sales Training For Your Store

Bob Phibbs


Congratulations for reading this – it means you don’t have to be convinced that training your retail crew how to sell is necessary.  

You understand that training is something you do – ongoing – like an athlete working to perfect their form, not something you did – once –  like visiting the City of Mermaids in Florida.

Good. Most retailers know they have to train new hires at some level. The best know they have to constantly train their entire staff.

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Topics: Retail Sales Training, online retail training

Retailers: The Most Conspicuous Thing You’re Not Doing

Bob Phibbs

Retailers keep surprising me.

The music is pumped-up in their stores to try to fill the quiet, sterile environment where employees linger with Bluetooth gadgets in their ears.

Outside of the counter area, I rarely see anyone actually working with a customer.

Merchandise displays are often perfect (and untouched,) yet they are littered with signage offering discounts of 20-40%.

This is a picture of a struggling retailer… not a successful one.

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Topics: Retail Sales, Marketing, Retail Sales Training, Employee Management

Small Business Owners, Would You Fire You?

Bob Phibbs

If you own a business, you have had to terminate employees. You had assessed their behaviors and found them taking more away than adding to your customers' enjoyment of doing business with you.

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Topics: Retail Sales, Small Business, Employee Management

How To Market Your Retail Business

Bob Phibbs

When retailers decide to get away from couponing, a wonderful thing happens. Value is defined. More customers walk in. Sales increase.

I've been preaching this for nearly twenty years. So I was intrigued when Clark Hermanson, one of my Facebook fans emailed me several of his ads the business had previously run in the Chicago Tribune.

Much like any other nursery center, the same marketing formula had been used to create each ad. They all offered sale prices on featured sponsors’ chemicals and then a bit of generic text highlighting their own in-season items.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with these ads, except everyone in nursery and garden centers is doing the exact same thing.

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Topics: Retail Sales, Marketing

For Retailers on the Edge of Adding Commission as Incentive

Bob Phibbs

Ron Johnson, formerly with JC Penney, ending retail sales commissions for his staff in fine jewelry, shoes, window coverings, men's suits, and hair salons shortly after he took over.

He said, “I know with every bone in my body that a non-commissioned sales force will create better customer service, better teamwork over time.”

According to the Wall Street Journal article, JCP spokeswoman Kate Coultas added, “Our new business model requires that we move away from a commission-based environment so that every team member is motivated by meeting the needs of our customers."

Every time I hear that somehow retail employees who receive no commission deliver better customer service, I want to puke.

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Topics: Retail Sales, Retail Sales Training

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