The Retail Doctor's Blog

Attract, Close & Delight Your Customers

5 Steps to Closing a Retail Sale Quickly

Bob Phibbs

Back in the 80’s when I was creating my own retail sales training techniques, I heard a sales trainer say that as soon as the customer is in front of you, you should be trying to close the sale.  

Funny, in a time when customers had more time, retail salespeople were encouraged to quickly get them closed and back out of the store.

It was believed that volume was the most important factor back then, and the way to success was by getting as many customers checked out as possible.

This pushy sales technique has been showcased in any movie about a car salesman, electronics salesman, or bad realtor. Such overemphasis on closing techniques has been proven ineffective and those salesmen often missed valuable add-on sales.

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Topics: Retail Sales Training, closing techniques

Email Marketing: Do You Know Why Hotmail, AOL And Others Are Bad For Business?

Bob Phibbs

Are you doing everything you can when you are marketing your small business?

If you still use Hotmail or other free email providers, I would suggest not.

Most people use a,, or similar account because it’s free and they’ve had it a long time.  

And while you may have had a happening mullet hairstyle in the 90’s, just because you got it then, doesn’t mean you should keep it now.

The idea for this post came from someone who was trying to download a piece of content from my site, and when it wouldn’t let her register because it was account, she complained,  “What do you have against Hotmail?  Why should I incur yet another expense for my small business if I can get email for free?”

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Topics: Marketing, email marketing tips

4 Ways To Improve Your Retail Customer Experience and Sales

Bob Phibbs

Many retail stores offer the same or similar products as you do.

And anything is available online.

If the only thing your customers can hope for is a product, then you’re in direct competition with every other retailer online or down the street.

That puts you in a bidding war, that in the long run, you can’t hope to win.

And once you have to rely on discounts to set yourself apart, it’s a quick spiral to low margins and insolvency.

So how do you approach customers who are looking for a particular product? You make the product secondary to their overall shopping experience. 

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Topics: Retail Sales Training, customer experience

How To Build The Best Retail Loyalty Program

Bob Phibbs

You have a customer who prefers your brands, your service and your retail store.

How do you reward that loyal customer?

For too many retailers, the solution is some type of frequent-shopper discount program.

Like all other discounts and markdowns, this is a losing proposition for your store and doesn’t really benefit your customers.

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Topics: Retail Sales Training, customer loyalty programs,

Retailers: Looking To Add Locations? 5 Lessons From Target Closings

Bob Phibbs

When I was Chief Marketing Officer for the 135 It’s A Grind Coffeehouses, we opened franchise locations 3000 miles from our home office.

Where competitors like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts were opening clusters of stores to dominate a market, we might only have one.

When they were the first one in a new area, there were no economies of scale - no shared distribution, no marketing overlap, and worst of all, no brand recognition.

Big boxes can also struggle with opening new markets too...

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Topics: Retail, location, retail expansion

Visual Merchandising: How To Create Retail Counter Displays That Work

Bob Phibbs

I was at a candy store at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport  last year that had as many products on the counter around the register as on the shelves.

I was at the counter in an independent hardware store last month, and right in front of me was a power tool on sale for just under $50…

I was at a wine shop last week, and they had three different Syrahs at $30+ a pop on the counter with a sign that read Try something new...

Geez, I thought, how many retailers just don’t understand the dynamics of a customer standing at their retail counter?

Let me explain...

Once a customer has ticked off the end of their shopping list or the poorly trained employee has said, “Anything else?” the customer is outta there.

A customer at the register is not there to browse, not there to have to make a choice, and not there to do anything other than pay for their merchandise and get on with their lives.

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Topics: visual merchandising, displays

3 Retail Customer Service Tips To Grow Sales

Bob Phibbs

Attracting visitors to your store through occasional promotions, events, and a killer website is a great start, but how do you turn those visitors into customers?

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Topics: Customer Service, Training

How Retailers Can Sell On Value Over Price

Bob Phibbs

What an item is worth and what an item is priced at are often used simultaneously in many retailers’ marketing materials and sales pitches. Many customers will balk at an item they don’t think is worth the price by saying, “It’s not worth the money.”

And why not?

Too often discounts have been the first resort for retailers who want to attract new customers or increase their overall sales. Retailers have, up until this past Black Friday, found that slashing prices are a can’t-miss way to drum up business and pump some life into their sales.

Unfortunately, they’re also a lose-lose proposition for the store. And this is especially true as savvy millennial customers cherry-pick the best item with the deepest discount and avoid the profit-filled add-ons.

It’s like they go to the bargain matinee but never visit the concession stand.

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Topics: Retail Sales, Retail Sales Training, selling

Wet Seal Employees Thrown Into The Drink.What Does That Say To Retail?

Bob Phibbs

Thirty-five years ago I got the order from the boss to go down to the store in Tustin and move everything up to the new store in Pasadena.

I got down there with a truck only to find no one had told the crew.

The store was still open.

They were waiting on customers.

The till still had money in it.

It fell on me to tell them their store was closing at that moment.

Someone had dropped the ball.

Fast forward to yesterday when it was revealed that teen retailer Wet Seal, who I had just mentioned was really struggling in my 2015 Trend Report, was lighting up the Twitterverse with the hashtags #ForgetWetSeal and #BoycottWetSeal.

One tweet included a picture of this

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Topics: Employee Management, Wet Seal

How To Build Retail Customer Loyalty

Bob Phibbs

Lower foot falls, lower conversions, and lower margins are haunting many retailers from the biggest box to the tiniest boutique.

When I ask retailers what their greatest challenge is they often respond like this, “Keeping customers interested and motivated to shop at our store when they can often order the same items online for a lower price.”

In case there are a few of you who haven’t figured it out yet...

You can’t beat online retailers on price.

There’s always someone cheaper. It wasn’t that long everyone was complaining about how unfair WalMart priced item…

Then why are so many brick and mortar stores so focused on online retailers?

Because brick and mortar retailers aren’t properly leveraging their true advantages.

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Topics: Retail Sales, Retail Sales Training, showrooming, customer loyalty programs,, customer experience

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