The Retail Doctor's Blog

Attract, Close & Delight Your Customers

Retail Marketing Tip: Care About The Customer Pass-Off

Bob Phibbs

Where do you think retail marketing starts? No, not a coupon or your website. It's by showing how much care you give at the end of a sale.

In my work with window fashions dealers, I always suggested they leave a bouquet of flowers on the table after they had thoroughly cleaned up their work areas and cleaned the window glass. [Not an $85 bouquet of roses mind you, a $9.99 bunch from the local florist or even grocery store.]


It was unexpected and a nice touch to make their purchase a wow. It helped cement the manner the dealer went out of their way for the customer. That led to many more referrals - the best type of marketing you can do.

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Topics: Marketing, Retail Sales Training

Omnichannel Warning: Retail Is About Discovery,Not In Being Discovered

Bob Phibbs

I recently purchased a canteen. It is detailed in leather and has intricate lacing.

Oh, I had no need for it. It wasn’t on sale. I didn’t spot it online.

I saw it in a store.

In Montana.

For 75 bucks.

And I don’t have a horse. And I don’t go camping.  I just liked it.

That discovery is at the center of the debate about where shopping is headed.

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Topics: Retail Sales, Customer Service, omnichannel

6 Smart Ways to Spend $1000 (Or Less) To Attract More Retail Customers

Bob Phibbs

When I was in fifth grade, my dad took me to the Schwinn bicycle shop in Toledo and told me I could have any bike I wanted for my birthday. So many possibilities! It was like winning the lottery!

Nowadays, when it comes to my speaking and consulting business, spending money rarely has that exuberance. That’s because I have to do it if I want to remain competitive.

Wanting to do it has little relevance. If I want to be here tomorrow, I need to invest today.

For many retailers, investing in their business is usually thought of only in a crisis:

  • We have to get a new A/C system; the compressor stopped working.

  • The POS system crashed, and we lost all the data.

  • We need to replace the roof; they can’t patch the leaks anymore.  

You get the idea.

The smart retailers are always looking for how they can invest in their future long-term success. They know that finding out how to attract customers and also close the sale are priorities.

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Topics: Retail Sales, Attract customers

7 Cringe-Inducing Behaviors That Push Retail Customers Away

Bob Phibbs

There’s a boom of shiny objects out there for retailers to play with, from iBeacons that will deliver coupons to shoppers' smartphones when they stand in front of a display to virtual mirrors that dispense generic compliments when you try something on. 

All over, retailers are struggling with lower footfall, with consumers waiting for the deal, and with the elephant in the room, the relentless push of Amazon. For you, it can feel like a no-win scenario.

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Topics: Customer Service, Retail Sales Training

Increase Retail Sales with Laughter

Bob Phibbs

Trying to increase retail sales in a quiet retail store is impossible...

I can tell a great retail store just by listening. Can't you?

One of the outcomes we find when conditions are right in a retail store is that people are:

  • Relaxed.
  • Open.
  • Confident.

And laughter ensues.

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Topics: Retail Sales

What Can This Small Business #Fail Teach Retailers?

Bob Phibbs

When I was looking to move away from the crowded, noisy, dusty freeways of Los Angeles, I checked out the green Mid-Hudson Valley of New York. While there were no Westins in that part of the world, I did discover a great off-the-beaten-path alternative, the Union Street Guest House in Hudson, NY.

A large, spacious suite was outfitted just right. Their location was superb for walking and the excellent local restaurants kept me from having to use the fully functional kitchen in my suite.

Over the years, I’ve recommended that place to many visitors, and I even posted a review on TripAdvisor in 2008.

So imagine my surprise when I read that the establishment mentioned in this headline, “Hotel fines $500 for every bad review posted online” was indeed, the Union Street Guest House. 

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Service, Social Media, Attract customers, online reputation

Why You Hate To Fire An Employee, And How To Deal With It

Bob Phibbs

My parents divorced when I was 11. For a long time I felt there was something I could have done to have prevented it.

That I had some magical power to change the circumstances.  I guess it is common in children of divorce. 

The feeling that the past could somehow have been different.

Life has taught me that letting go and acknowledging what is leads to a more productive life.

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Topics: Retail, Employee Management

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

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