Cover image of Retail Today with Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor
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Retail Today with Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor

Updated 12 days ago

Business
Management
Marketing
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Retail Today with Bob Phibbs is a daily digest guiding brick-and-mortar retailers to gain better traction, generate more revenue, and stay strong in their market.

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Retail Today with Bob Phibbs is a daily digest guiding brick-and-mortar retailers to gain better traction, generate more revenue, and stay strong in their market.

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Cover image of Retail Today with Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor

Retail Today with Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor

Latest release on Apr 01, 2020

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Retail Today with Bob Phibbs is a daily digest guiding brick-and-mortar retailers to gain better traction, generate more revenue, and stay strong in their market.

Rank #1: Selling Shoulder-to-Shoulder = Better Retail Sales | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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You know, brick-and-mortar retailing is all about face time, right? So I want you today to think of taking a piece of paper and holding it between you and a buddy, face to face. Now act like that is something you're describing to the other person. Now I want you to move where you're more shoulder to shoulder and hold that piece of paper out in between you, it could be a piece of merchandise as well, out in front of you. Now, how does it feel? Which one feels more normal and which one feels more salesy? Well, I think the one that feels more salesy is when you are face to face. Because when you're shoulder to shoulder, we relax, it's like a buddy helping you figure it out. So today, I want you to look at your body position because selling from the side puts shoppers at ease, and people at ease by more.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Feb 09 2020

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Rank #2: How Do I Keep Paying Employees as a Retailer through the Coronavirus Shutdown? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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One of the things retailers are asking me now in this time of stress is “How can I pay my employees?” And one thi I would encourage to consider is the share-the-burden idea, which is maybe staggering employee shifts and hours.

So, instead of someone working 25 hours a week they work 15 hours a week, but you’re able to maintain them on the schedule. Another way is to maybe have someone be on one week or another person be on the following week or giving someone two weeks of unpaid vacation.

There’s an awful lot of movement on the federal level right now about how they can get resources to small businesses. Make sure that you are following sba.gov and look at all of the options that are coming out in the next few days before you make a big change.

One of the things about getting rid of a bunch of employees is that it changes your culture quite a bit and it’s very hard to bring that culture back when your employees may feel like they weren’t part of the decision.

i hope that helps and I hope you are thinking positively as we go through this that there are people out there like me who are looking to help retailers like you who are going through this.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 20 2020

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Rank #3: The $1T Bailout, Bridge Loans, and Temporarily Closing Down as a Retailer Because of the Coronavirus | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Well, the good news is they’re considering a one-trillion-dollar ($1T) bailout for small businesses. How fast that will be doled out and how that will be implemented is still days and probably weeks away, but the good news is people are looking at how to help small businesses like you listening.

The other question comes up is "Do I close my store?" and I think you have to think about the advantages to both. Obviously, the #1 concern is the health of your employees and your community. We're being told in New York that all non-essential businesses should close and for some, that is a matter of looking at offering curbside delivery, for ramping up their online orders, and finding ways around the closing of the store. Other people are feeling like "I should close my store and have my employees go through and be on unemployment."

There are no easy choices here at all I think the important thing is whatever you do you have to be vetted so exactly what's going on. Some of the proposals people are making these can be retroactive to help you rehire people. So, I hope today you will at least consider there is a glimmer of hope and that the important thing is how we look at the challenges ahead is going to determine our leadership as a retailer for years to come.

Be careful as you're talking to people making sure that you're not overextending the crisis but also dealing fairly with it because the realities are most of us do not have big cash positions. The other thing I would suggest today is, if you haven't already, reach out to your local bank explain what's going on and get them to help you get a bridge loan.

I'll see you tomorrow on the Retail Today podcast with Bob Phibbs.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 19 2020

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Rank #4: Adjusting Your Time for a Busy Store | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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I love a busy store, don't you? Time just goes by. Everything works well. But one of the challenges we have is some of our employees don't know how to make it faster or shorter depending on the number of people. And what I'm talking about today is that the length of time with a shopper has to diminish the busier the store is. So what I want you to think about, today, is role play with one of your employees, a scenario of somebody that's looking at one of your best sellers and you want them to give them two minutes and explain it and go through and qualify them. You want to give them one minute and then you want to give them 30 seconds after that.

And the goal is that they can understand that when I have a leisurely time and it's just me in the store, I have longer time. I can talk about something I'm familiar with, but if I have to touch multiple people, I've got to get to the point and not be dismissive and say, "Hey, if you have any questions, let me know." I still have to get that same information across. I just have to be more succinct.

So that is my tip for you, today, is go out and roleplay one scenario on a bestseller with one of your best employees at two minutes, one minute, and 30 seconds, and then you'll give them the tools to be able to change gears when you're really busy.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 07 2020

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Rank #5: Signage Tips for Retailers | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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If you're looking to attract more customers to your store, make sure that you don't forget about your parking lot or maybe some windows towards the back that are kind of covered.

 You can put up great signs that are inspirational, so “you could be a cook, you can be a cook, you could be the hero,” and with one picture of what it is, but your goal is to not just say it's 20% off this weekend. Customers are immune to that.

What you tap into is when you say you can cook and you show somebody, maybe have lessons or something, you've started to activate that wonder in the customer and they start wondering, “Well, I wonder how I would do that?” and that's going to propel them to come into your store.

It starts with having compelling signage that gets a response of what would it be like to do this? Instead of, Oh, well you've got this on sale or something that everybody else is doing. You're looking to compete. You've got to attract customers with window signs that convert, that not only inspire and motivate to make additional sales.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Feb 19 2020

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Rank #6: Eye-Level Displays | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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A lot of times people forget one of the most basic things you can do in a brick-and-mortar store to attract customers is to have a great window display. The problem is too many people just want to put a bunch of junk in the window. If you're at a mall location, maybe you're gonna just put a bunch of junk in the front. That makes shopping feel like work. The secret to having a great window is going into the window and have someone on the outside mark where their eyes are with a sharpie or a magic marker, right in the middle, so you're gonna see it about six feet up. That's the sweet spot.

You want the most important, the brightest, and most beautiful, the premium is right there as people are walking by, so that's what grabs their eye. Then come up with a color story around it. So, today, remember that eye level is the key to making a successful display that attracts customers.

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If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Feb 07 2020

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Rank #7: Help Flatten the Curve and Stop the Spread of Coronavirus as a Retailer | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Today is Tuesday March 17. St. Patrick’s day. We learned yesterday that new guidelines advise no gatherings of 10 or more people, the fed has slashed interest rates to 0, and Wall Street had another horrible day. While interest is coalescing around helping restaurants and small business, there are no firm plans yet.

America is split as to how leadership is doing on the virus; some cities are ghost towns while others are partying away. One thing is clear: we need to avoid going out in public to flatten the curve of virus spread. One less trip you make to the store, one more alcohol wipe you use around both your house and your business can make a difference.

Here’s what I recommend doing today as a retailer. If you have a personal service like amassage, haircut, etc. consider going to your clients instead of them coming to you. You could even do this regardless of what you sell. One-on-one you can still see people wash for 20 seconds, etc. I heard someone suggest do a Facebook live each morning showing your temperature to assure people at least you do not have a Fever. The important thing to do is look at how you can reassure people and still do some semblance of business.

If your business is closed or you are working from home, make sure to keep to a routine. Make a schedule and stick to it. Commit to certain blocks of time for learning, researching, and analyzing your business. Even if you have the kids home, sticking to a schedule can relieve some of the panic.

And don’t forget the front lines. Many employees are unable to take two weeks off yet are in contact with anxious customers. Make sure you thank them and be nice. This is a WE moment, not a ME moment.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 17 2020

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Rank #8: Help Flatten the Curve and Stop the Spread of Coronavirus as a Retailer | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Today is Tuesday March 17. St. Patrick’s day. We learned yesterday that new guidelines advise no gatherings of 10 or more people, the fed has slashed interest rates to 0, and Wall Street had another horrible day. While interest is coalescing around helping restaurants and small business, there are no firm plans yet.

America is split as to how leadership is doing on the virus; some cities are ghost towns while others are partying away. One thing is clear: we need to avoid going out in public to flatten the curve of virus spread. One less trip you make to the store, one more alcohol wipe you use around both your house and your business can make a difference.

Here’s what I recommend doing today as a retailer. If you have a personal service like amassage, haircut, etc. consider going to your clients instead of them coming to you. You could even do this regardless of what you sell. One-on-one you can still see people wash for 20 seconds, etc. I heard someone suggest do a Facebook live each morning showing your temperature to assure people at least you do not have a Fever. The important thing to do is look at how you can reassure people and still do some semblance of business.

If your business is closed or you are working from home, make sure to keep to a routine. Make a schedule and stick to it. Commit to certain blocks of time for learning, researching, and analyzing your business. Even if you have the kids home, sticking to a schedule can relieve some of the panic.

And don’t forget the front lines. Many employees are unable to take two weeks off yet are in contact with anxious customers. Make sure you thank them and be nice. This is a WE moment, not a ME moment.

Mar 17 2020

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Rank #9: Sales Employees Need Reviews | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Can you imagine if you were in school and you turned in a big term paper and you got it back with no grade or comments? How would you feel? Kind of deflated, right? Well, that's what happens with an awful lot of employees. They never hear that they did anything good or bad because we've gotten rid of employee reviews. Most employees, especially millennials, want to know how they're doing. It isn't just about money. My tip for you today is do an employee review one-on-one today. Not really just a conversation, but it's making sure that you point out both the good and the bad. It doesn't have to end up in a raise, but people just want to know, "What can I do better?" And you know what? The ones who like that kind of engagement are the ones that you can build your business on, so why not give them the tools that they want.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 06 2020

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Rank #10: Improve Your Retail Sales Pitch With This Simple Process | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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So today is a two-parter, so you'll have to come back tomorrow. I call this one "Tribal Knowledge Doesn't Help Anyone".

Are you the best salesperson in the store? Are you the one that knows exactly how something fits together? Are you the one that knows how to be the best with this one product? How to use it? The secret features you've learned? It doesn't make additional sales if that's only in your head.

So today, part one is, I want you to take a friend, go to a Starbucks, or invite them over. Just describe, maybe first, your store. How is it different than other stores? Maybe you'll take one line of yours that you really like, you'll go through and talk about why you chose them, or what makes them different, or maybe you'll just talk about it as a customer. Say, "I bought this product, and this is what I got out of it. This is how it works so well for me." That's today. I just want you to record and transcribe one conversation. You can upload it. There's a lot of different ways you can do it. One I use is called speechpad.com.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Jan 11 2020

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Rank #11: Why Understanding the Value Of Retail Your Product Leads Increased Sales | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Do you feel like a fraud when you're selling in your store? Well, today I want you to think about where does that come from because an awful lot of times people who have trouble selling really don't believe it's worth the money and so maybe you know how much you paid for something and then you see the markup and so you think, okay, well that's really bad. Except you haven't really thought about all of the other things that have to go into pricing, which is what happens when something breaks? What happens when we have to put it on sale for half off or 60% off or what happens when the trends change or that's my money sitting there and who's paying for all of that? So the first part of that is to think about, are you feeling like a fraud? Then I want you to think about, how do you find the answers? My tip for you today is talking to satisfied customers. Why did they purchase the item from you?

If you can get into their head, then you can get into your game and ultimately not feel like a fraud, but realize I'm selling the best product I can at a fair price and the person who wants it is going to pay it. I just have to get over myself.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Jan 13 2020

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Rank #12: How to Draw Customers In By Framing the Doorway in Retail | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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So many times we think about attracting customers, and one of the ways that I've seen develop over probably 30 years was framing the doorway. Yeah, that's right. If you go and look at a lot of Chevy or Toyota dealers, you'll now notice a rectangle or a square right where the doors are that's painted in a very bright color. And why do they do that? Well, they want to make sure they grab your attention to know where to come in, but it also frames the entryway. And there's a lot of ways you can do that. You can do it by paint, you can do it by adding to the actual building, depending on your building codes, you can do it with plants and a welcome mat. But the framing of the entryway into your store helps shoppers realize that your store is different. And then come up with a companion window that actually grabs their attention enough to say, "Come inside and learn more."

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Jan 10 2020

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Rank #13: Why You Should Hold a Weekly Sale in Retail | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Do you have a weekly sale? Well, you should. You know, a weekly sale can focus an awful lot of interest around a brand or a product group. And I'm not talking about a 20% off this weekend only, that kind of thing. That's not it. A weekly sale is going to promote one item or one brand so that you have something different to talk about in your store each week. That means that's something new to talk about to your customers, in your emails, and in your social media. But it's also something to talk about different to your employees and to get them trained. And it also gives you a chance to remerchandise your store every week based on what you're doing. And it doesn't have to be a huge discount, it could be a gift with purchase. There are a million ways to do it. But the key is to have a weekly sale so that your store never looks like it's old, and I've been there, done that. There's always a reason to come in each week to your store.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Jan 27 2020

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Rank #14: How to Re-Vamp Your Retail Store With The Right Lighting | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Are you in the dark? Yeah, your business. You know, lighting is one of the most cost-effective things you can do. I find that lighting has come down so much with LEDs and so many new ways you can do it. To light under shelves and you can come up with all kinds of ways that don't cost an awful lot and far as power. And so today, I just want you to look around your store, look at the dark areas, and then look at some of your competitors. Certainly, go look at newer retail concepts, even all the way to newer Verizon or AT&T stores, or to CVS or Rite Aid or Walmart or some of the other ones that have newer stores. And look at how we've been lighting up the aisles in the last few years. Then take that and say, "Maybe I should call an electrician". And then when you do that, then you can light up the aisles and shelves. Because people are attracted by light and dark and dingy stores, telegraph: "There's nothing new going on here".

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Jan 17 2020

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Rank #15: Cleaning Up Your Retail Backroom Today And Feel Better | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Have you been in that creepy back room of yours yet? Recently I talked about cleaning your store and a lot of people leave the back room on its own. They become this dumping ground for sloppiness and leftovers and broken fixtures that you don't even carry anymore. But God forbid, maybe I'll be able to use them someday. And so we just leave all that stuff up or we throw it up on top of each other, which makes it harder and harder to organize your stock room. So today I want you to go into your back room and realize that you could do Marie Kondo and does this give you joy or not? Then get rid of it if it doesn't, but old fixtures, old boxes, those need to go and stock that should be returned to vendors needs to go. And if it's brand new merch it's not going to sell it all in that back room. So find a place, if you can, to at least get it on the sales floor or even up above the overstock. But make no mistakes, it's time to clean up that back room.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Jan 23 2020

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Rank #16: What Does ‘Culling The Herd’ in Retail Sales Mean? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Today is all about culling the herd. That's right, C-U-L-L-I-N-G. The goal is to get rid of the merchandise that isn't selling. Get rid of the dogs, get rid of the one-offs. Go through and make sure that you use this time in the soft months of January and February, to really get rid of that lower 20% that you shouldn't be in. To get rid of those little bits and pieces of merchandise that you thought would be wonderful and then clear it out. Make it at such a low price that your clearance sale only lasts about two weeks at the most. I encourage you to read my blog about how a new broom sweeps clean and that is http://bit.ly/clearancebob, and you'll be able to download the 10 types of merchandise to put on clearance. The main thing to remember though is, use this time to become lean on inventory because it's going to be a while until shoppers are going to be running back in buying more merch.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Jan 14 2020

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Rank #17: Why You Should Be Looking For New Hires Right Now | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Soon, you're college students, if they haven't already, are going to be going back to school who have helped you during the holidays, and I don't want you to be left high and dry. So today, I want you to think about looking for new hires. January is a slow month, and those college students that were wonderful will leave pretty quickly to get back to school. So wherever you see somebody at a coffee house or a restaurant, or you get good customer service, say, "Hey, I'm hiring. If you ever want to get some extra hours, I'd love for you to come down and talk to me," and hand them your business card.

Some people feel really shy about that, but you know what? If you've had a good experience, it makes it much more likely, A, that they're going to come back and B... to your business for the interview, but B, you know already that they're doing a lot of things right. So again, the January month is slow and realize that the mind goes before the body, so even people who stay... Might be time to upgrade your crew, so look for the new hires.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Jan 22 2020

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Rank #18: Top-Down Selling | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Today, I want you to watch how your employees sell your merchandise. Are they starting off at the bottom with whatever's cheapest or on sale? If so, my guess is they're probably also saying, “This is good enough,” or “It's a really good value.” And the problem with that is your more expensive merchandise just sits there until it's marked down.

Your goal, when you're selling merchandise that has several good, better, and best options, is to always present the first option as the best option. That's the one that has the most widgets. It has the most features, and then if you can't get that sale, you say, “Well, we'll lose these features as you go down to a price point.”

We call this selling from the top down, and there's a reason why it's so popular is because it works, but if you have untrained clerks, they're going to sell from their own wallets and what they're going to end up doing is selling the cheapest, which isn't the best.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Feb 18 2020

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Rank #19: Being More Strategic With Your Add-Ons as a Retailer | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Let's face it, there are fewer people walking in your brick-and-mortar store, and that's because any trip we save by buying online through Alexa or something else is one less going into your community. So, how do you make up the difference? Well, you have to get more out of the people that are walking in your door. So that's why you want to be able to cross sell, to be able to say, “Buy this item with this in a bundle,” or to add on after someone decides on the main purchase, then you're going to suggest one other item that gives them more enjoyment or makes it easier for the first item they picked out.

The key is, don't just come up with a laundry list, right? “Oh, it goes with this, and you could buy this and this.” Just lock up the most expensive first product first. If that's flooring for the house, then you just suggest the moldings. If you're selling window treatments, then you're talking about the headliners, or the cords, or the automation. But you don't keep them all together - you selectively add on, and when you do that, you can increase the number of items going out your store and more importantly, increase margins. So that's the way add-ons help customers get even more from their original purchase.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Feb 09 2020

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Rank #20: How to Be the Holiday Retail Sales Hero | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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So yesterday I talked about being a hero to the men who are still just now coming into your store. But I want you today on Christmas Eve to be the hero. And that means you're going to let somebody go home early and you're going to be responsible for closing the shop down. So many times people go through and they say, you have to stay here till five and ultimately it's dead. You know, the traffic falls off in most stores starting at about two. And if you're still open till five or six, don't close early because a lot of big sales can happen. Last moments, just make sure that you take the initiative to take on that responsibility and be a hero to your employees today.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Dec 24 2019

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Reaching Out to Your Retail Customers Through Social Media | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Now that you have more time than you might have liked, take the time to research your top 10 or 20 customers on their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles and see what charities they support, or in their social posts, and then send a note or a video thank you for their business. Then, add a line, "I was looking online and you know what I discovered about you? You like..." and then fill in whatever that is, and then share something you have in common before you sign off with your thanks. That's one way to show your customers that they are more than just money coming in to you, that there's actually a relationship.And on that note, this has got to be a pause in the flash briefings from me as I take a look into the effectiveness of these daily briefings, which I've done for a long time. I encourage you to check out my podcast "Tell Me Something Good About Retail" where every week I interview some of the most exciting retailers, brands, and movers and shakers for the retail area. In the meantime, do good work and remember, we're about as happy as we make our minds up to be.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Apr 01 2020

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For Retailers During the Coronavirus Shutdown, Now Is the Time to Look at Your Finances. | Retail Today with Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Mar 31 2020

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How Do I Staying Connected With My Employees as a Retailer During Coronavirus? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Staying connected is really tough at this time in our retail lives. So what I want you think about today is if you have employees you’re paying to stay home right now don't forget that you should still be checking in with him every day. Make it a schedule and expect them to be on Zoom on time, dressed, and ready for work. If they are not being paid but they’re home, maybe you’ve laid them off, don't forget that you still want to hold on to these people so they come back to you.

So one thing I've done is done once a week is just invite them to a virtual lunch or an official cocktail hour and everybody brings whatever it is important time and you're just being people at that moment. Know that if you're not paying them you're not paying for this - it's a way to try to keep some normalcy in it.

When the all-clear is given, which will happen at some point, you want these people to come back in a good mood and they're going to remember the courtesies that you gave them for being of service now.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 27 2020

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How Do I Use Email to Stay Connected With My Customers as a Retailer During the Covid-19 Crisis? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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A lot of your customers are sitting in front of their computers a lot more these days so a great way to reach them is to email. If you don't have a regular monthly newsletter or you haven't communicated, now is a perfect time to start. If you have a monthly newsletter, I encourage you to make that a weekly newsletter.

Start off with a compelling subject line like “What to Do When You're Working from Home” or “It’s Too Early for Wine - What Can I Do to Lighten My Mood?” You decide. You can write to them on how to do so. Now, if you’re a bookstore, I can't think of a better time of talking to your customers. Invite them to share their best classics one day or to share their best for the next day on your site. If you’re a toy store or you’re a cookware store, you know how to do this. Hardware stores can talk about the top-five honey-do list items and what it takes to get them done.

Your message has to be really important though when marketing, so don't show pictures of large crowds or people high-fiving, right? Be cautious when choosing your images and if you post pictures of people in the store, it couldn't hurt to show them wearing gloves as a package orders or washing her hands really well to visually see that you are taking care of them right now. You should definitely be posting what you're doing to keep your place sanitary but also how you're doing curbside pickup, your store hours, and more.

With this marketing, you want to stay in front of your customers now to be able to build sales later.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 26 2020

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How Do I Use Social Media Well as a Retailer During This Coronavirus Crisis? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor

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Mar 25 2020

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What Type of Retailer Are You In a Crisis? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Yesterday I told you about a sewing machine retailer with change their Facebook banner and end up getting a sale and today I thought I wanted to just unpack for you that they're really kind of three types of retailers when we are in a situation like we are today. The first one is "There's nothing I could do. I just have to hunker down and endure it," and some people, that's where they're at. Other people are saying, "It doesn't matter. I can do anything. This could be a challenge and I could do it," and the third one is that people understand that "I don't know exactly what I'm supposed to do," and for you, if that's you, that's why I'm talking to you today.

Sometimes people are saying this is a lot like 2008. Well, it's not really like 2008 because in 2008 the plumbing was 'mucked up' and that's not the case here. We think demand is going to rise. In fact, I was just talking to someone with a reporter in China and they say things are getting back to normal and people are going out to Starbucks. I'm hearing here in the states I understand that home centers seem to be filling up and doing well, but ultimately, it's the attitude that we reach when we come to this place that's going to determine how you're going to get through it.

So, today, I just want you to realize when you get up and you look at your situation you might be in that middle I'm not sure what it is. I just encourage you to take one step today: "How am I going to talk to my customers in a different way while I'm going through this?" or "How am I going to talk to my staff in a different way to go through this, or "I need to talk to somebody about my finances so that I can get through it," but that little act of taking action is what brings hope and that's what I want you to do today.

Take one action to help get you from "I don't know what to do" to "It's a challenge - I can succeed."

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 24 2020

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Making the Most of the Coronavirus Crisis as a Retailer | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 23 2020

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How Do I Keep Paying Employees as a Retailer through the Coronavirus Shutdown? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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One of the things retailers are asking me now in this time of stress is “How can I pay my employees?” And one thi I would encourage to consider is the share-the-burden idea, which is maybe staggering employee shifts and hours.

So, instead of someone working 25 hours a week they work 15 hours a week, but you’re able to maintain them on the schedule. Another way is to maybe have someone be on one week or another person be on the following week or giving someone two weeks of unpaid vacation.

There’s an awful lot of movement on the federal level right now about how they can get resources to small businesses. Make sure that you are following sba.gov and look at all of the options that are coming out in the next few days before you make a big change.

One of the things about getting rid of a bunch of employees is that it changes your culture quite a bit and it’s very hard to bring that culture back when your employees may feel like they weren’t part of the decision.

i hope that helps and I hope you are thinking positively as we go through this that there are people out there like me who are looking to help retailers like you who are going through this.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 20 2020

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The $1T Bailout, Bridge Loans, and Temporarily Closing Down as a Retailer Because of the Coronavirus | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Well, the good news is they’re considering a one-trillion-dollar ($1T) bailout for small businesses. How fast that will be doled out and how that will be implemented is still days and probably weeks away, but the good news is people are looking at how to help small businesses like you listening.

The other question comes up is "Do I close my store?" and I think you have to think about the advantages to both. Obviously, the #1 concern is the health of your employees and your community. We're being told in New York that all non-essential businesses should close and for some, that is a matter of looking at offering curbside delivery, for ramping up their online orders, and finding ways around the closing of the store. Other people are feeling like "I should close my store and have my employees go through and be on unemployment."

There are no easy choices here at all I think the important thing is whatever you do you have to be vetted so exactly what's going on. Some of the proposals people are making these can be retroactive to help you rehire people. So, I hope today you will at least consider there is a glimmer of hope and that the important thing is how we look at the challenges ahead is going to determine our leadership as a retailer for years to come.

Be careful as you're talking to people making sure that you're not overextending the crisis but also dealing fairly with it because the realities are most of us do not have big cash positions. The other thing I would suggest today is, if you haven't already, reach out to your local bank explain what's going on and get them to help you get a bridge loan.

I'll see you tomorrow on the Retail Today podcast with Bob Phibbs.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 19 2020

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Nostalgia Marketing and Connecting During Coronavirus Quarantine | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Today is Wednesday, March 18th, and today I want you to be thinking about nostalgia marketing. You know, during this time of crisis, it’s easy for us to feel bad about the future.

One thing that I think can help your customers feel normal with their circumstances is to ask them to share their favorite memory of shopping at your store. You can start off by doing a Facebook Live video talking about how your store has been around for generations, some of its heritage, and then invite them to share their favorite memories of a special time they visited your store.

If your store is too new for nostalgia, then you can certainly talk about starting your store and how excited you were. Then, you can remind them about the first time they experienced your store and get them to share.

Trying to find a new normal means getting in touch with things that were meaningful for us in the past.

That’s all I want you to do today is look at how you can market your store. It’s about connecting with your tribe in a new way. It’s not about giving them a discount or anything like that. It’s simply sharing a memory and then getting them to share a memory connected with your brand.

What I think you’ll find is that the support you’ll get from your customers will be overwhelming and reaffirm why you’ll continue being there for them.

That’s all I have for you today. Stay well and wash your damn hands.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 18 2020

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Help Flatten the Curve and Stop the Spread of Coronavirus as a Retailer | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Today is Tuesday March 17. St. Patrick’s day. We learned yesterday that new guidelines advise no gatherings of 10 or more people, the fed has slashed interest rates to 0, and Wall Street had another horrible day. While interest is coalescing around helping restaurants and small business, there are no firm plans yet.

America is split as to how leadership is doing on the virus; some cities are ghost towns while others are partying away. One thing is clear: we need to avoid going out in public to flatten the curve of virus spread. One less trip you make to the store, one more alcohol wipe you use around both your house and your business can make a difference.

Here’s what I recommend doing today as a retailer. If you have a personal service like amassage, haircut, etc. consider going to your clients instead of them coming to you. You could even do this regardless of what you sell. One-on-one you can still see people wash for 20 seconds, etc. I heard someone suggest do a Facebook live each morning showing your temperature to assure people at least you do not have a Fever. The important thing to do is look at how you can reassure people and still do some semblance of business.

If your business is closed or you are working from home, make sure to keep to a routine. Make a schedule and stick to it. Commit to certain blocks of time for learning, researching, and analyzing your business. Even if you have the kids home, sticking to a schedule can relieve some of the panic.

And don’t forget the front lines. Many employees are unable to take two weeks off yet are in contact with anxious customers. Make sure you thank them and be nice. This is a WE moment, not a ME moment.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 17 2020

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Help Flatten the Curve and Stop the Spread of Coronavirus as a Retailer | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Today is Tuesday March 17. St. Patrick’s day. We learned yesterday that new guidelines advise no gatherings of 10 or more people, the fed has slashed interest rates to 0, and Wall Street had another horrible day. While interest is coalescing around helping restaurants and small business, there are no firm plans yet.

America is split as to how leadership is doing on the virus; some cities are ghost towns while others are partying away. One thing is clear: we need to avoid going out in public to flatten the curve of virus spread. One less trip you make to the store, one more alcohol wipe you use around both your house and your business can make a difference.

Here’s what I recommend doing today as a retailer. If you have a personal service like amassage, haircut, etc. consider going to your clients instead of them coming to you. You could even do this regardless of what you sell. One-on-one you can still see people wash for 20 seconds, etc. I heard someone suggest do a Facebook live each morning showing your temperature to assure people at least you do not have a Fever. The important thing to do is look at how you can reassure people and still do some semblance of business.

If your business is closed or you are working from home, make sure to keep to a routine. Make a schedule and stick to it. Commit to certain blocks of time for learning, researching, and analyzing your business. Even if you have the kids home, sticking to a schedule can relieve some of the panic.

And don’t forget the front lines. Many employees are unable to take two weeks off yet are in contact with anxious customers. Make sure you thank them and be nice. This is a WE moment, not a ME moment.

Mar 17 2020

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The Coronavirus Is Closing Down Malls - Now What? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Today is Monday, March 16th. I'm going to change things around today. You know, we're in a new retail environment. This last Thursday when Disneyland announced they were closing and all of the major sports franchises decided they were postponing indefinitely, and then on Friday came New York deciding that all Broadway theaters would close. And then Sunday, yesterday, I realized that the American Dream Mall, one of the newest malls in America, has decided to close for the next two weeks. And what that said to me was, we're in a new normal. So if you have decided that the coronavirus is not going to affect you, I can tell you it is.

Today I want you to be thinking about should you stay open or closed and how that affects your employees and your customers and making sure that it is really grounded in what's going on in the world. Because at the end of the day, retailers are there to support their customers and whether you know it or not, you're probably out of business anyway for the next two weeks because we're being told, "Do not gather in large gatherings and make sure that you self-hibernate basically." And so there's gotta be any demand for a lot of things.

So, I want you to think today about, "Well, if I'm not going to use that time in my store to wait on customers, what am I going to do instead?" Maybe you're going to actually go to your store and do FaceTime videos, so you can maybe wait on customers virtually and then bring your packages to them in the car. They use PayPal or something to pay for it. Maybe you're going to go through and look at a lot of other things, but in the next two weeks, each day, I'm going to give you specific topics that you can work on during this time of crisis to become a better retailer and to come out of this stronger than ever before.

I hope you'll tune in and tell your friends. And today, just consider that you already pretty much are closed due to low demand and consumer sentiment. What are you going to do for these next two weeks to get yourself ready when inevitably this starts to pass and we find a new normal in retail?

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 16 2020

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How Do I Sell Expensive Merchandise as a Retailer? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Are you a salesperson in a retail store? Well, today I'm talking about how do you feel about selling your more expensive merchandise.

A lot of times that when I'm doing sales consulting, or I'm doing a training with a group of stores, I find that there's a lot of people who actually feel like they're being a fraud. They know how much something costs, and they feel bad about going through and charging as much money they do.

The problem is that when you feel that something is too expensive, you're going to go through and give that same feeling to the shopper. If you feel like a fraud, well you'll probably not sell much that isn't on sale. And so, today I want you to look at when you go through your merchandise, and you see something at the top end, do you feel like a fraud when you go to sell it?

And you need to work inside on your own feelings about that because maybe you feel it's not worth it. Well, you better find enough reasons why it is worth it or you'll never sell that product.

If you're a trainer, or you're going through... You're the retail store owner or manager, understand that that feeling like a fraud is leading to an awful lot lower average ticket because the associates could only sell what's on sale. They don't feel like anything is worth it. That's your role as a sales guide, is to go through and train them enough to understand that it's not about what you feel, it's about the shopper.

That's your tip for today. Look at how'd you feel when someone considers your most expensive item, and then make sure that you don't feel like a fraud and give that energy off to them.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 15 2020

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Which Buying Option Should You Present First as a Retailer? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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You know, if you're trying to close a sale, one of the hardest things is just presenting too many options. You know it yourself, if you get overwhelmed, suddenly work is what shopping feels like and you shut down. You're like, oh, I've seen too much. I just have to leave. I'll come back. Except you don't come back. You'll probably go to some other retailer who doesn't make it feel that way. What I want you to do today is to look at curating down your products to a good, better, and best. Because too many choices leads to your shoppers saying, "I'll have to think about it." That's a good lesson you can work on with your employees as well, is for them to understand, oh, this is a good, better, and best alternative to someone who needs, I don't know, a new raincoat.

How do we present that? We always start with the best because that's the one that is probably more expensive due to the materials. What does that do? It's lighter weight or it repels water better, whatever that's going to be. If someone can't afford that, then you say, "Oh, I also have this version, but we lose the convenience of the lightweight. It's going to be a heavier, it's going to be a heavier cloth." Then if they say, "Oh, that's too much," and then you get down to something basic and then you're not trying to make that sound the same as the more expensive one. You're just showing all the things that they've lost. That's so different than what most people who are untrained do. They start off with the cheapest one and the customer says, "Okay, that's good enough for me." The problem with that is the more expensive merchandise sit.

Today I want you to curate down to a good, better, and best and role play so that they, your crew, understands too many choices leads to, "I'll think about it." You know what the problem with that is? They don't buy it from you. If that happens enough, you're not in business again.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 14 2020

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What Does Your Product Do For Your Retail Customer? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Yesterday I was talking about employees and associates who just want to vomit useless fact after useless fact on people. They're typically kind of, an engineer or an analytical background and they think that the facts are what is going to make the sale.

And today's tip for you is, that you always want to lead with what the product does for the customer after you've talked to them. You don't want to talk about how much it cost, or just the facts.

Nobody buys based on just what the facts of what the product has. What they buy on, is what will work for them. And that's the key for you to think about today is. So, find your top five items, go over your crew with them, and then say, "What does this do?"

Now, that could be apparel. It's going to be more expensive, so it's not going to scratch your neck. It could be an appliance that goes through and it takes less water, or less energy. There's a million things that every retailer has that benefits the shopper, but if you're not looking at that and you think the product knowledge is your key more often than not you're just vomiting useless facts.

And frankly, all I need is three benefits and I'm going to buy it. So, today lead with what the product does, not what it cost, or the facts that it has.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 13 2020

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How Do I Manage Different Personality Styles as a Retail Sales Leader? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Have you ever met somebody that you just can't get along with, whether they're interviewing for a job or a shopper or even a colleague? We all have, and there's other people that really do well with you and really like them. We've all had that as well. Well, I think that there is an awful lot to personality styles. In fact, today I want you to Google my personality quiz, so Retail Doctor personality quiz. You can take it and find out that there are people that are not like you. And the reason that's so important is if you understand what your typical characteristics are, the way you look at the world, and you understand that three-quarters of the world is not like you, then you can modify the way you talk to them.

For example, I'm a driver personality and I'm kind of a cut to the chase guy, which is fine, except that when I wait on analytical, an engineer or someone that's got more of a process they need, they have a hundred questions. I don't get mad at them. I just realize like, "Oh, so this person needs to hear more detail, that's fine." But if it's the other way around, if I have an analytical salesperson waiting on me and they want to just vomit useless information after useless information on me, I just want to slap them. It's like, "I got it, dude. It's the best. It does this, but has nothing to do with me."

So, today I just want you to Google my personality quiz, just the Retail Doctor personality quiz. You'll find it and then understand that your personality is different than 75% of your shoppers. And when you know that you can modify your way that you talk to them, rather than expecting them to do something different.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 12 2020

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Do Thank-You Notes Still Work for Retailers? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Have you ever been thanked by a vendor or by a store that you did business with? It's pretty powerful. I have a pond that I had cleaned out a while ago and they sent me a handwritten thank you and told me how great the pond was and made one more suggestion of something we could do, maybe next year when we have it cleaned out. And that really stuck with me, because I go back to them over and over again. And so today I want you to think about the power of sending thank yous because obviously you want to build the list, but your top 20 customers are most likely to move the needle of sales. So you can just thank them without any other offer. You don't have to give them 20% off this weekend or something else. Just simply doing that. And yeah, you can do it by a phone call, but a lot of people don't want to answer a phone, but taking the time to just do a handwritten thank you to your top 20 customers goes a long way.

So that's what I want you to do today, is just send one. Just find one of your best customers and send them a thank you with no expectation they're going to come in or buy something else for you, and the more specific you can be about that, their last purchase or something personal about them, the more it will help you. But again, word of mouth starts in these small moments, which you can control.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 11 2020

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How Do I Sell More Units Per Sale as a Retailer? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Do you ever wonder how valuable your employees are to you? A lot of people do. They don't really know exactly what the metrics are, and I always say, "Look at the units per sales." That's the #1 way I look at it. That's the tip I'm talking about today because add-ons are the most cost-effective ways to lift your retail sales, means you sell the first item, and then the employee shows something that's complimentary that helps the person get more out of that first purchase.

It's a matter of looking at getting numbers of basket items to rise rather than trust going after the highest-priced item because you'll find that everything has something else in your store. Whether that's shoes, they get the polish or the shoe trees, whether that's a dress and they can go through and get the belt, whether that's a hardware store and you can get a new hammer with the nails, there's always something you can suggest. When you see that, then you reward those best employees who are selling more units per individual sales than just getting the big sales. That's your tip for today.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 10 2020

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How Do I Get Shoppers to Give Me a Review? | Retail Today With Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor - Flash Briefing

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Do you ever go to a movie without looking at a review? I don't. I always want to know that and shoppers are no different now. They're looking at all kinds of reviews whether it's product reviews, brand reviews or even in your individual store. Whether you're big or small, you need to get those reviews and you need to be timely in talking to people. So today, I'm just talking about making the time to set aside one morning a week and monitor your public reviews. Going through and being able to comment. If somebody's saying something bad, you ask them to call you. It shows the intent that you have to fix it. People are reviewing you right now, so you want to make sure you know that they know you are there to respond to them.

Then look at how you can get people to actually give you reviews. You ask them in a great sales process at the end or you put a little flyer in your bags or you ask people in your newsletter. There's a million ways you can do it. Just make sure you do the next step, which is always respond and being encouraging, so that you get more of those reviews.

If you love what you heard on Retail Today, connect with Bob by visiting retaildoc.com or send a message to bob@retaildoc.com. Thanks for listening!

Mar 09 2020

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