Ask The Retail Doctor

Ask The Retail Doctor: What’s The #1 Piece Of Advice Retailers Need?

the retail doctor abound

Bob Phibbs is the Retail Doctor. He’s been consulting with retailers across the country for 26 years and knows how to instantly assess any retail location. In addition to offering consulting services, he also has an in-depth blog that discusses the ins and outs of running a retail location. For the next 8 weeks, we’ll be running a series of articles where we Ask The Retail Doctor for advice. See all Retail Doctor articles here.

Abound: When you’re consulting, what advice do you tell people the most? 

Bob: Well, I like to think I’m the voice of the customer. I only get that once, where I don’t know about you, your brand, or your products. I don’t care what your backstory is, I don’t care that you hired one guy after he was kicked out of college when he had a flat tire on a rainy day so you feel responsible for him.

All I care about is, is your store clean? That’s number one. Is it inviting? Does it look cluttered or curated? Do you have people that know how to engage a stranger and sell the merchandise, or do you pretty much have order takers? Do you have a well-lit, sunny space for me to shop, or have you gone cheap on all your lighting so it’s kind of dark and spooky?

Ultimately, do I walk away with a feeling, or do I walk away feeling nothing? Those are my determiners, and admittedly, they’re subjective, but they’re all built on what I’ve done for the last 26 years now. 

A lot of retailers are struggling right now because customers don’t feel anything. When retailers aren’t anything special and they start putting up signs for 20%, 30%, and then 70% off, it only shows even more desperation. Viewing everything through the eyes of the customer’s emotions is the most important thing a retailer can do.

Check out all our interviews with the Retail Doctor here.

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