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Articles by Bob Phibbs


Retail Management Tips: 15 Ways to Increase Profit Margins (3/1/2016)
A few years ago, it seemed everyone was tacking on a gas surcharge for most any product.

Why And How To Do An Employee Review (2/1/2016)
Employee reviews are one of the most neglected tools a retailer can use to alter their fate.

Brick and Mortar Retail Stores' Best Asset Is Alive And Well (1/1/2016)
This is a post about why brick and mortar retail stores still rule in a world of omnichannel.

Want to know how to close a retail sale? Take your time. (12/1/2015)
Steve was a very good salesman.

Should You Decorate Your Retail Store For The Holidays? If So, How? (11/1/2015)
Various seasonal times and holidays can inspire retailers to create magic for their customers. And decorations go far beyond a demonstration of a new skillet or an invitation-only event.

Do You Recognize These 6 Early Warning Signs Of Losing A Retail Sale? (10/1/2015)
A lot has been written on closing a sale, but what if you could see the warning signs you were going to crash and burn? Would that be valuable to your sales team?

How To Reach Retail Customers In Spite Of Their Cocoons (9/1/2015)
Let's admit it, we are now a society of individual planets.

Sales Training: The 5 Stupidest Questions To Ask Retail Shoppers (8/1/2015)
People who sell retail have to up their game, or their brick and mortar stores will bleed customers.

How To Avoid Hearing A Customer's "No, I'm Just Looking" Ever Again (7/1/2015)
Were you ever picked by a teacher to come up in front of class when you weren't prepared to speak?

How To Reduce Retail Employee Turnover (6/1/2015)
For CEOs and hiring managers, retail employee turnover can quickly turn into a black hole that devours profits.

7 Critical Things Your Retail Employees Won’t Tell You (5/1/2015)
One of my earliest retail consulting clients was a coffee house.

Retailers, Use These 39 Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Business (4/1/2015)
One of my favorite stories as a kid was the Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Best Cross Selling Sales Tips for Retailers (3/1/2015)
Cross selling is the art of suggesting additional, complementary items to someone who has already decided on a purchase.

4 Ways To Improve Your Retail Customer Experience and Sales (2/1/2015)
Many retail stores offer the same or similar products as you do, and anything is available online.

Three Tips to Maximize Retail Sales (1/1/2015)
If you’ve felt meeting your retail sales projections depends solely on the number of shoppers who show up at your door, then you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

How To Make Sure Your Holiday Retail Sales Are Up (12/1/2014)
I purchased a turkey mask the other day.

This Advanced Retail Selling Technique Could Save Your Store (11/1/2014)
One of the most basic elements of any retail sales training program is covering product features and benefits

Get Ready for the Holidays: How to De-Clutter Your Retail Store (10/1/2014)
Merchandise, like food or like alcohol, can be great...Until you have too much

6 Smart Ways to Spend $1000 (Or Less) To Attract More Retail Customers (9/1/2014)
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 close the sale are priorities.

Take These 9 Actions In Summer For Successful Winter Holiday Sales (8/1/2014)
Here are my top nine actions you need to take to have a successful holiday season in 2014

For Retailers on the Edge of Adding Commission as Incentive (7/1/2014)
Every time I hear that somehow, retail employees who receive no commission deliver better customer service, I want to puke

Why Your Customer Service Has To Include Selling (6/1/2014)
Instead of worrying about getting new customers, why not sell more to the ones you already have?

Are Your Employees Putting Your Retail Brand At Risk? (5/1/2014)
If you read my recent posts on my shopping experience at Nordstrom and Radio Shack, you know there is a lot going on at the customer level that most brands simply aren’t acknowledging...and it comes down to how little retail salespeople really want to make a sale

What To Do When You Don’t Like To Sell (4/1/2014)
Independent retailers with one location represent 95% of all retailing in the US; yet many don’t like to sell their own merchandise

8 Reasons Why Your Retail Employee Turnover Is So High (3/1/2014)
When employees leave – either because you fired them or they quit by choice – their absence leaves a hole. Retailers hate holes… in merchandise, in displays and in schedules.

6 Retail Pricing Mistakes to Avoid (1/1/2014)
Retail pricing mistakes happen when the customer is charged the wrong price. You need to charge a price you can make a profit on. Of course, this means that a retailer must be extremely aware of their pricing strategy to ensure that their pricing is done accurately and in a timely manner

Your First Holiday Season As A Retail Manager (12/1/2013)
I’m going to share with you eleven secrets of a successful holiday season. If you’re a veteran store manager, these tips should remind you of what’s about to happen

Retailers: How To Handle A Customer Complaint in 6 Steps (11/1/2013)
Have you ever tried to make a customer complaint but been unable to?

Retail Shoppers – Your 50 Pet Peeves About Retail Employees (10/1/2013)
Review this list of 50 retail shopper pet peeves, then look at your training program. How are you committed to removing these obstacles to purchase?

7 Tips for Managing Cash Flow in September (9/1/2013)
Retailers have always been at the mercy of the yearly calendar. As the seasons change, so does the climate of the market, which can mean that your cash flow varies drastically from month to month

27 Things You Need To Know Before Starting a New Business (8/1/2013)
Starting a new business can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime. It can also be the most demanding

Greeting A Customer: Should A Smile Be Required? (7/1/2013)
Sales managers can tell you one thing has remained constant for generations: a friendly salesperson sells more than an unfriendly salesperson

5 Retail Sales Mistakes That Cost You Business (6/1/2013)
Marketing brings customers to the door, but these five retail selling mistakes send them out empty-handed

Retail Management: Are You Thinking Like A Customer Or Merchant? (5/1/2013)
Whenever I look at a business that is not making money, it's usually because the owners or managers are thinking like a customer or employee rather than a merchant

Retailers: How To Beat A Lower Priced Competitor: Your Vendor (4/1/2013)
Many retailers ask this question: what do you do when you are directly competing with one of your vendors?

Training Retail Employees to Ask for the Sale (3/1/2013)
"Always be closing" is an overused phrase retail sales managers have used for years. It sounds great, and if everyone were Alec Baldwin, it would work

5 Time Management Tips For Retailers (2/1/2013)
Time management isn’t just for accountants — it’s for everyone. Managers and independent retail owners are pushed and pulled in dozens of ways — it’s the nature of the business

Will Online Shopping Follow the Path of Catalogs? (1/1/2013)
Considering the huge success of this year's Cyber Monday and Black Friday online sales, I thought it would be interesting to see how the online shopping industry of today compares to the catalog shopping industry of 2001

5 Reasons Part-Time Employees Could Undermine Your Retail Store (12/1/2012)
I read a disturbing article today in the New York Times called A Part-Time Life, as Hours Shrink and Shift about the trend of retailers and restaurants to cut or limit hours of their part-time employees

Approaching customers in a "Good" Way (11/1/2012)
In my role as a retail consultant I’m often asked, "How should I approach a customer?"

Retailers: Get Holiday-Ready with Mystery Shoppers (10/1/2012)
Have you heard of the runaway success of the burger franchise Five Guys? What's one of the big reasons Five Guys is wildly successful? They send mystery shoppers out twice a week to all locations

Avoid Holiday Burnout with these 7 Retailing Tips (9/1/2012)
With all the demands of retail during the holiday season, including longer hours, employees calling in sick, and dealing with gift returns, it is easy to throw up your hands and become the Grinch. But you can’t let that comfortable old “grinchy” feeling in or it will cost you sales

Retail Sales Training: 9 Ways To Improve Your Selling (8/1/2012)
You’ve probably heard it said of someone, “They could sell (snow, ice, a refrigerator) to an Eskimo,” or something similar to that. But how did they get that way? Is the ability to excel at retail selling an instinctive talent that one has to be born with, that can’t be learned?

18 Tips on Creating Killer Retail Window Displays (7/1/2012)
Visual Merchandising is something many retailers feel challenged by. What to put in the store window? What to put with it? How much merchandise should be in the window? These are great questions to ask yourself. After all, your window is your brand

Retailing Tips: 5 Keys to Unlocking Your Competition (6/1/2012)
When I do a business makeover, I invite the owner to visit the competition with me. It can be a little like trying to get a child to want to go to the dentist to get a cavity filled. The stress. The doubting. The excuses. But why? What is there to be afraid of?

7 Tips to Make Retail Displays Work For You (5/1/2012)
There are a lot of ways in which displays can be a silent salesperson. The trick is to keep in mind these seven basic, yet essential, tips

Retailers: Increase Your Sales by Juggling Customers (4/1/2012)
Slow sales have produced a retail sales force that is used to working with just one person. It’s like a juggler who can only keep one ball in the air. That can cost you sales – big time.

3 Tips for Dealing With Merchandise That Won't Sell (3/1/2012)
Think of your inventory like you would fresh milk. Unless you look at it, you end up with spoiled, stained and unsellable merch

New Year, New Look: 5 Signs Your Store Needs a Makeover (2/1/2012)
When you opened your business however many years ago, everything was fresh, but that once shiny layer of paint is now faded, the shelves are chipped, and the merch isn’t looking too good...

Weathering the Storm: 9 Tips on Selling Through the Snow (1/1/2012)
Weather can negatively affect retail business in many ways, but snow is especially bad

7 Tips on Selling After Christmas (12/1/2011)
You have one mission after the holidays: to minimize returns to grow sales

Convert More Sales During the Holidays With These 5 Tips (11/1/2011)
The average customer only goes into three stores on an average shopping visit, and an intriguing window display can ensure that they will include yours

Getting Ready for the Holidays: 5 Tips To Help Your Store (10/1/2011)
By the time you’re in the thick of the Holiday season, you’ll be too busy to deal with any big issues that arise

Giving Feedback to Your Retail Employees (9/1/2011)
Creating a culture of exceptional experiences for customers can happen only when we give exceptional thought to how we give feedback and train our employees.

Connect With Your Store's Customers - How Attitude Affects Sales (7/1/2011)
When a customer comes into your store, you need to connect to that person standing in front of you who has their own feelings, needs, and desires

How Survivor Guilt Prevents Sales (6/1/2011)
Survivor’s guilt plays out by projecting our worries onto our customers. It’s like the salesperson adopts a losers limp. On an irrational level, these individuals wince at their privileged escape from death’s clutches or worry they are next

How to Create a Commission Structure That Motivates (5/1/2011)
I believe in commissioning sales. Whether that means employees get an hourly rate and a % of sales they make like Sandy, a bonus at the end of the month or a chance to win at trip. Call it what you want but the best bosses share the wealth, not hoard it

Want to Find a Good Retail Location? Check the Trash (4/1/2011)
If you want to open a retail business because you, “think it will be fun,” “want something to do,” or feel a need for “a change,” don’t do it. It would be like going into a bar at closing time, finding the worst possible person for you and then marrying them. If you think a divorce could be messy, wait until you see what happens to get out of a five or ten-year lease

Avoid Redundancy in Your Toy Store (3/1/2011)
For a retailer, redundancy is costly – that’s your money sitting there! How many redundant products do you have on your shelf?

What Every Retailer Ought to Know About Five-Finger Discounts (2/1/2011)
Yes, employees stealing. Oh, I know, not yours. I used to think so myself until…I was working with a small boutique hotel

How to Buy at a Trade Show (1/1/2011)
Information is power. Lew Platt, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, once famously said: “If HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times as profitable!” Information is all around us but the trick is, what to do with it

Ostriches Never Win (12/1/2010)
Remember how Kirstie Alley famously lost weight the same time as Valery Bertinelli in 2007? Valerie has kept the weight off, Kirstie has put on more than ever

How to Sell to Guys for the Holidays (11/1/2010)
As each day gets closer to 6pm Christmas Eve, the malls thin out and you begin to notice more and more men – especially on Christmas Eve itself, when the malls are practically fueled by testosterone

How Groupons Can Bust Your Business (10/1/2010)
Just because millions of merchants have fallen under the spell of Groupon, a PR juggernaut, and their like, it doesn’t mean you should. It’s a killer alright, a profit-killer

Take a Cue: Good Customer Service is Like Billiards (9/1/2010)
Ever played pool? It starts off with all the balls together, the cue ball comes along to break them up, they scatter and the game commences. That’s what I expect in a retail store

Leave the Church Out of Your Store (6/1/2010)
I’ve been studying retail for several decades — how people shop, how stores are arranged, how merchandise does or doesn’t do well. In speaking to toy-store owners, I've noticed how many have a fairly random way of organizing

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