Consumer experience is brick-and-mortar’s secret weapon

The Retail Doctor has a big hug of encouragement for grocery retailers, but he delivers it with a big face slap to re-invent customer service or risk becoming irrelevant. Bob Phibbs, the U.S.-based retail consultant, encouraged attendees at Grocery Showcase West in Vancouver on Sunday to worry less about the disruptive explosion in e-tailing and […]

The Retail Doctor has a big hug of encouragement for grocery retailers, but he delivers it with a big face slap to re-invent customer service or risk becoming irrelevant.

Bob Phibbs

Bob Phibbs, the U.S.-based retail consultant, encouraged attendees at Grocery Showcase West in Vancouver on Sunday to worry less about the disruptive explosion in e-tailing and to focus more on the personal customer experience to stay relevant.

“People buy people first,” Phibbs told a crowd of several hundred at the event. For all the buzz over the rise of Amazon, it’s still only 1% of sales and 85% of retails in general will still take place in physical stores in 2025, he forecast.

“You are not going to be able to compete on price. The only thing retailers are going to be able to compete on is experience,” he said.

Phibb encouraged attendees to actively engage millennials, a consumer segment that expects to be constantly given a reason to maintain any connection with retailers or brands.

The best way to sell your products, he stressed, is to concentrate less on the product and more on overcoming customer indifference.

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