In The Trenches About The Future of Retail With The Retail Doctor Bob Phibbs – Episode 020

On this episode we ask the tough question about retail to retail expert Bob Phibbs: What are your thoughts about the future of Retail?the-retail-doctor

Retail is at a pivotal time with many businesses shutting down and shifting online.

Bob firmly believes that retail is not dead.

The reality is that most of the companies were not profitable in the first place, then went to wall street and opened more stores, so now with the ease of online and Amazon doing e

Amazon Go

Bob is skeptical because the store did not work with more than 20 people and the process feels weird to people.

He thinks that they are going to license the technology to other companies so that they can leverage the data.

Amazon Go is basically a self-serve warehouse.

My take: All new technologies feel strange at first.  However since Amazon Go is clearly more efficient I think it has potential to become more prolific and mainstream in the future.

Retail innovations like self checkout devices at grocery stores have already proven themselves to be viable and are in widespread use in Wal-Marts and many other major grocery and department stores.

Customer Experience

Bobs understanding is that customer experience is one human meeting and helping another human with an open heart.

Successful retail is all about the customer experience.

Bob thinks that personalization through technology can feel invasive and does not yet have a clear understanding of who a person is and their preferences.

I think that personalization is being done right whenever it enhances the customer experience.

Personalization done wrong is whenever the customer experience suffers, as was the case in the example Bob gave with “grampies.”

How do you think AR/VR with affect the future of retail? What retailers are successfully using AR now?

The example Bob gave was of LEGO.

Lego’s augmented reality technology is actually pretty cool.

Personally I’m excited to see more augmented reality technology make its way into the grocery store.

Apple Glasses

Bob does not think that these will be a game changer and compared them to the Apple watch.

Personally I am more bullish about Apple Glasses and think that since they provide the ability to augment the world with useful information that their potential for success is much greater than an Apple watch, which is limited by a small screen and voice commands.

At the end of the day is it really helping the customer experience?

Successful boutique retailers know where their sweet spot is.  They know their ideal customer.

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