In order for MI retailers to continue to grow their businesses, they must do three things: court the new “leisure class,” serve to sell and make it personal, not transactional, stated Bob Phibbs, founder, The Retail Doctor, on Jan. 21 during his Believe in Music Week educational session.

Regarding the leisure class, Phibbs defined this group as consumers who have much more free time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The average commuter got back two hours a day, which equals three months a year. This leads to a new leisure class,” said Phibbs during the session, titled “Music Retail: The Game Has Changed — It’s Better.”

As for “serving to sell,” Phibbs noted: “You’re not selling a widget. You’re selling a promise to find confidence, and money is part of that transaction. Service is very important.”

Making an MI sale personal, not transactional, can be more difficult than before due to online sales now being a crucial source of revenue for retailers. “Shoppers are more likely to become loyal buyers not from their use of technology, but from human interactions,” stressed Phibbs.


Music has been a big beneficiary of the leisure trend, leading to increased guitar sales during the pandemic. Retailers are motivated more than ever to be successful. But Phibbs cautioned that they must know where to aim and what the target is.

“We have lost sight of our real goal,” he said. “It is the ultimate ‘why.’ It has to be worth the struggle.” The Retail Doctor offered the example that nobody in their right mind would enter a burning building to retrieve a $20 bill, but would risk life and limb if a child or loved one were stuck in that same burning building.

“Go deep and come up with your ‘why,” stressed Phibbs. “It should not be I want to increase sales. A much better ‘why’ is you want to set up your kids for a successful future without a mountain of debt.”

“Write down your ‘why’ and put it where you can see it,” he said. “The deeper you get into your ‘why,’ the more successful you become.”

Once your “why” is established, Phibbs advised doing two other things. First is to write down three things you wish could have gone better at your business in the past year, putting these in a bucket, (physically or metaphorically) and lighting them on fire (safely of course). “You need to empty the garbage and negativity,” he said.

The next step is the opposite: Ask yourself what you did well in your business in the past year and then make a goal for this year. “The goal should be, ‘This year, I want to …’ It can be about business or your personal life. Then, you need to write down the three things that are needed to achieve that goal,” Phibbs relayed. “Do you need to hire more people? Do you need to stop looking at smartphone?”

Once this goal is determined, think about something you did that day to advance the goal, Phibbs advised. “When you wake up and get out of bed, think of one thing you will do that day to move toward your goal.”

“Yes, the world has changed,” concluded Phibbs. “Now is our time. In hope, we are fearless.”

Click here for more of the Music & Sound Retailer’s CTV @ Believe In Music Week coverage. 

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