Ben Ball

Senior Vice President, Dechert-Hampe

Ben is Senior Vice President for Dechert-Hampe where he specializes in Customer Development – implementing go-to-market strategies and tactics that build a stronger customer franchise and superior financial performance. As the lead on customer development for DHC, he works with companies such as Bayer Consumer Care, Con Agra, Hewlett-Packard Company, Sara Lee Food & Beverage, Time Warner, Pillsbury and the Mars, Inc. companies.

Ben is a frequently published author in the business press on the subjects of the Evolution of Retailing, Vendor/Distributor Relationships, Customer Relationship Management, Category Management and Trade Marketing. He has chaired numerous conferences on these subjects and is a featured speaker at major industry associations.

Prior to joining Dechert-Hampe in 1992, Ben was Marketing Vice President at PepsiCo Foods International. Other experience includes Marketing Vice President and Director of Field Marketing at Frito-Lay, Inc., group brand manager of new products at Mars, Incorporated, Snack-master Division, and Product Manager at General Mills, Inc.

He holds a Masters Degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dechert-Hampe & Company, a Sales and Marketing consulting firm, has offices located in Trumbull, Connecticut; Northbrook, Illinois; and Mission Viejo, California.

At Dechert-Hampe we like to say we are “Consumer Driven – Customer Focused”. We provide a range of services to clients, all focused on optimizing the customer interface with a consumer perspective in mind. These services include traditional Sales and Marketing consulting as well as a range of supporting services such as Organization Education and Development, Customer-facing Operations services and Communications.

Dechert-Hampe has been involved with Customer Development initiatives since the early ‘80’s, and for the past ten years Ben has concentrated on developing DHC’s capabilities in Marketing, Category Management, Trade Funds Management and Customer Relationship Management. DHC engagements in these areas encompass Grocery, General Merchandise, HBC, Dairy and Frozen Food clients in both the United States and Canada. These engagements have also touched a breadth of retail channels including Food, Drug, Mass Merchandisers, Office Supply, Consumer Electronics, Wholesale Clubs, Superstores, Specialty Outlets and the Military.

  • Posted on: 03/27/2020

    Can Nike’s coronavirus playbook work for others?

    It all depends on what business you are in. Demand for services and out-of-home dining will probably surge when restrictions are lifted. How consumers will react to other categories like soft goods and hard lines is much harder to predict. The hard part for businesses will be that the ability to stockpile inventory (services vs. hard lines) is inverse to the likelihood of demand spikes.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2020

    Would bundled tech services spur the sales of smart home devices?

    There is a cultural and generational experience shift that must occur for smart home technology to become the norm and it will take time. Early adopters of technology are typically driven more by novelty and cachet than functionality. But as a technology becomes ubiquitous we gradually find it "indispensable." Take a simple example like keyless vehicle entry and remote start. That was a luxury item -- for about five years. Now it is the norm on even the least expensive vehicles. The same will happen with smart homes as they become the norm for homebuilders and new developments. But some of us will still need that technical assistance. (Imagine "raised hand" emoji not available on RetailWire inserted here.)
  • Posted on: 03/24/2020

    What’s the right messaging amid the coronavirus outbreak?

    I'm very late to the party today, Lee, and I'm sorry because I would have liked to jump in and support your POV while more people were still reading. It seems the ability to spill digital ink to the world in nanoseconds at no cost has convinced us that we should -- every time something happens. As young brand marketers, we often found ourselves fighting for funding for media or an event. One of the tried and true arguments was "but we will be conspicuous in our absence!" These days I think that has become the more proactive strategy sometimes.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2020

    Costco is refusing returns on hoarded items

    Of course I agree. But the thing that actually struck me about this discussion is that it might be the highest participation (judged by number of comments) on a topic with 100 percent agreement among panelists ever. Rick, is there a stat for that?
  • Posted on: 03/18/2020

    Michigan AG accuses Menard’s of price gouging

    Why do I have "Save Big Money with Menard's!" ringing in my ears right now? Shoppers are hyper-sensitive to this sort of thing right now, and governments no doubt equally anxious to score points with voters as being their watchdog. But retailers with Menard's positioning need to protect their core price perception with consumers. The short-term margin gains just aren't worth it.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2020

    Will Lands’ End have a better experience inside of Kohl’s than it did at Sears?

    I hope this works out for both Lands' End and Kohl's. I'm probably not a good judge because I left the Lands' End fold many years ago, but somehow I have trouble thinking of Lands' End as anything other than a catalog.
  • Posted on: 03/12/2020

    Coffee chain’s turbo-caffeinated expansion driven by data

    Concerns about Luckin's profit potential can be evaluated by looking at the business sans investment in expansion (which includes delivery costs in their growth model.) If the existing business would be showing a profit then the business model is sound. My bet is that it would and a healthy one at that. Starbucks has been experimenting with "automated baristas" under their Seattle's Best line for several years. In the U.S. consumers have become accustomed to Starbucks as an experience and not just a cup of coffee. That, in combination with very bad memories of very bad vending machine coffee, has caused automated baristas to meet with limited success. China is a different market entirely. Luckin has to beat Starbucks to the punch on this one. Luckin should continue to invest in growth. Investors already on board with Luckin know the drill and they understand the rewards of being patient -- as long as the money is being invested in growth.
  • Posted on: 03/12/2020

    Coffee chain’s turbo-caffeinated expansion driven by data

    Agreed on most counts Suresh. But I smiled a bit when I read the concern in the article over "operating at a loss..." When a business is in start-up mode in this era, it is sometimes more instructive to look at free cash flow, revenue growth and customer retention. Of course, how the money is being spent -- the "expenses" -- matters too. When it is reinvestment in the growth of the business, and particularly when it is to preempt the responses of strong competition like Starbucks, it can make sense. Look to Amazon, Shopify and Tencent for examples of companies that operated at an accounting base loss to fund growth.
  • Posted on: 03/12/2020

    Is opening pharmacies in other chain stores CVS’s new thing?

    Absolutely. The chain pharmacies come with a current book of customers and prescriptions that generate steady revenue from day one. CVS operates both pharmacies and HBC/OTC merchandising better than most chain operators. The chains should see increased sales and therefore increased fees or commissions. It should be a win-win.
  • Posted on: 03/10/2020

    Will rival retailers buy Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ technology?

    Retailers will be reading those "Amazon won't use your data..." clauses very carefully. As for the cost, retrofitting stores will only pay out with reduced labor expense. Sales increases due to convenience, if they materialize at all, will be mitigated as surrounding retailers also adopt the technology. I think this is a classic case of the right strategy being "fast follower" -- at least for existing stores. New stores are a different matter. Not equipping them for no-checkout technology from the beginning will eventually prove short-sighted.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2020

    Will augmented reality tech effectively bring the try-on experience online?

    I agree that it is difficult to "try on" a pair of pants virtually Stephen. But at least one company has got the virtual sizing of that shirt you like on the model on the website down. Check out With a few snapped poses from your phone you can get a custom fitted version of that shirt or those pants tailored just for you. I can attest from the custom shirts that it works great.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2020

    Will coffee subscriptions raise some dough for Panera?

    This is a very interesting proposition. Amazon Prime effectively increased visits and purchases by creating a consumer perception of "free shipping." Will Panera be able to create that same perception of "free coffee"? I think the frequency of the $8.99 charge monthly might remind shoppers who don't use the service as frequently as they thought they would to drop out. With Prime you typically lock in for a year. But automatic monthly billing to a credit card is practically invisible to most consumers. The financial trade-off of margin for increased frequency hinges on add-on purchases. So far it sounds like that's working from the reported test results.
  • Posted on: 02/25/2020

    Amazon goes bigger with its cashier-less store concept

    Totally agree Jeff! Amazon is much more focused on developing and licensing technology than on selling physical product these days. It's just not as visible to most folks who don't live in the cloud(s).
  • Posted on: 02/20/2020

    Should retailers scale hyper-localized store elements chainwide?

    Every location is "local" and that means, to some extent, every location is a unique situation. To make that manageable chains could pick one or two elements of the stores that are going to be localized. Options mentioned by Mr. Hemati are good examples: the store front, the interior decor, a local supplier. But retailers should approach the "neighborhood hangout" strategy with care. Not every space in a neighborhood can be a Starbucks. And retailers must not lose the common elements that distinguish them to begin with. Whether it is shoes with Foot Locker or office supplies with Staples, the core reason for being is still the product or service offering.
  • Posted on: 02/18/2020

    Can Body Shop build a better workforce with an open hiring policy?

    The critical question in hiring has already been answered when the candidate shows up at your door. They want to work.

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