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: 07/13/2020

    Starbucks becomes latest retailer to make masks mandatory

    This fits Starbucks' MO and their customers will appreciate it. Clear and consistent rules are the best policy for all retailers.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2020

    Will Boomers and Gen X keep shopping online post-pandemic?

    There will be competing influences driving the final outcome here. Seniors who were resisting online shopping due to unfamiliarity or force of habit have overcome that and will likely stay online. The flipside is that going shopping is a social release -- especially for single seniors who don't get out much. It gives them something to do. The other benefit will be that going shopping again will give a psychological boost of "returning to normal." Overall, I expect seniors to feel the advantages of online are quite useful.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Retailers need way more fulfillment space to keep up with booming online sales

    Yes, the need for fulfillment space will grow, and empty mall space will provide it.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2020

    Will doctors prove a cure-all for Walgreens competitive ills?

    This is the first full-on attempt at making drug outlets full service health care outlets. While nurse practitioners can probably handle the majority of in-store clinic patients needs, the perception that "they don't have a doctor" has held current drug efforts back. It appears the Walgreens test read says doctors in the store clinic are the key that unlocks patient trust and cash flow. I think they are probably right.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Can remotely managed mobile-marts safely bring groceries to areas in need?

    Liz, we worked with Redbox from the early days of concept testing through national rollout with automated DVD merchandisers. I was continually amazed that they managed to pull off 95%+ of all service requirements remotely. The only time a human visited a machine was to swap out titles. Now granted, T-bones and tomatoes aren't DVDs, so I'm sure there are incremental challenges. But I also suspect this business model includes almost daily human interaction with the unit. It will be interesting to see how this all evolves though!
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Can remotely managed mobile-marts safely bring groceries to areas in need?

    Sounds like the convenience store version of a food truck -- why not? Whether the mobile units will encourage social distancing or crowds is questionable. But at least some retail employees will be spared exposures. The most likely impact is that experimentation with mobile grocery prototypes will get a COVID-19 tailwind just as other trends have. The evolution of automated merchandising in the U.S. has trailed both Europe and Asia for some time and the potential is tremendous.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2020

    Will Wegmans need a post-pandemic makeover?

    Changing a formula as successful as Wegmans' in response to an episodic event seems extreme. It will take many months to know how much of the supply and risk driven behaviors adopted by shoppers during COVID-19 will stick and to what degree. There will certainly be strong adoption of shopping options accelerated by the virus like online ordering and curbside pickup. But those don't necessarily negate the advantages of Wegmans' format that shoppers have rewarded for many years. Let the dust settle and add more than you take away from your overall offering.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2020

    Does Microsoft need stores?

    To make a point, I am going to be embarrassingly honest -- I didn't know Microsoft had stores. We are a PC/Microsoft family and office and always get products through online orders. Perhaps it is because all my children were old enough to buy their own Xbox when they wanted one and I checked out Surface at Best Buy. But I don't think this will cause Microsoft overall to skip a beat.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2020

    Should retailers boycott Facebook?

    The key here is that these advertisers are being "asked" to take action against a third party, in this case Facebook. They are not initiating these actions on their own. The implications are clear -- help us hurt Facebook or we will try to hurt your business. Any time a retailer or other business responds to demands from groups with a social or political agenda they are effectively allowing themselves to be blackmailed. Set aside the question of whether the group, cause or issue is "good" or "bad." That is a judgement that individual consumers will make based on their own paradigms. Sometimes the shoe will fit one foot for you -- sometimes the other. Company leaders certainly have the right to take any action they deem in the best interest of the company if they choose to. But reacting to external group pressures is bad policy.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2020

    Target wants to be known as the best place to work in retail

    Target workers will certainly appreciate the pay increase and other perks. But this is also a shrewd PR move for Target. Socially responsible shoppers may lean more heavily on Target for their needs -- and the press will be all over this. This will make it tougher for other retailers to roll back the "temporary hazard pay" increases offered in response to COVID-19 as well.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2020

    Walmart teams up with Shopify to give Amazon a run for its money

    This relationship will benefit both partners, but Walmart is definitely getting the best end of the deal. Toby Lutke has built a unique and powerful platform in Shopify that makes large scale e-commerce as accessible as eBay and Marketplace make private selling for the average Joe selling his car. Walmart online shoppers and resellers will certainly benefit from that.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2020

    Walmart teams up with Shopify to give Amazon a run for its money

    You hit the key point Paula -- what Shopify brings to Walmart goes far beyond more resellers. Not many understand the power of the Shopify model unless they follow it as an investment opportunity or are among the thousands of small businesses that, as you point out, Shopify has literally put into business.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2020

    Will grocers maintain COVID share gains as restaurants reopen?

    Of course grocery retailers will lose share of the food dollar. There are reasons beyond food than people love to dine out. Depending on the venue, variety, entertainment, socializing and convenience can all be high points restaurants offer over eating at home. The greatest opportunity for food retailers to maintain share gained during lockdown is to focus on offerings that deliver as much of those restaurant qualities as possible with things like fresh meal kits. Shoppers will not continue to wipe out shelves of canned soup and pasta.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2020

    Are tourist dollars coming back any time soon?

    The voices resisting visitors to their communities are not those of the local businesses dependent on tourism and will soon fade away. College spring breakers notwithstanding, tourists are just as likely to behave responsibly on the beach as they are in their own community at home. Tourist destinations need their dollars, and the nation needs a vacation!
  • Posted on: 06/11/2020

    COVID-19 is a deal-breaker for Simon/Taubman merger

    Chalk up another accelerated pre-existing trend to COVID-19. Malls had to evolve and SPG was/is ahead of the curve with the transition to multi-use social spaces. That is still the most likely future for traditional malls and Taubman locations would have been ideal. But another hallmark of SPG is conservative financial management. This is a time for conserving cash, not heavy investment, so the deal already made less sense due to COVID-19 stress. That Taubman didn't act as aggressively as SPG thought they should just makes it even more so.

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