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: 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.
  • Posted on: 02/18/2020

    Does Peapod’s retreat from the Midwest spell trouble for e-grocery?

    It is telling that the success of a delivery service is/was based on store density. That seems to bode well for strong national and regional chains who invest in competitive pickup and delivery options. But the core of Peapod's operational problem in the Midwest division was the centralized distribution center model. FedEx, UPS and even Amazon figured that one out long ago. Ahold did not separate the business models of delivery and stores in the Midwest market. That let Instacart win the delivery business with the contract model that lets customers order what they want from where they want. Peapod could fare better in strong Ahold markets.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2020

    Holy badgers! Target did what with a University of Minnesota onesie?

    Hey guys! Leave the Tar Heels out of this, dadgum it! Just because we're having a down year doesn't mean we don't still have feelings (primarily hatred for all things Duke!). As for Target, their gaffe carries over into their apology ("color us RED..."???) Uh, that would be the Wisconsin Badgers colors. Clearly Cornell must be a Badger!
  • Posted on: 02/14/2020

    Is it time for retailers to move beyond fulfillment and on to experience?

    Methinks we are missing the big picture in our collective thinking -- fulfillment is part of the "experience" -- just like availability, assortment, convenience, customer service and clean restrooms. Parsing the functions and components of any business, retail or otherwise, certainly helps to bring focus and encourage functional excellence. But the customer only experiences the functions in combination. To create an end-to-end journey across channels requires that the destination be desirable -- regardless of how the customer arrives.
  • Posted on: 02/11/2020

    Will Staples’ new concept Connect with small business owners?

    I thought Starbucks already owned the "worklife fulfillment" space -- but I digress. This sounds like the spawn of a union between Starbucks and office condo operators like Regent. Kind of an "office space for everyone"? Maybe more of an Admiral's Club meets FedEx Office? I'm not sure what to make of it, but it just might work. I wonder what the utilization rate required is to make the stores profitable. If they could survive off rural/rurban traffic it could be the Dollar General of office space. I guess the problem I'm having is that something neither fish nor fowl usually doesn't taste all that good when you bring it to the table. This will be interesting to watch though!
  • Posted on: 02/11/2020

    New York Stock Exchange owner eyed acquiring eBay

    I suspect ICE saw the same operational synergies that eBay saw when they owned PayPal. Except that eBay divested PayPal (quite successfully for both companies) when the differences in the business model outweighed the perceived synergies. ICE would do better looking at PayPal than at eBay.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2020

    Why isn’t voice commerce taking off?

    Glad to hear you are "bullish on ... voice-activated technologies" Ryan. I guess I am too, since I keep trying to master voice-to-text, easily the most diabolical digital technology since auto-correct!
  • Posted on: 02/10/2020

    Why isn’t voice commerce taking off?

    I think the perceived shortcomings of voice assistants regarding their serving as viable personal shopping assistants is due to user education more than actual device capability. Our household is perhaps a level up in user savvy when it comes to voice assistants -- primarily due to my wife -- but our Echo Show and multiple linked devices serve exactly the purpose you describe, Suresh. And being able to link locations so that any item entered shows up on the shopping list whenever and wherever she accesses the list on her phone is a real benefit for her.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2020

    Why are so many organic grocers landing in bankruptcy court?

    The primary premise of "healthier eating" chains has been usurped by the better mainstream grocers. The clean eating premise simply isn't a sufficient differentiating benefit anymore.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2020

    What does it take to earn the trust of consumers?

    Well said, Ryan. Well said.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2020

    Will a brand refresh make Shipt a household name?

    The graphic refresh makes sense. Grocery shopping is the hardest nut to crack in home-delivery by far, get that business and the rest is easy. And grocery shoppers don't want to see spaceships delivering their milk -- at least not yet. Using a familiar image like a shopping bag communicates "we're normal, not from outer space."
  • Posted on: 02/07/2020

    What does it take to earn the trust of consumers?

    Things like data privacy have emerged in the online era, but fundamentally the basics still work. Look to brands like L.L.Bean and (the original) Craftsman for your cues. Rock solid performance guarantees and products that live up to them are a great starting point.
  • Posted on: 02/06/2020

    Crate and Barrel marries human expertise with tech advances in a new concept store

    Offering a semi-custom version of the design services typically accompanied by $100,000 price tags for a kitchen remodel is a sweet spot for Crate and Barrel and technology. Sustained differentiation based on platform technologies will still depend on having better people to use the technology and better products to complete the designs. Offering custom services and made-to-order furniture is a good example of that.
  • Posted on: 02/06/2020

    Should retailers brag about doing good?

    First, NEVER trust a survey that purports that "...consumers will pay a premium ..." unless it is for a very tangible and differentiating feature of the product or service. They won't. As for brands taking public positions on social issues, a couple of thoughts.
    1. Make sure a very large majority of your core customers (formerly known as Heavy Buyers) actually care about and support your position enough to do something as a result of your efforts, because any who don't will certainly do something -- stop buying.
    2. Make sure your entire record as a company supports the position you tout, any discrepancy will be discovered and exploited by the consumers/competitors/media who feel differently.
    3. Make sure this move is based on a genuine core value or principle of your company -- this is no place to simply follow the herd.

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