Brian Numainville

Principal, The Feedback Group

Brian became a Principal of Retail Feedback Group (RFG) in 2012 and is the Co-Author of Feedback Rules!, a book created to provide useful tips for everyone that listens to their customers, employees or business partners. In his role at RFG, Brian partners with retailers, wholesalers, other businesses and nonprofits throughout the U.S. to design and conduct voice of customer programs, consumer research, employee surveys, stakeholder studies, B2B surveys, custom research and market analysis projects.

Prior to joining RFG, Brian worked at Nash Finch Company, a Fortune 500 food wholesaler and retailer, for 18 years, where he led market research, public relations and the charitable foundation. At Nash Finch, Brian pioneered the initial implementation of geographic information systems, developed the consumer research program, and launched a customer feedback program in all corporate-owned stores and many independent locations.

At the industry level, Brian has served in multiple thought leadership roles including many years as Chair of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Consumer Market Research Committee and as a member of the Program Leadership Board at the University of Minnesota Food Industry Center. He is a frequent presenter/panelist at numerous conferences and events for organizations including the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), the National Grocers Association (NGA), and the Minnesota Grocers Association (MGA).

In addition to his research expertise, Brian also leverages his significant background in public relations/corporate communications which has included writing impactful press releases, creating compelling executive presentations, developing annual reports, heading media relations efforts, spearheading internal communications, utilizing social media, engaging in marketing and serving as corporate spokesperson.

Brian designed and executed many major cause marketing programs including Feeding Imagination (130,000+ books donated to kids) and Helping Hands in the Community Day (400+ volunteers). While Chair, the NFC Foundation/Nash Finch received the prestigious Jefferson Award from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.  Brian currently serves on four nonprofit boards with missions ranging from local hunger relief to international medical assistance.

A recipient of the 40 Under Forty Award from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, Brian has also been honored with the Alumni of Notable Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota and the WCCO-AM Good Neighbor Award. Brian earned his M.A. in Communication Studies and his B.A. summa cum laude in Communication Studies from the University of Minnesota. He also holds Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) from the Marketing Research Association.

Buy: Feedback Rules!

  • Posted on: 04/26/2022

    May brings Meta’s first physical store

    Seeing is believing, especially when it comes to the Metaverse. No better way to get people to try VR than putting a headset on. That's how I sold a bunch of headsets to friends and family, as there is nothing as compelling as the experience itself, and with the price point of entry it makes it that much more important to try before you buy. Whether a retail store is a bad idea or not, you still have to get people to try the tech to convert them.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2022

    Solid jobs numbers mean grocers must concentrate on their workforce even more

    While I think many companies have looked at pay and benefits, the question is, how many have looked at all of the other elements, and even listened to their employees about what's on their minds? Retention is going to be a challenge going forward, especially with many other options available in this market.
  • Posted on: 04/01/2022

    Is Pacsun’s mall on Roblox the start of something ‘metaversally’ big?

    Figuring out the metaverse is going to require trial and error. Some things are going to work while others will fall flat. This could work well for Pacsun's demographic. I totally agree with Neil's comment that this isn't a replacement for real world retailing nor doing retail well - it is a new avenue for potential growth and, personally, one that I think is most interesting.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2022

    Aldi moves closer to becoming America’s third largest grocery retailer

    Aldi will absolutely do well in this economic environment. During the Great Recession they did well and they have continued a strong focus on retaining customers and growth. Plus, our research shows stronger quality in produce and checkout speed is highly rated, and price, based on store brands, is also strong. Meat continues to be a weakness and, of course, variety is limited.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2022

    Should grocers leave delivery to third-party providers or do it themselves?

    In an ideal world, keeping it all in house would allow complete control over all aspects of the program and customer experience. Unfortunately, that's not likely viable for everyone. So, I'd opt for owning as much of it as possible while outsourcing only those things that are not core competencies for each organization, and as others have pointed out, that's different for everyone. But I'd keep the focus on learning as much as possible with an eye to owning the whole program at whatever point that is possible.
  • Posted on: 02/02/2022

    Will Best Buy rule the metaverse?

    In the short term, IoT has a head start, but the frustrating lack of standards reminds one of VHS versus Beta except more complicated for the average person to discern. I've had multiple hubs and hardware that talks to one and not the other. It's a mess. VR seems a lot more straightforward, albeit a few options, and the average person can pretty much put on a headset and go. And, interestingly, my kids are both into VR and only one is into IoT, so I wonder how that translates across a wider base of Millennial/Gen Z. I'm betting on VR getting more substantial traction as headset prices normalize and content increases.
  • Posted on: 02/02/2022

    Will Best Buy rule the metaverse?

    As someone who actually engages in the metaverse, it's already here. I've been engaged in it for a couple years so I have to chuckle a bit when I hear people talk about it like it's something new, coming down the road. Granted, adoption will take time and perhaps AR will outpace VR given the easier-to-envision applications. Sure, Best Buy could be a player in this space, but until now they really haven't been anything more than a place to buy the headsets and related tech (along with Amazon, Oculus/Meta, and a bunch of others). So before you dismiss VR, strap on a headset and experience it. The train has left the station...
  • Posted on: 01/26/2022

    Amazon Go is going big(ger) in suburban locations

    It still is going to come down to putting these in the right locations with sufficient density/traffic and the required composition of shoppers. While everyone can utilize a c-store, not everyone will be into using Just Walkout technology. So, Amazon continues to test this in different contexts and slowly roll it out.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2022

    Will 2022 be the year of text-to-shop?

    As AI gets better and messages become more "real," things like chatbots and text to shop will become more accepted (not talking about responding to unsolicited messages here), especially in situations where a quick transaction is desired. It is still too clunky in many cases right now, but I wouldn't count it out just yet.
  • Posted on: 12/22/2021

    Do Americans now prefer strip center shopping?

    It makes sense that strip malls are faring well compared to the traditional mall that takes a great deal of effort to get to, get in, and get out of in any reasonable period of time. Strip malls that are well appointed with the right mix of retail will continue to do well into the future given greater convenience, better parking, and ease of shopping.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2021

    Does Facebook, er Meta, now need stores?

    Thing is, this is more than just a social platform. Right now, using the term Metaverse is like saying BOPIS to a shopper. What?! Having used it for years now, virtual reality (a better term) stretches far beyond social media such as sharing photos of the dogs or kids. There is an incredible amount of application here in so many potential ways, using immersive technology. I'll go the opposite direction. I'd place a big bet on this.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2021

    Does Facebook, er Meta, now need stores?

    As a regular user of an Oculus (now Meta) Quest, I understand the Metaverse and how appealing it is (at least to me) for a number of things including visiting with family in other places, exploring different parts of the world, and gaming, to name a few uses. But without the ability to try it in a physical store, for many it will be nothing more than a nebulous and unknown term. Pretty apparent by the many comments, from the very uninformed to very knowledgeable, that I have seen in various forums. So physical stores can play an important role in trial, purchase and adoption. I totally disagree with anyone who believes this isn't a part of the future - they likely have never tried it.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2021

    Get ready for the ‘IOU Christmas’

    Transparency and open communication will be key. The old phrases "for a limited time only" and "limited stock on hand" may never be more true!
  • Posted on: 09/23/2021

    Will ‘Built for Better’ put Walmart in a better light?

    This is certainly important and timely, and if Walmart executes here and connects this to broader organization initiatives, it will certainly be a positive. Not sure it will attract many new shoppers given their already large base, but it might give many existing shoppers who are focused on sustainability and environmental issues a reason to shop there more (and feel good about it beyond just price).
  • Posted on: 09/17/2021

    Can retailers benefit from tapping employee emotions?

    An appropriate level of passion and emotions are relevant and warranted, and can spark excitement. It is important for leaders to harness and manage it well.

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