Brian Numainville

Principal, The Retail 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: 06/04/2020

    Do mobile shoppers disclose more valuable data about themselves?

    Mobile phones provide a more "in the moment" view of what someone is doing throughout their day. It comes with them virtually everywhere. So it makes sense that they would use it to complete more tasks, both personal and otherwise, and as opportunities come up to make it easier on their phone, many take advantage of that while, in turn, sharing more information. It would be interesting to see if this applies across all age groups or skews younger.
  • Posted on: 06/02/2020

    Will dollar stores be the biggest post-COVID-19 winners?

    Value retailing in the food space, in general, will do well, short term and perhaps into the longer term depending on how things unfold. This will include dollar stores but also retailers like Aldi who have a strong value for money spent offering an improved quality over the last major recession, in addition to continued growth and remodels. Dollar stores that have a reasonable breadth of products and can keep the essentials in stock should do well.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Is it safe to bring back food sampling?

    While from a retailer perspective bringing back sampling is certainly desirable, I'm not so sure shoppers wholeheartedly agree. Our recent study shows that 59% thought discontinuing product demos/sampling was very effective in improving supermarket safety during this time. Another 33% thought it was somewhat effective. So rushing to have samples available again may not be met with the kind of response a retailer might expect.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2020

    Is purposeful giving an answer to retail’s inventory glut?

    Simply put, it is the right thing to do and the benefit will come in the form of good will in the eyes of shoppers, especially younger generations who feel a stronger pull toward those who give back to the community.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Retailers focus on making safe spaces for customers and associates

    Our just-conducted research shows that there are several measures that are highly rated by supermarket shoppers as to their perceived effectiveness -- things like availability of disinfectant wipes, communicating that sick employees stay home, having hand sanitizer available, and providing gloves/masks for employees top the list, among other measures. Our new research also shows that most supermarket shoppers either only feel somewhat (55 percent) or not at all (12 percent) confident that it is safe to shop in the supermarket. Stores need to clearly articulate what they are doing to make both store employees and customers feel safe or these numbers won't improve.
  • Posted on: 05/27/2020

    Bookstores could be in store for a post-lockdown boom

    While there is certainly appeal to an independent, local bookstore, much of that appeal has to do with the in-store environment, culture and vibe of the store. If there are limits to how many people can be there and how long one can hang out, that diminishes the value of the bookstore as a destination. And if that's the case, I think many people will continue purchasing books they can enjoy on their patio or deck in the nice summer weather.
  • Posted on: 05/27/2020

    Should Apple and other stores require shopper temperature checks?

    Research we just conducted found that 55 percent of shoppers are only "somewhat" confident in the safety of shopping in-store in the supermarket. Whether the shopper's temperature is a strong indicator or not, the combination of a variety of safety measures is important in instilling a sense of confidence when shoppers head out to the store.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2020

    Can influencers connect during a pandemic?

    The key is going to be ensuring that influencers don't seem out of touch with the reality of this moment in time and of their followers. Acting in a way that is tone-deaf right now will be perceived quickly and magnified. But with social media use and screen time up much higher right now, it is also a great time to capture the attention of the audience.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2020

    Was the $3.3 billion Walmart spent on worth it?

    Yes, this was a good move for Walmart. Whether or not it was a financial success really isn't the issue. Walmart has come on strong in e-commerce and this was part of what pushed them forward in a way that happened more quickly than going at it organically.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2020

    Will face masks be a lifeline for apparel retail?

    Almost everyone that has a brand identity is making a mask. While it is certainly good marketing and a way to get visibility for a brand, not likely that it will be a huge revenue driver for most. But kudos to those who were nimble enough to make the adjustment and keep things going, along with donating masks for frontline workers.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2020

    How will this change us?

    In our customer feedback platform for supermarkets, we are seeing a high degree of gratitude for the work being done in the supermarket by frontline workers. Will it last beyond this pandemic? That is hard to ascertain, but I can say that the efforts of frontline staff are indeed being noticed now.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2018

    What will Instacart’s new grocery pickup service mean for home delivery?

    Our just released 2018 Online Grocery Shopper Study clearly shows that Instacart is performing well on many of the key elements of the online grocery shopping experience. In fact, OSAT among those fulfilled by Instacart outscores supermarkets as a whole as well as Walmart. So if Instacart can leverage these strengths as they migrate to offering a pickup model it should lead to continued growth for Instacart.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2018

    Amazon pop-up gets the Good Housekeeping seal of approval

    Reviews are certainly a part of today's shopping experience and products curated by "experts" may be interesting to shoppers in this context. The question is whether or not Good Housekeeping is still relevant to younger generations. I certainly have not heard the term used among younger shoppers very often. But it may provide a great opportunity to see if it resonates across all generations of shoppers and the MOA is a solid place to test this out.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

    Are Aldi’s upscale makeovers necessary?

    Agree with your point on Lidl. Aldi is absolutely stepping up their game to ensure that Lidl finds it difficult to make inroads. And, with several decades of experience in the US market, they do have a significant head start in understanding US shoppers preferences.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

    Are Aldi’s upscale makeovers necessary?

    In my experience observing lines in Aldi (on numerous occasions) they tend to quickly address long lines by opening additional lanes when needed. So not sure it is simply accepting it as a trade-off for lower prices. They seem to tackle it quickly, at least in the variety of locations I have studied, and then close them back down once the peak has subsided.

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