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: 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.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

    Are Aldi’s upscale makeovers necessary?

    Just a comment on your mention of produce. In local consumer market research I have conducted around the U.S., Aldi has moved from a clear weak image in produce quality a few years back to now having consistently average marks in produce quality. So there has been progress in this area. Meat is still a weak image area.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

    Are Aldi’s upscale makeovers necessary?

    Our research shows 33 percent of Aldi shoppers are planning to shop Aldi more over the next year (versus just 10 percent for Walmart shoppers shopping Walmart more). Further, Aldi's likelihood to recommend score is 4.54 on a five-point scale versus just 3.66 for supermarkets and 3.48 for Walmart. These improvements are the right move as long as they can maintain their price leadership and strong marks in checkout speed and friendliness of personnel (tied with supermarkets in our research). From the stores I have visited recently, it seems they are paying close attention to consumer trends but holding firm on price/value. This looks to be bringing in more shoppers who previously wouldn't consider shopping at Aldi.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2018

    Amazon rolls out Prime Now deliveries from Whole Foods

    Our recent online shopping research found Amazon was already beating supermarkets on virtually all the touch points of online shopping for food and groceries ... and that was before the Whole Foods acquisition. This is a clear win for Amazon moving forward.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2017

    Retailers need to do a better job delivering groceries

    Just to sharpen the focus a bit here, as the author of the study, the research clearly shows on a wide variety of touch points in the online grocery shopping experience, that Amazon outscores supermarkets on nearly every measure (with one exception where there is parity between Walmart, Amazon and supermarkets). Supermarkets simply have to do better or they will remain uncompetitive in online grocery shopping. As Dick said in the first post, "there is no way for conventional grocers to grow their mature business without figuring out how to execute better." When it comes to online grocery shopping this is absolutely true. And as Amazon's scores in our research show, their experience in online grocery shopping is already outperforming supermarkets, even before leveraging Whole Foods. Even Walmart outscores supermarkets in four areas.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2017

    How should independents prepare for Black Friday?

    Be unique! Try to copy the big stores and you just get lost. Do what you do and do it best ... offer interesting items, deviate from the norm, be different (and differentiate) yourself. Not saying that you shouldn't pay attention to all of the basic blocking and tackling, but that won't be enough!
  • Posted on: 08/30/2017

    Will smart homes be sold in living rooms?

    There are many different smart home device providers out there (with more to come and some to die off) and many consumers won't want to spend the time or effort to figure out how everything is pieced together. Plus, one might not consider all of the possibilities if you don't know what all exists. Although I have put together my own smart home and integrated many different elements, I actually enjoy that type of thing. In-home consultations, at least in the early days of these devices, will be important but as time goes on they will become less needed except in more complex setups. This should be paired with in-store help that also understands how these devices work and properly displays them.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2017

    Is ‘free’ a big enough incentive to get consumers to try click and collect?

    BOPIS reduces friction, boosts traffic to the store (and sometimes additional sales beyond the initial item(s), is much more cost effective than delivery, and will remain so going forward. Offering customers an incentive to try the service with a discount is a tactic that can be strategically used to build traffic. If kept in place too long, this will become an expectation rather than a periodic tactic that can be used to boost trial.
  • Posted on: 06/09/2017

    Is it time for stores to ditch the free Wi-Fi?

    Free Wi-Fi is a basic expectation of shoppers and has become an expectation of a "with it" retailer. I wouldn't remove it for a minimal cost savings.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2017

    What does it take to thrive in an over-stored marketplace?

    I totally agree that metrics need to move from the main focus on old-school transactional measures to focusing more on the shoppers AND their satisfaction with their shopping experience. In addition, the old construct of pulling shoppers through a maze to get them to buy certain things is well past its prime. Shoppers online can easily find what they are looking for and stores need to be structured in the same way. This will become even more important as we evolve into the future as shoppers being brought up online will expect this of all shopping experiences. Finally, differentiation is key -- if I am in an over-stored market, I am going to head to the retailer that stands out and is unique.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2017

    Will online grocers redefine hotel room service?

    This is a very small opportunity -- part of experiencing a place while traveling is enjoying the local food choices. I can't imagine wanting to cook in my room (or smell the cooking of other guests wafting around the building)!
  • Posted on: 05/05/2017

    Will redirecting its focus from stores help Staples’ top and bottom lines?

    The Staples retail store experience really is, in most cases, a thing of a past era. With many of the items carried at retail now a commodity, Staples has to reinvent themselves, migrate to online more heavily and if they can differentiate their in-store experience and augment it with value-added services as opposed to simply offering commodities, they may have a shot. But if not, the retail locations may go the way of many other retail locations recently in the news.

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