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: 11/08/2022

    Chick-fil-A’s three-day workweek gives ‘the gift of time’ to associates

    It's a different world today that requires testing some different approaches. This is an idea that seems to work and others may test it, as well as other variations, to find what best works for their business. Will be interesting to monitor!
  • Posted on: 10/20/2022

    What would adding smell to virtual reality tech mean to retail?

    I'm continually amazed at many who doubt that the Metaverse is a real thing or that it will "succeed" -- it's already here and quite engaging, if you've tried looking beyond Meta's Horizon Worlds. As far as factoring scent into the equation, absolutely that will add much more realism, along with other components that will eventually include all of the senses. And retail IS a sensory experience.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2022

    How can grocers prevail in inflationary times without winning on price?

    When we asked shoppers what they did to deal with food price inflation in the last few months, only 9% said they didn't do anything. The rest were engaged in a variety of strategies. The one with the most responses was buying more store brands instead of national brands (mentioned by four out of ten shoppers). And today, Loblaw announced a price freeze on more than 1,500 no-name brand items, showing one way a retailer can take this opportunity and run with it.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2022

    Do grocers have a price perception problem?

    There is not only a price perception problem, there is also a profit perception problem. Our recent research shows that from the money shoppers spend at their primary supermarket, after paying expenses and taxes, shoppers think retailers make a 33 percent net profit (and, of course, reality is 1 percent to 3 percent based on FMI figures). So there is an issue with how much shoppers think they are paying AND how much they think retailers are making. Retailers need to do everything possible to convey what they are doing to make things better for their shoppers in this environment.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2022

    Should grocers make a big deal out of freezing prices?

    Absolutely. Our national research shows, not surprisingly, that one of the strategies food shoppers (43 percent) are adopting to combat inflation is to buy more items on sale. Programs like this make sales prices more predictable for shoppers and may draw them back to retailers using these types of initiatives.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2022

    What tradeoffs are consumers willing to make to stretch their food dollars?

    In our recent national study, we found 46% of food shoppers are going to purchase more food and groceries at stores with lower prices (think Aldi, Lidl, etc.), 46% eat more often at home instead of restaurants, 43% buying more items on sale, and 38% buying more store brands instead of national brands (and they think highly of the quality and price of store brands too), among a number of other strategies to fight inflation. So yes, in looking at data, I see similar patterns to other downturns.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2022

    Can a grocery store teach its customers to love to cook?

    With 46 percent of shoppers in our latest Feedback Group national study opting to eat more often at home instead of at restaurants as an inflation coping strategy, helping customers learn how to put meals together in a way that works for them makes sense. A good idea that more grocers should evaluate!
  • Posted on: 08/02/2022

    Will Amazon deliver same-day results for GNC, PacSun and other retailers?

    Same day delivery is, in many shoppers' minds, no different than getting something at a store the same day. While there is something to be said about hitching your wagon to Amazon, this does provide a service that shoppers want and expect. Many times I make a purchase based on how fast I can get the item, and if I can get it via an online service almost as fast as going to the store to get it, I'm sold.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2022

    Is the metaverse opportunity getting any clearer?

    While AR is certainly going to have a more immediate impact on retail than VR, I'm amazed at the lack of enthusiasm. Granted, I've been using "the Metaverse" for years, but it does have application in all of these areas and more, and I believe it will take off, albeit gradually not suddenly. Ask your kids....
  • Posted on: 06/27/2022

    Are outsized private label gains in grocery a foregone conclusion?

    Our most recent study, just out in the last couple weeks, shows that 38% of grocery shoppers surveyed are buying more store brands instead of national brands to deal with food price inflation. The only items that had higher percentages were buying more items on sale (43%), eating more at home instead of restaurants (46%) and purchasing more food and groceries at stores with lower prices (46%). So clearly, this is a strategy many shoppers are adopting which, in turn, will result in more share growth for store brands.
  • 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.

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