Jeff Hall

President, Second To None

In the course of a 25-year career helping brands deliver consistent, authentic and intentional customer experiences, Jeff brings an innovative approach to customer experience measurement and analytics across diverse industries. His firm, Second To None, is particularly adept at helping leading brands realize their customer experience potential by fusing brand lens insights (operational measures) with the customer lens (feedback and perception) in order to drive business performance. Jeff brings a deeply informed approach to measuring and optimizing customer-centric retail and restaurant experiences.

At Second To None, he leads an experienced group of customer experience strategists and analysts in working on the design and execution of mystery shopping, voice of customer and operations/sales compliance solutions for such clients as Patagonia, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, Bose, UnitedHealth Group, Target, Staples, Harris Teeter and Citibank. Jeff also leads the firm’s strategic initiatives, including client solutions offerings, product/technology development and consulting services.

Jeff has appeared on MSNBC’s Your Business and his comment have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Nation’s Restaurant News. The firm which he founded, Second To None, has appeared in BusinessWeek while being recognized three years running as one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing private companies. Jeff is also a speaker on customer experience issues and trends. He has served as president of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association and is a founding director of the International Mystery Shopping Alliance. He is also an avid runner, biker and golfer.

  • Posted on: 12/07/2022

    Will persistent theft compel Walmart to raise prices or close stores?

    In the absence of having an effective means of curtailing shoplifting, including the ability to prosecute thieves, I see Walmart having no choice but to both raise prices in certain markets/stores and undertake focused store closures. The long term solution will require a combination of local policy, technology, enhanced police presence and, as has been mentioned by other panelists, an eventual return to civility.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2022

    Best Buy’s virtual store pilot earns high customer satisfaction scores

    Best Buy has always lead the pack when it comes to building a trusted human connection in-store, through friendly, knowledgeable and well-trained sales associates. The virtual store and digital clienteling model is working well, in large part, because the brand has been very intentional and innovative in translating the same valued in-store experience to the digital sphere. In having the ability to serve its customers any time, any where, while building trust and credibility through convenience and knowledge, this model will continue to move Best Buy further ahead of that pack.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2022

    Should Target expect something big from its FAO Schwarz toy deal?

    It is great to see an iconic brand like FAO Schwarz live on, and with a retailer who executes at the highest level. Will it be a big contributor to Target's holiday season? That's a bit more tricky to forecast, primarily because the FAO brand has had such a diminished presence over the last several years. My concern is there's now an entire generation of kids and their parents who aren't aware of the FAO brand cache, and may simply overlook it for the trendier or more widely known toy brands they are accustomed to buying as gifts. This relationship will likely provide an incremental lift, but more importantly, be another reason for shoppers to make Target their toy destination.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2022

    Kroger simplifies its budget private labels

    This focused and simplified private label strategy makes great sense. Smart Way and Heritage Farm will both benefit in having greater pervasive visibility across the entire store. Anchoring Kroger shoppers around two primary value-driven, owned brands should strengthen both as a revenue engine and growth-driver.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2022

    What does it take to build a firm foundation for business success?

    The singular common trait among the most successful organizations we've worked with -- and one we've embedded within our own company -- is operating from a servant leadership mindset. The philosophy, when done well, is powerful in building a culture of trust, as leadership shares power and control across the organization, resulting in lasting engagement. Servant leadership is based in empathy, listening and autonomy -- and very often the most positive outcomes are greater levels of teamwork and collaboration, reduced turnover, a strengthening of company agility and a lasting positive workplace environment. These are all the very qualities today's employees are seeking.
  • Posted on: 05/12/2022

    Has Best Buy found an outlet for future growth?

    I appreciate how Best Buy is always innovating and investing in meeting ever-changing consumer needs. In an economy facing inflationary headwinds, expansion of the outlet channel should be a winning strategy - and in offering same-day delivery, BOPIS, a convenient way to check inventory online and an in-store Geek Squad, Best Buy isn't cutting corners, which will easily differentiate it from other outlets. The biggest benefit may come from the potential of converting the impressive 16 percent of customers new to Best Buy into traditional Best Buy store customers.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2022

    Do Netflix subscriber headwinds hold lessons for retailers?

    Rampant inflationary headwinds will cause, and already are causing, consumers to quickly identify discretionary expenses that can be easily curtailed. Subscription services fall squarely in this bucket and will be the first to be cancelled. Retailers with a primary model of direct-to-consumer subscriptions should be wary and prepared to identify means of offering even greater value to their customers.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2022

    Would grocery delivery be a healthy addition to Apple’s business?

    As much as I love and use their products, this potential move by Apple simply feels off-brand. Grocery delivery would be so far afield from its core business, while entering an already crowded ecosystem of focused competitors, that it would likely be short lived and an immense waste of time and resources.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2022

    Walmart appears ready to quit its cigarette habit

    A highly visible, front-of-store focus on cigarette sales is in direct conflict with wanting to build healthier relationships with customers. Knowing others have successfully navigated the transition, including their own Sam's Club locations, makes this a low-risk move, while creating more upside with higher margin products slotted into that prime store space. I suspect this transition will look more like a two to three year makeover - and good for Walmart to be doing it.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2022

    Will Target keep its winning streak going for five more years?

    I've long been impressed by Target's astute ability to understand its customers and emerging retail trends ahead of the pack. The retailer is firing on all cylinders across its operations, in large part because of its relentless focus on its people. Target's culture has a direct impact downstream, on its customers and their experience. I liken it to employee-owned retailers, such as Hy-Vee, that intentionally invest in people and culture, along with technology, in order to outflank their competitors.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2022

    Has a new, hybrid shopper emerged out of the pandemic?

    The pandemic didn't give rise to the hybrid shopper as much as it gave rise to retailers waking up to the fact that in order to remain relevant, they had to decisively up their game with frictionless e-commerce capabilities, delivery and curbside or in-store pick-up options, with each element intentionally designed around an optimal customer experience.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2022

    Are c-stores mostly becoming ‘restaurants that sell gas’?

    Our clients in the c-store space are very definitely focused on innovating and broadening their offerings in food, as fuel sales continue to decline overall. I would challenge the description "restaurants that sell gas," however, as most c-store brands are taking a multi-pronged approach to their food offerings - from "built to order" at Wawa, to Fresh Food, Fast at Circle K as a couple of examples. These operators understand the need to serve customers quickly, safely and with the freshest, most personalized options possible. The leading brands are aggressively pursuing a model representing the convergence of prepared foods, fast food and fast casual, creating their own distinct category of food service.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2022

    McDonald’s new Hacks menu taps into the power of co-creation

    My initial reaction was, "Alright, they're taking a page from the Starbucks hack playbook." There is a big distinction in the fine print ... the customer must assemble the hack themselves, which seems odd and defeats the expectation of ordering and receiving a fully assembled hack. This would be the first area I'd focus on as a future improvement.
  • Posted on: 01/28/2022

    Did M&M’s characters need a makeover?

    Herein lies the issue -- the brand managers want us to think beyond candy. I would argue most consumers enjoy M&Ms for what it is -- an iconic brand that reminds us of childhood and great memories, so we continue to purchase. I don't expect my peanut M&Ms to be a progressive social leader.
  • Posted on: 01/28/2022

    Walmart shoppers find time is well spent in new incubator store

    It would seem the approach of giving the merchandise areas a bit more breathing room, along with thoughtfully placed smart screens and QR codes will be a winning formula for expanding shopper expectations in a welcoming, relaxed manner, translating into an unexpected, positive customer experience.

Contact Jeff


  • Apply to be a BrainTrust Panelist

  • Please briefly describe your qualifications — specifically, your expertise and experience in the retail industry.
  • By submitting this form, I give you permission to forward my contact information to designated members of the RetailWire staff.

    See RetailWire's privacy policy for more information about what data we collect and how it is used.