Dr. Stephen Needel

Managing Partner, Advanced Simulations

Dr. Stephen Needel is Managing Partner of Advanced Simulations, based in Atlanta. He formed and now manages an international company responsible for bringing virtual reality simulations to bear on retailing, marketing, and consumption issues from a research perspective.

Prior to starting ASL, Dr. Needel was President of Simulation Research, where he brought the concept of using virtual reality technology to the everyday marketing research world. Dr. Needel held the position of Vice President for Product Development at A.C. Nielsen, where he developed new techniques for integrating and analyzing retail scanner data and household purchasing data. He has also been a Vice President of Analytical Services at Nielsen after coming from their competitor, Information Resources, where he led a team doing advanced analytical research from IRI’s BehaviorScan market testing system. Earlier jobs included analytical roles at Burke Marketing Research and Quaker Oats as well as being an adjunct faculty member at the University of Connecticut.

Originally a native of the Boston, Dr. Needel came to the business community with a B. A. in Psychology from The American University and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Connecticut.

His international experience dovetails nicely with his appreciation of English beers, South American beef, Australian football, and Mexican chilies. He’s proud to have passed on this set arcane tastes to his son.

  • Posted on: 05/20/2022

    Whole Foods is into palm reading

    As convenient as this may be, you have to wonder whether the cost of developing it would ever be recovered. I don't see anyone going to Whole Foods because they don't have to pull out their credit card. To me this is another example of technology for the sake of technology, not for solving a problem.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2022

    Has science-based marketing taken a pandemic hit?

    I'm not sure you should ever use a science-based pitch for a sensory-based product. The phrase, "Scientifically designed to maximize your pleasure" sounds pretty creepy to me. I'm pretty sure that Pew study is irrelevant to this topic (sorry Tom Ryan) - I'm betting the rule for science-based marketing is not tied to political affiliation.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2022

    Are shoppable ads finally ready for prime time?

    Wait - I'm watching a movie, it's reaching it's dramatic climax, and the protagonist is wearing a really nice button down shirt. You want me to pause the movie, click on the shirt, find my size and color, decide if I like the price, give them my personal info, then hit play again? Have we lost the ability to pay attention to anything?
  • Posted on: 05/18/2022

    Should Apple have killed the iPod?

    So I age myself when I vote for portability over multi-function. Hard to stream while mowing my lawn - my nano that clips anywhere is so much easier. Yes, they should have stopped development but continued production.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2022

    ‘Babe’ star makes dramatic gesture over Starbucks’ upcharge for non-dairy milk

    Celebrity griping only makes the complaint more visible - not more weighty. I read this while at Walmart so I did some homework - soy and almond milk at Walmart are about 15 percent higher in cost compared to regular milk. So if this holds true across the country, then up-charging makes sense and customers should understand - higher product cost leads to higher retail cost.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2022

    Is inflation the true cause of recent supermarket closures?

    I'm with Mark Ryski - I don't think it's inflation per se, although that may be a catalyst for a reexamination of store performance. Nobody closes a store without giving it a lot of thought.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2022

    Grocers fret over how to pass higher costs onto customers

    Retail margins are thin enough. If manufacturers meaningfully raise their prices, raise yours too - then apologize to your customers because higher prices are not your fault.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2022

    Should grocery shoppers and delivery personnel be talking?

    To me the question is a financial one, because the benefits to the consumer are obvious. If tests show that this doesn't take much time or effort on the part of the picker/deliverer, and doesn't add much to the cost, then it has to be a big customer pleaser.
  • Posted on: 05/06/2022

    Which personalization techniques work best?

    The big takeaway might be that consumers/shoppers don't think much about these efforts and marketers need to wake up to that fact. The state of the art is not nearly advanced as marketers seem to think. The more sophisticated efforts may be the ones that are more fruitful, but the price tag might be too high at this point in time.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2022

    Does resale make sense for Dick’s Sporting Goods?

    So they are going to compete with the well-established Play It Again Sports, but perhaps with more soft goods available. I'm not sure this is unique and I see them morphing into the other areas (like exercise equipment) that PIAS is heavily into. Sounds like a cash drain.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2022

    Is tipping out of control?

    You are much nicer than I am in these situations, Neil. When I've run into the 25 percent and no option POS I pass, but I will also tell a manager why I'm passing. And adding a gratuity without telling me up front would guarantee no tip and likely no return business. If Ms. Wells in LA wants to up her prices to reward her staff for takeout orders, that's fine - but to tell me I have to tip 20 percent is a no-go. And my son works in a restaurant where he is tipped only on to-go orders, so I'm sensitive to that.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2022

    Walmart’s customers love its low prices but still have gripes

    Exactly Jeff - it's not meant to be an experience, it's meant to be functional. Not every shopping occasion is, or should be, exciting, and Walmart fills that I-need-stuff part of the marketplace.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2022

    Is timing more important than speed for grocery delivery?

    Clearly optimizing time slots is more important than speed, except of course when Rocky Road ice cream is involved - that needs to be delivered immediately. We (the industry) insist on training shoppers to want it faster and faster. If shoppers are telling us that is less important, let's work on the more important stuff.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2022

    Will Albertsons smell success with its Philadelphia Cream Cheese promo?

    I'm not sure I'd judge the success of this idea based on cheesecake. I can think of a lot of aromas more appealing (but glad they didn't go for bagels and lox scent - love the food, not the smell).
  • Posted on: 04/18/2022

    Carrefour uses blockchain to offer consumers greater supply chain transparency

    If you don't trust your store to tell you the truth about the source of a product, you shouldn't be shopping there. And really, how many people really care about the details? You want to know if it's organic or not, if it's locally sourced or not, not the details of a piece of fruit's life story.

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