Ben Ball

Senior Vice President, Dechert-Hampe

Ben is Senior Vice President for Dechert-Hampe where he specializes in Customer Development – implementing go-to-market strategies and tactics that build a stronger customer franchise and superior financial performance. As the lead on customer development for DHC, he works with companies such as Bayer Consumer Care, Con Agra, Hewlett-Packard Company, Sara Lee Food & Beverage, Time Warner, Pillsbury and the Mars, Inc. companies.

Ben is a frequently published author in the business press on the subjects of the Evolution of Retailing, Vendor/Distributor Relationships, Customer Relationship Management, Category Management and Trade Marketing. He has chaired numerous conferences on these subjects and is a featured speaker at major industry associations.

Prior to joining Dechert-Hampe in 1992, Ben was Marketing Vice President at PepsiCo Foods International. Other experience includes Marketing Vice President and Director of Field Marketing at Frito-Lay, Inc., group brand manager of new products at Mars, Incorporated, Snack-master Division, and Product Manager at General Mills, Inc.

He holds a Masters Degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dechert-Hampe & Company, a Sales and Marketing consulting firm, has offices located in Trumbull, Connecticut; Northbrook, Illinois; and Mission Viejo, California.

At Dechert-Hampe we like to say we are “Consumer Driven – Customer Focused”. We provide a range of services to clients, all focused on optimizing the customer interface with a consumer perspective in mind. These services include traditional Sales and Marketing consulting as well as a range of supporting services such as Organization Education and Development, Customer-facing Operations services and Communications.

Dechert-Hampe has been involved with Customer Development initiatives since the early ‘80’s, and for the past ten years Ben has concentrated on developing DHC’s capabilities in Marketing, Category Management, Trade Funds Management and Customer Relationship Management. DHC engagements in these areas encompass Grocery, General Merchandise, HBC, Dairy and Frozen Food clients in both the United States and Canada. These engagements have also touched a breadth of retail channels including Food, Drug, Mass Merchandisers, Office Supply, Consumer Electronics, Wholesale Clubs, Superstores, Specialty Outlets and the Military.

  • Posted on: 02/27/2017

    Will irrational shipping prices doom brick and mortar stores?

    The reason the retail community has so much trouble understanding "free shipping" is because we always think of "pick, pack, ship" as "in addition to" rather than "instead of." To be sure, it's not a one-to-one relationship. But there are substantial trade-offs. Think of it this way. Manufacturers can choose to get their products to the store via direct ship to the warehouse, third-party distributor to warehouse or store -- depending -- or by direct store delivery (DSD). Each adds some costs and subtracts others, including the retailer's margin at the shelf which is typically lower for DSD than warehoused items.Now apply the same logic to Amazon. You have minimal long-tail inventory because your vendors hold it. You have almost no transaction friction costs because your vendors pay you to be on the site -- more than covering your costs of money/admin/etc. You have no fixed distribution costs because you are strictly 3PL (for now anyway). And you have huge leverage with those 3PLs because of your volume. Your order entry costs are practically zero because it is all online and digitized on your back-end. Orders made by voice on Alexa are placed, picked by robots, packed, billed and shipped and payment collected without a human even needing to know that the whole order took place. Much less need a human to intervene. It's not that hard folks.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2017

    Can Walmart grow its online business profitably?

    1. I didn't listen to the conference call -- but I don't think the acquisitions were accretive to profitability in the current quarter.
    2. While Walmart chose not to mention the fact that they have significantly increased in-store labor costs through wage increases (those wage increases being viewed positively by many from a sociopolitical standpoint) -- they still are hurting profits.
    3. The online model does have inherently lower profitability per-item sold when you figure in delivery deals. What it does not have (done properly) is huge dead inventory costs the way physical stores do. Mr. McMillon was (smartly) using the statement "it's more expensive to do business online" as a cover for "we're losing more money in-store."
    4. I think I might have set a RetailWire record for "thumbs down" a few weeks ago when I commented that BOPIS is not the answer to convenient delivery. But BOPIS is not the answer to convenient delivery. Same-day home or "to my desired location" delivery is the answer to convenient delivery. Amazon will continue to kill any retailer relying on customers actually coming to the store for non-perishable categories.
    5. McMillon/Walmart have set an expectation for profit margin and shareholder returns with Wall Street that Bezos/Amazon have avoided. That will continue to dog Walmart if they try to make "Bezos bets" on innovation and reduced friction in the system for consumers.
    6. I am not selling my Walmart stock. They are still a great company. But anyone who thinks they are out of the woods in addressing the challenges of zero-friction retailing is about to bump into a tree.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Will having the same buyers for online and stores work for Walmart?

    I'll just second Lee's "duh." Of course this makes sense and there's simply not much more to say about it.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Is Amazon the most innovative company in retailing?

    Is Amazon the most innovative retailer in the world? I'm going to give that one a qualified "maybe." They are certainly the most efficient order fulfillment company in the world right now. They make it extremely easy to find, buy and receive products in practically every retail category available. But to me, retailing is about more than just selling the most stuff. Retailing (and maybe I should be saying "merchandising" here instead?) is as much art as science. And I don't see much "art" at Amazon.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2017

    Will Neiman Marcus find gold with its women’s plus-size pilot?

    So I'm guessing you wouldn't respond well to a line of products labeled "Hirsute Hip"? Ok, neither would I. But we might fall for "Handsome Hirsute" -- ya never know. ;-)
  • Posted on: 02/10/2017

    Will in-home consults give Amazon the keys to the smart home market?

    Think GeekSquad -- on steroids. This is exactly what latent-adopter consumers need to get them started. More importantly, it will help early-adopters understand the potential of all the devices they own.As for getting your home hacked -- that's been going on for centuries -- it's called burglary. Just as cyber thieves now steal our money, credit and identities online, so will the home get burgled. But there are ways to be vigilant and smart about that. And most of them have to do with the user being aware, involved and careful in what they do and say around these devices.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2017

    Are vendors and stores headed for a fight over Amazon?

    I'd agree with your Macy's exec, Susan. But go a step further beyond just "anything replenishment." These days it is "anything with a standardized definition or awareness." I'm a woodworker. I know what a Stanley chisel is. While I love going to Woodcraft or Rockler to browse in my "candy store," I don't have to go there to see the tool -- I can buy it online from either of those retailers or I can buy it online from Amazon with Prime free shipping and 5 percent cash back -- and sometimes I can buy it online from Amazon with Prime free shipping and 5 percent cash back -- FROM WOODCRAFT OR ROCKLER! There's really only one choice for vendors and that is to literally be everywhere. Ubiquitous availability is now only a click away.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2017

    When will sustainable fashion go mainstream?

    I fully intended to write my own comment on this Meaghan. But when I read yours I decided to "+1" and tag along. I couldn't agree with you more.The critical phrase in the question is "mainstream" -- and for that I would offer my standard answer. Products and services offering altruistic benefits at a premium price will only go "mainstream" when the price/utility equation comes into line such that the trade-off between the new offering and traditional ones is zero. Never say never and never say always -- but it almost always happens this way.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2017

    What will lower Valentine’s Day sales mean for retail?

    First things first. Has anyone mentioned this to my wife?I thought not.What I have observed among my Millenials however is that their relationships don't generally rely on the "gifting" thing as much as ours seemed to. The idea of shared experiences is becoming much more valued. While it's not so good for traditional retail, I think it might be a very good thing for our kids.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2017

    What will lower Valentine’s Day sales mean for retail?

    Paula, I don't think Valentine's Day "parties" are supposed to include large crowds? ;-)
  • Posted on: 02/07/2017

    Will consumers buy a new vision for Abercrombie & Fitch?

    For my generation and ilk, Abercrombie & Fitch still invokes visions of fine fly rods and Filson "oilcloth" apparel. If the brand so completely reinvented itself once, maybe it can do it again. I like the experiential nature of the fitting room experience.
  • Posted on: 02/03/2017

    Why do so few shoppers think of BOPIS as a ‘smooth’ process?

    To the original question: Why do so few shoppers think of BOPIS as a "smooth" process?Because they still have to drive to the store, park and go inside, deal with people and then carry their stuff to the car and drive home. What part of that process answers any of shoppers' major complaints about the shopping experience?BOPIS was doomed from the start. The only thing that has a chance is curbside pickup ala Kroger.
  • Posted on: 02/02/2017

    Will retailers beat back the border adjustable tax?

    "Border taxes" are neither "new" nor an "experiment." Practically every country in the world has had some form for some period of time on some sort of commerce. The U.S. has them now (what's that tax you pay when you bring more than the allowance amount home from vacation and go through customs?). So do Canada and Mexico. So let's skip the "it's a dangerous experiment" hysteria.It is also true that countries regularly abandon such tariffs eventually. Sometimes because they do the job intended. Sometimes because they don't.I don't have the economic chops to "know" if this is good or bad -- but I do know we are all going to get a double ear full from people who feel they do over the next few months.
  • Posted on: 02/01/2017

    How will online shopping transform the grocery business?

    Jon,Thanks for saving me a lot of typing on my phone this morning. You nailed it.
  • Posted on: 01/27/2017

    Will drop shipping online orders deliver results for retailers?

    Bingo!The Trojan Horse has been foaled and stands quietly in the paddock, munching away and growing ever bigger and stronger as retailers prepare to throw open the gates of Troy!

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