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: 01/19/2017

    Will a movie and gourmet food combo drive crowds to the mall?

    While this could be a winning approach to get more people to the mall (because they want to go to the movies), I am doubtful that this will boost retail spending in the mall. While enhanced entertainment and new offerings might make the mall more interesting or engaging IF someone is looking for those specific things, it doesn't mean that people will shop at the retailers located there more or most often.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2017

    Is Net Promoter Score flawed?

    NPS, while simple and providing a way to benchmark against industry, isn't enough by itself. Simply knowing that someone would recommend an organization (and some types of organizations lend themselves to this concept better than others) doesn't, by itself, provide any clear direction about what is going well and what needs to improve. One might be willing to recommend a company but there could still be issues in one facet (or more) of the experience. Alone, NPS is simply not enough.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2017

    Can AI resolve customer service disputes?

    There are many concerning elements here. First, who knows what data will be pulled from the "available public information" and its accuracy. Then, what if the idea rep to help a customer is tied up for a long period of time? I suppose it routes to the "next best choice" but how good will that rep be for a given person? While this type of technology may eventually evolve to work well, nothing can replace excellent training!
  • Posted on: 01/13/2017

    Will Alexa become the voice of IoT?

    Amazon certainly has the advantage of being first in market, providing a significant edge over the others at this point. Since everyone shops, the Amazon platform can have appeal to virtually everyone. But even today, the Echo does so much more and as IoT and AI continues to evolve, it will require Amazon to keep improving and advancing the offerings in the face of competition.Growth of IoT will come from both new users on no current platform and from the major player(s), Amazon for sure. But as someone who uses the Amazon platform on a daily basis, I feel it is solid now and only going to get better.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2016

    Does Alexa need a screen?

    Nothing wrong with adding a screen as that will bridge the current use between an Echo and a Fire tablet, and make it much easier to see products before buying. I don't find myself doing that too often, but mainly because it isn't as seamless as having a screen right on the device. These devices, and their continuous evolution, are a given into the future!
  • Posted on: 11/23/2016

    Has Best Buy solved the Amazon riddle?

    Totally agree. While Best Buy will (without arguing) match Amazon pricing now and the selection is better as is the service, I wouldn't say that service is always better at Best Buy. Many times when I have asked for help, the salesperson doesn't know the answer. On the other hand, had an issue with Amazon and jumped into a chat and it was solved in minutes.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2016

    How important is convenience to motivating online holiday shoppers?

    So true Sterling. And in some cases the price on Amazon is better than the other site so it is double the win — a better price on an already used platform. Anecdotal, but many people I know no longer traverse the physical store for deals, but rather look at the online deals from the comfort of home!
  • Posted on: 10/28/2016

    Can retailers overcome the challenges of urban deliveries?

    Disruption of traditional models can be painful. These types of deliveries will have difficulties associated with them in dense and not so easy-to-traverse areas of inner cities. Whether it is creating an obstacle to traffic, package theft, creating a secure holding place within buildings and so on, these issues will need to be addressed. And while it may be a small(ish) number of people today, this isn't going away as the younger generations migrate to more e-commerce, not less.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2016

    Driverless truck delivers 50K cans of Bud on supply run

    On one hand, this could be a tremendous plus in terms of productivity and potentially a positive when it comes to safety. On the flip side, will it really be safer? Will there be hacking that results in accidents and stolen merchandise? And then there are the loss of jobs. While I do believe this will come to pass and technology is moving so quickly that it will be there sooner than later on a more mass scale, at the same time I can't imagine governmental bodies will allow this to move along quickly. I am all for it once safety is fully vetted — who wouldn't want to make better use of their time than driving in rush hour!
  • Posted on: 10/21/2016

    Should high-end brands avoid Amazon?

    Totally agree. One can be the luxury brand of yesterday or the luxury brand of tomorrow. As you point out, "affluent customers value time and increasingly expect a better customer experience." Time for luxury retailers to innovate their approach to retailing to truly serve all their customers, not just those who might happen into a physical store.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2016

    Smartphones drive increased e-mail usage

    Email continues to be a very relevant form of communication today. Successful email campaigns, however, require several facets including well-written subject lines that grab attention and formatting for all screen sizes (especially given mobile). Will email remain front and center with the next generation? Hard to say at this point. As new forms of social communication, like Facebook at Work, emerge and connect with younger generations we may find a migration. But just like with print, it isn't going to happen overnight.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2016

    What happens when managers unintentionally demotivate employees?

    I have often seen management hold themselves to a different set of standards than everyone else. Whether by virtue of rank and title or time with the company, some managers seem to feel they are "at a different level" than the other employees. And believe me, the employees notice and lose respect very quickly!
  • Posted on: 09/15/2016

    When will AR and VR become “realities” at retail?

    While AR/VR isn't a "today or tomorrow" priority for retail, it does have a place down the road. To simply dismiss AR/VR as a fad is shortsighted. It will change and evolve like anything else before it someday becomes more integrated into the shopping experience but it will happen. After all, how many things from Star Trek are in some evolved way, reality today?
  • Posted on: 09/12/2016

    Amazon to roll out pop-ups nationwide

    Smart move! As a recent convert to a Fire, it was a challenge to know whether or not the device would do what I wanted it to do without being able to test drive one. This will provide additional exposure to the array of devices offered by Amazon and agree that there is a "wow" factor to being able to try something like Alexa for the first time.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2016

    Why are retailers struggling to get social media right?

    Looks like lots of folks taking the poll feel that interaction is where retailers need to spend their time. I couldn't agree more. Recently I had a less than positive experience with a franchisee of a food chain. I took to social media and was initially impressed with the relative speed of response and promise to contact me. However, after getting my information and promising a response in 48 hours, guess what ... nothing happened. Retailers have to get the basics of customer interaction right first before anything more complex!

Contact Brian