PROFILE

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.

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  • Posted on: 02/15/2018

    Grocers hit restaurants in the gut with hot bars

    We are seeing a significant level of investment in the prepared foods areas across all of our grocery clients. Those with a particular focus on offering a broader selection prepared with organic and premium ingredients are realizing a marked lift in sales. Today’s grocery shoppers seek convenience, variety and healthy prepared options. High-performing retailers are now elevating the prepared foods departments into front and center in-store destinations.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2018

    Macy’s launches in-store pop-up concept for brands

    Provided The Market @ Macy's offers access to unique or emerging brands consumers covet, it should drive foot traffic from new and existing customers. I see this concept akin to the success Nordstrom realized with the Bonobos and Tesla pop-up shops. In the long run, the pop-up brands will likely see the most benefit from the arrangement with Macy's.
  • Posted on: 01/23/2018

    It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s an electric, driverless concept vehicle!

    The dynamic, customizable use cases for the e-Palette indicate Toyota is approaching autonomous vehicles in a bigger, more aspirational manner than any other auto maker. Potential retail applications for the e-Palette will only be limited by the imagination of the creative brands who adopt this as a means of customer engagement and brand experience. The e-Palette is a great example of bold thinking, enabling retailers to truly step out of the box and redefine what it means to fulfill customer needs.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2018

    Incentives drive web survey responses

    Our work consistently shows consumers prefer mobile surveys over responding by phone, and those with an incentive see higher response rates than surveys without. More importantly, for surveys with an incentive included, brand-sponsored incentives, such as a discount on a next purchase or a chance to win a high-value gift card outperform general sweepstakes. In countering survey fatigue, we advise brands on starting with Net Promoter Score (NPS) as the basis for the survey, then branching to just a few additional questions for those respondents indicating they are Detractors or Passives. The key is keeping the survey concise. Another important consideration is that of avoiding over-surveying customers, such as not inviting their feedback after every brand interaction. We've curated our thoughts around NPS surveys here.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2018

    Should grocers be teaching Americans how to eat?

    Consumer education around healthy eating options need not be an all-or-nothing position for grocery retailers. Without question, those with a primary focus on natural and organic products will find education a natural extension to their customer engagement initiatives. There is opportunity, however, with brands not typically associated with healthy eating as a core focus, such as Aldi and their new vegetarian and vegan offerings, where retailers can educate around a narrower, more curated product set and in turn establish customer goodwill.
  • Posted on: 12/26/2017

    Lululemon leans on personal development of associates

    Kudos to Lululemon for recognizing and honoring the importance of long-term employee development. The differentiating approach is the inclusive focus on personal and health goals to complement one's professional aspirations. Brands at the forefront of this movement include Starbucks and The Container Store, with both exhibiting values-based operating models. It is refreshing and inspiring to see Lululemon's leadership likewise seeing inherent value in their associates.
  • Posted on: 12/21/2017

    BoxLunch builds a shopping mall presence with built-in charity

    Consumers in general, and Millennials in particular, like to do business with companies that wish to do good. Integrating a socially responsible/charitable component to a brand's business model — provided the charity's mission clearly aligns with the brand's values — nurtures goodwill with customers and helps set a brand apart from its peers.
  • Posted on: 12/15/2017

    Are micro influencers better for retailers than macro influencers?

    In our work with specialty retailers, we've witnessed a higher lift in social media influence and online impact among brands working with micro-influencers. The most significant contributing factor is to identify an influencer whose followers/fans/readers best align with the brand's core and ideal customer. In most cases, these will be micro-influencers. Savvy brands amplify ROI by working with a carefully curated set of micro-influencers rather than a single macro-influencer, then consistently monitoring social impact and modifying their set of influencers over time.
  • Posted on: 12/13/2017

    Will late deliveries mess up Christmas?

    It is almost certain that a higher percentage of deliveries will arrive late this year, given that online sales have increased exponentially and, more importantly, consumers have grown accustomed to same-day/next-day/two-day delivery and simply expect the carriers to keep pace regardless of it being the holiday season. Retailers are learning that shifting consumer expectations around reasonable delivery timetables is an uphill battle, and one they'll likely not win. Shipping status transparency and setting earlier deadlines are all good and well, however customer expectations are likely to remain fully entrenched around quick, reliable delivery. Anything less and it is the retailer who suffers.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2017

    The new NYC Nike store will have a members-only floor

    As one of the early innovators in the space, Nike has done well over a long period of time in creating flagship experiential retail. This move signals yet another way in which the brand is adept at creating positive public relations and media coverage. Establishing a members-only space within the new flagship location will drive curiosity among Nike fans, in turn lifting membership in the loyalty club program, creating downstream opportunity for more meaningful customer engagement, and more importantly, burnishing customer goodwill.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2017

    Customer data is grocery’s new battleground

    Whether regional or national in reach, those grocers with loyalty programs and/or branded apps can very definitely transform the shopper experience, provided they invest the time and talent into understanding from their customers what is most meaningful in the way of a tailored in-store experience. Locally-sourced product mix, shelves stocked with the most sought-after items, personalized communications that nurture trust with customers, presented at the right time and in the right manner, and a very intentional in-store experience can in tandem uniquely position grocery retail as a destination consumers will desire to spend time and dollars. The key is building trust with judicious use of the new analytics and insights.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2017

    Walmart’s online prices drive customers to its supercenters

    Though it seems counter-intuitive, the online vs. in-store pricing transparency makes practical sense, ideally driving more customers into Walmart stores, either for items priced less in-store or to take advantage of the savings offered through buy online pickup in-store. The potential downside surfaces should consumers adopt the perception of Walmart's online pricing being higher than Amazon and higher in general. For those where convenience outweighs price, Walmart may unintentionally drive away online sales.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2017

    Are these the best or worst of times for consumer brands?

    We view this as being a great time for brands. Direct-to-consumer opens up a world of opportunity to establish deeper, more personalized relationships with customers. Online and digital sales channels allow brands to reach more customers in more places, more often and without the constraint of traditional brick-and-mortar channels. Those brands that best execute around the customer experience in both the omnichannel ecosystem and direct-to-consumer will be handsomely rewarded.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2017

    What would acquiring Aetna mean for CVS retail?

    The prospect of Amazon entering the pharmacy space and driving down prescription costs will spark insurers and pharmacy retailers to rethink their relationships in innovative ways. The CVS/Aetna talks are the first signal of potentially profound shifts coming to consumer health care. With insurers are taking a larger role in negotiating drug prices, the combined purchasing power of joining forces with nearly 10,000 retail stores could result in lower prices at the register, creating an effective hedge against Amazon. An equally significant consumer benefit may come in Aetna driving its policyholders to CVS for its broader offering of health care services, leveraging CVS's experience in nurturing close customer/patient relationships and care coordination.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2017

    Nike turns its back on ‘undifferentiated, mediocre’ retailers

    Nike is doubling down on its direct-to-consumer strategy and with 100 million members, is smart to do so. Honing its remaining retail partners signals the continued yet diminishing importance of traditional sales channels. Retail will compete more and more with the closer customer relationships, personalized merchandise recommendations and exclusive offerings to be found only within the Nike digital and app ecosystems.

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