Roger Saunders

Global Managing Director, Prosper Business Development

Roger Saunders is Managing Director of PROSPER BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT in Columbus, Ohio. PROSPER Group of Companies is a leading internationally recognized Marketing Intelligence concern that is focused on the CONSUMER and Consumer Insights. The firm addresses points of not just “What”, but also the essential “Who”, “When”, “Where”, “Why”, and “How” Consumer Behaviors, Attitudes, and Lifestyle are actionably impacting the Retail Industry.

PROSPER is the parent, holding company of Prosper Insights & Analytics, PROSPER Technologies, PROSPER China, and the Prosper Foundation. The organization is a leader in Business Development strategies, Innovative Technologies and Forecasting Applications, and Consumer Market Research. Quantitative, Syndicated and Custom Surveys are fielded on a consistent monthly and daily basis in the United States and China. The Insights, Prosper Platform of state-of-the-art visualization of diverse databases, and Apps that drive predictive Analytics of future consumer behavior, serve the needs of Marketing, Merchandising, Store Operations, Financial Departments, and Vendors. Clients include the world’s largest Retailers, CPG, Manufacturing, Media, Financial, and Consulting practices.

Saunders has held executive positions with Fortune 500 Media concerns, lead private multi-media entities, and been an owner / partner in entrepreneurial Retail (28 restaurants) and Manufacturing concerns. A diversified 35 year career, having lived in all corners of the U.S. – Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, South, and West – he has honed his senses and attention to Consumer and Customers’ current, and more importantly, future needs.

Other than a weak golf game, and a belief that the Chicago Cubs will one day win a World Series, Saunders is grounded in the reality that the Consumer is the center of any successful Marketer’s strategic and tactical efforts.

  • Posted on: 09/23/2016

    Are smartphones changing how Americans shop from home?

    Smartphones are ubiquitous across all generations, save for the Silent Generation. However, I will tell you that my 90 year old mother is on her iPad throughout the day, and is even taking up texting on her phone.Each month the Prosper Monthly Consumer Survey asks over 6,800 adults about their shopping methods over the past 30 days across 12 different merchandising categories. In each of those categories, save for groceries, 8% - 15% of Millennials say they have used their smartphone for selected categories. If you're shopping for electronics, the smartphone loses ground to tablet devices, while it picks up a higher percentage of Millennials when it comes to apparel.Media is used simultaneously, and has been for the past 15 years. You may be in front of the television set, but the Smartphone is on the right, the tablet on the left, and you could be leafing through a magazine during a commercial break.The consumer is in charge. We're there to engage them and serve their world. Each of us has to keep that in mind as copy is written, media forms are selected, offerings are made, and merchandise has proper and effective distribution channels.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2016

    Will retailers be treated to a record-setting Halloween?

    As George has captured from Prosper's Pam Goodfellow, Halloween will be rollicking good time for retailers. While the individual spend is a lower ticket than other holidays, as some have pointed out, adults, 18+ are stepping up their plans to celebrate. This October, 69.1% of adults will celebrate the holiday, compared to 64.0% in 2015. Even more important, 88.3% of Millennials will be celebrating vs. 80.9% in 2015.More than candy is going to be working its way through retailers' doors — among those celebrating, 73.9% will dress for the occasion, 50.9% will attend a party, 34.9% will take kids trick or treating — watch the neighborhood, you'll even see grandparents walking with mom, dad, and grandchildren; and 35.1% of those celebrating will be seeking a good scare — they plan to visit a haunted house. Decorations will hit double digit gains on a year-over-year basis.The biggest portion of shopping takes place two weeks prior to Halloween night — keep the stores stocked and no need to take discounts too early.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2016

    Is consumer demand really that unpredictable?

    Consumer demand is very predictable.First, retailers have to start with the demand they are attempting to forecast. If it is how many navy blue tops in petite size will sell through at full price in the next 90 days, as some merchandisers might ask, there will be a bit more "art" than "science" in the forecast.If the retailer needs to know what their shoppers are planning on buying in the next 90 days within a merchandising line — say groceries — "science" kicks in. Having a scaleable database of shoppers — a couple thousand of Walmart, Target, Macy's, etc. shoppers — and then listening to those shoppers purchasing intentions, retailers can capture forecasting correlations of .60 to .75.When developing a forecast, retailers will always get better forecasting leading to better planning by looking forward. A retailers windshield is bigger than their rear view mirror. There is a reason. It's the same with the forecast.Edward Learmer, Director of UCLA Anderson Economics Forecasting, has pointed out, "Accurate forecasting is coming from comparing the data that are available today with historical points in the past. There are hardly any legitimate comparisons. And, THE RESULT IS THAT NOBODY IS DOING FORECASTING; WE'RE ALL DOING HUNCHES AT THIS POINT."Better consumer forecasting has to start with the human element — what is the consumer's variable spending plan in the 90 day to 120 day span. Follow that with integrating diverse datasets of actual data/insights of retailers along with a proven, competent data house.You'll receive accurate forecasts. Just ask the right questions in a longitudinal basis. The answers will delight you.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2016

    Amazon’s Prime Now delivers beauty in a hurry

    Amazon is adding to the peddler's cart. Selling HBA products to an affluent city market — inner city downtown and Gold Coast and emerging near West Side — will add incremental revenues for Amazon. It will also be a benefit to a sharp, family-owned enterprise like Merz Apothecary.The service is not scaleable across the country, or for the Chicago metropolitan area at this stage, or at least until more carts and horsepower are added to the distribution pipeline.The need for instant gratification from HBA products (2 hours or less), is limited. These products are more planned purchases, and consumers will be patient enough to receive them in 2 to 3 days.The Internet is growing as the source of where consumers shop MOST often for HBA. Based on Prosper Insights & Analytics consumer patterns, slightly less than 1% of the general population, as well as Gen X and Millennials, favored the Internet MOST often for HBA purchases. It took until 2014 to reach 1.9%. By January 1, 2015, it rose to 2.5%, then 3.5% in January, 2016. As of August, 4.3% of Millennials and Gen X are choosing the Internet most often for HBA.Two hour delivery is not ready for prime time on a scaleable pattern.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2016

    Are you ready for Generation Z?

    Don't jump to Generation Z just yet. If we define Generation Z as children born in 2001 and beyond, then stay focused on the Millennial generation. That is the largest portion of the population that will be raising Generation Z.The biggest difference that retailers will see in Generation Z is likely to be single parent households. Look to societal changes as well as demographics. In addition, incomes for Millennials have only started to accelerate in the past 18 to 24 months. Millennials, who are on the path of raising children, are bringing them through the pipeline in a far more accepting manner about race or ethnic differences. This will impact how Generation Z will shop in groups. Finally, Generation Z children will likely come from larger families. Millennials and Generation X, the offspring of Boomers, were emerging from households of about 2.1 children. Millennials will more likely have family sizes of 2.3 or more -- three is a magic formula for the married Millennials at this stage, and some ethnic groups who have settled in the U.S. in the past 10 years embrace a belief in larger family units.While NO GENERATION is completely homogeneous, keep an eye on the Millennials. Millennials, as a group, have deferred marriage due to the recessionary periods of 2007 to 2010. A bit more than one out of four Millennials are now married. We will be experiencing a large group of Millennials who will "walk the aisle" in the next two to five years. With some 80 million Millennials, look for weddings to match peak years of the late-'60s/early-'70s as Boomers started families.Debra is absolutely correct that Generation Z will be instantly connected by the time they are shopping. I watch a two-year-old and a four-year-old granddaughter who are on iPads from the time they get up and at various times of the day. They have two parents who have been married for nine years, so they are loaded up with family experiences. That won't be the case in every neighborhood across the country.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2016

    Is a grocery price war inevitable?

    Kroger's Rodney McMullen is correct. Price is only one element of a grocery shopper's experience. Prosper Monthly Consumer Survey Insights point to 25 different "Reasons" that Consumers shop their favorite Grocer MOST often.The macro reasons for deflationary pricing will be largely beyond grocers' control, as Tom Ryan points out. Run to strengths, manage weaknesses.Grocery Shopping is the most common experience that the typical consumer household has in their day-to-day retail experiences with some 90+ shopping trips per year. With repeat purchases, price will be a high priority in a consumer's choice of a grocer —- it's #2 among Kroger shoppers, as well as #2 among Safeway and Stater Brothers shoppers, #1 for Walmart and HEB shoppers, #3 for Wegmans and Ralphs shoppers, and #4 for Publix shoppers.As grocers go up against competitors, they have to understand why their shoppers choose them MOST often. They also have to know why shoppers choose their competitors MOST often. Having that strategic knowledge better positions them to run to their strengths and manage their weaknesses.Nine out of ten Walmart grocery shoppers say that price is vital to them, while 7 out of 10 register location, 6 out of 10 say selection, and 1 out of 3 consider quality as a reason to shop Walmart for groceries. The later may be perceived or real, but it is a reason that has to be addressed — i.e. weakness.On the other hand, 8 out of 10 Kroger shoppers feel location is their top reason, 3 out of 4 mention price, 7 out of 10 say selection, and 6 out of 10 believe in Kroger quality.Each of these have to be considered core reasons for grocers. Knowing how they may stack up with competitors has to be monitored in order to keep and grow share in a deflationary cycle. In addition, those grocers will want to monitor reasons that have been unique strengths. Kroger gets high marks on fresh produce, frequent chopper cards, fuel/gas offerings, and trustworthy retailer compared to their competitors. Frequent shopper card use has dropped in significance over the past 5 years, while the other reasons have grown in importance.Walmart still holds positive reasons for 24/7 availability and one-stop shopping, but that advantage has declined among their shoppers over the past 5 years — protect it, and turn it up during the deflationary period.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2016

    Why are retailers struggling with Big Data?

    Retailers, too often, begin their work with a snapshot in time as they are looking at data. They'll find greater benefit in making use of longitudinal views.The consumer is an intelligent being. Consumers make purchase decisions based on both emotional and rational states. Numerous social and economic factors, media forms, competitive opportunities and life events will influence those decisions. By listening to and having SMART data, not merely mounds of data, from a longitudinal analysis of their shoppers -- what, why, when and how they are doing within their stores and at competitors' stores -- leads to faster, better decisions.Beyond longitudinal insights, retailers have to be willing to evaluate whether they are getting the results from current data sources. If they are not, they have to break from defending those data sources just as they would if a merchandising line, price point, or store plan-o-gram weren't delivering the results they needed.Stay focused on the consumer -- what and why she is shopping your store and what and why she is shopping at competitors' stores.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2016

    What does it take to earn Millennials’ loyalty?

    Alex McEachern offers several truisms for consideration about Millennials. Perhaps the most important is the comment about "stereotypes." During the upcoming Fall and holiday gatherings, we'll all have occasion to witness examples of various generations who cannot quite comprehend other generations' point of view, be they Traditional, Boomers, Generation X, Millennials or even the emerging Generation Z. When we can't quite "get it," being human we drop our conceptual and critical thinking and fall back on the safe stereotype.That's when we miss our mark.When it comes to retail, we're best to keep in mind that generational segments do want, and expect, to be listened to. Our attention spans are not short, we have numerous choices presented to us and we want to be delighted in our power to make our own decisions.Best to keep in mind a few tactics for the balance of the year. The market is stretched. Competition is tough. We have to listen to and know our customers and prospects. We have to support the associates within our organization.In order to win, Retailers will have to focus teams on execution -- show up on time, do what we say we will do, finish what we start and say please and thank you.
  • Posted on: 08/22/2016

    Will Amazon drive-up grocery stores disrupt food retailing?

    Worth keeping an eye on the Millennials. They will lead the way with these boxes in densely populated neighborhoods. Between 6 and 8 percent of Millennials say that they have shopped online in the past 30 days for groceries, based on the Prosper Monthly Consumer Survey.The Walmart pickup in Bentonville is capturing more of the busy, suburban mom. She has a large parking lot to enter and can efficiently load the week's shopping.Two slightly different models, but each will have appeal for their targets and deliver on growth over time.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2016

    Are wearables just for the kids?

    Millennials are addressing the question of the usage of wearable technology in a fashion sense, as they are already more likely to have an appreciation of the function. Younger Boomers (born between 1956 and 1964) are more attuned to the function. And both segments of the population have to be educated and persuaded as to the value they will receive from wearable technology.Based on the Prosper Insights & Analytics Monthly Consumer Survey, Millennials have the greater curiosity in regards to these devices. When asked their level of interest about wearables on a scale of one to five, of the 1887 Millennials surveyed in April, 45.2 percent expressed somewhat/very interested in activity trackers, 37.7 percent felt that way about smartwatches, 31 percent were had interest in action camcorders, 28.8 percent of them were keen on healthcare devices and 26.1 percent had an interest in wearables for pets.Younger Boomers (sample size of 1049) need to be educated on the value -- that is likely going to come from function. While 22.7 percent of younger Boomers are somewhat/very interested in activity trackers and 19.6 percent held that view for healthcare devices, only 12.2 percent showed interest in smartwatches, 8.8 percent about action camcorders and 5.6 percent about wearables for pets.When it comes to plans to purchase in the next three to nine months, one out of five Millennials intends to take the plunge to purchase a smartwatch. Only 2.6 percent to 3.9 percent of younger Boomers intend to buy a Samsung or Apple smartwatch during that time.
  • Posted on: 07/15/2016

    What is Starbucks baking up with its latest investment?

    Centralize a bakery in a hub fashion around a dozen Starbucks. Yes, this does create new logistic issues. Baking, especially artisan, is in many ways an art form. If Starbucks has to outfit a bakery operation in all 12 of those locations and then ramp up and maintain training of personnel, product times, etc., they are going to experience greater operational problems than the logistics ones.With a centralized bakery, Starbucks/Princi will be able to experiment with a greater variety of products. In addition, that bakery could serve as an added supplier to specialty restaurants in the area.The plan calls for a bakery in each store. Test a couple of markets with the central bakery concept. The Melman organization in Chicago has been able to place a number of products from their Chicago bakery into their restaurants in a successful fashion. Use that highly successful restaurateur's model as a guide.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2016

    Do retail marketers have an appetite for data science?

    Analytics ownership needs to remain in-house. Marketing is a logical and practical space to drive the discipline, as it focuses first and foremost on the consumer. However, analytics and data science are not and should not be limited to the marketing department for use.Executive, financial, merchandising, and store operations teams should exercise their "walking around" skills to express how and what they might be seeking from data science. There is a breakdown in this arena, as too often analytics, which are relatively new to retail (past 10 years), are seen as black box specialists. They're not. They reinforce the common sense that all associates need to embrace.Retailers can find vendors who can assist along the way in building the internal bridge to better data science usage. Vendors, be they CPG, service or manufacturers, have a strong interest in helping retailers grow their businesses. That is why many of them have already started the process of building their data science expertise.Find the support. Build the data science from within.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2016

    Dollar stores — they have the meats

    Much of the retail industry has mistaken the dollar store channel for the simple reason that they do not understand the shoppers in the core and secondary segments in the channel. Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and the West Coast chain of 99 Cents stores do.By understanding the consumers, dollar stores have effectively continuously tweaked their merchandising and store operations practices. 99 Cents Stores even has assertively stepped into the breach of expanding meat protein by hiring top-flight executive talent from grocery chain leaders. Geoffrey Covert, CEO, came out of 20 years at P&G and another 20 at Kroger. Jack Sinclair, chief merchandising officer, drove groceries and other departments at Walmart in some of their best years. Jim Parros, logistics, earned stripes at department stores and specialty stores, while Felicia Thornton, CFO, was an executive at Kroger and Albertsons.Food and better protein are both a necessity and of interest to all sides of the consumer marketplace. The dollar stores get that message. They walk their stores and other retailers, while too many retailers barely get past 7th Avenue or meetings internally. If you can't walk those stores, make certain that your teams get the correct consumer market insights.These lads and lasses are only getting started. Merchants on a "peg" higher than dollar stores -- let's call them Save-a-Lot, Trader Joe's and Aldi, with more to come -- will be taking a crack at that protein level. Stay tuned.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2016

    Will getting rid of list prices help or hurt Amazon?

    Likely a smart move on Amazon's part. The funnel of goods and services that Amazon is offering continuously grows. They are taking a page out of their book category. This move will permit them to keep the adventure of pricing fresh on an ongoing basis. It has appeal to the treasure hunters, EDLP and the simple value-seekers who want to be sure they are not being overcharged during their shopping experience.
  • Posted on: 07/01/2016

    Amazon’s Prime Day countdown begins

    Will Amazon Prime Day be a success again this year? Is the Thames moist?Amazon will lead the way on July 11, building up fire power from July 5 on. They won't have an exclusive claim to the day, as other retailers will jump on the party bandwagon -- that will drive added consumers to Amazon for a price comparison. July 11 is a Monday -- ideal for building up momentum and sales over the weekend. Just as Alibaba, which jumped on Singles Day (11/11) in China, found growing success over the past six years, Amazon will see this occasion be a cash-rich celebration.Offering a free membership to Amazon Prime will provide a solid boost to added sales. Prosper Insights and Analytics Monthly Consumer Survey indicates that three out of 10 adults are now Amazon Prime members. That is just since 2013. The momentum will carry through effectively in July.And other retailers will do well to capitalize on the occasion if they have their operation lined up. Walmart is out in front in this effort with their current offerings to become part of ShippingPass. Consumer spending has turned a bit cautious over the past 30 days. That could prove beneficial on July 11 if large segments of the population are feeling a bit more flush following the 4th of July.

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