PROFILE

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.

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  • Posted on: 04/22/2019

    Why is Petco doubling down on same-day delivery with Shipt and Instacart?

    Pet food and supplies has one of the highest online ordering penetrations of all CPG categories. PetSmart has already captured a large share of that with Chewy.com. Petco needs to respond with the only potentially more desirable option -- same-day delivery. Same-day delivery won't preempt Chewy and it is a more costly delivery option, but Petco needs to fight back first and figure out the rest later.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2019

    Will livestream shopping take off in the U.S.?

    The appeal of livestream shopping may rest more with the individual micro-influencers than with the Wayfairs. My niece began livestreaming jewelry a few months ago and is doing pretty well with it. She got involved through what is essentially online MLM. Livestreaming is the new Tupperware party.
  • Posted on: 04/15/2019

    Can Walmart beat Amazon, Facebook and Google at the online ad game?

    To the extent that this is simply the digital execution of retailers' traditional advertising and promotional programs for vendors -- it makes total sense. For Walmart to compete with broad-based search platforms like Google or social platforms like Facebook in the general online advertising market is quite a stretch. It all depends on what Walmart's definition of "ad business" is.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2019

    Should retail rivals see Amazon’s $15 minimum wage and raise it $1?

    The mathematics of this scenario lead me to think Bezos (who I do admire for both strategic vision and operational excellence) is simply spinning a smart competitive strategy into a bonus PR turnaround. Without using real numbers, just think of the equation this way. Warehouse workers + retail workers divided by total sales revenue as compared to warehouse workers only. Who has the greatest total labor hours per revenue generated? So if there were a "level playing field" of labor cost between the two business models, who winds up at a net labor cost disadvantage? Right. PR move? Sure. One that leverages public and media sentiment to pressure traditional retailers to voluntarily take a less competitive position. Brilliant. At least Machiavelli would think so.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2019

    Amazon Go doesn’t want to leave cash on the table

    This seems more an issue of principle than practical application. It's hard to believe Amazon Go shoppers are "bankless" unless by choice. Adding the cost burden of accepting and handling cash -- even though Amazon will no doubt do it in some unique automated fashion that improves the efficiency -- still seems like a very expensive PR strategy.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2019

    Will Amazon, CVS or Walgreens win the speedy Rx delivery race?

    The real volume here is in "regimen" scripts and those are typically controlled by a PBM. That puts a strong competitive moat around CVS and Walgreens unless Amazon can gain access to that part of the business. The same increasingly applies to one-time scripts. My BC/BS plan only covers scripts filled at Walgreens -- CVS and Amazon need not apply.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2019

    Will Walmart’s new registry make parents forget Babies ‘R’ Us?

    Having just traveled halfway across the country for yet another gender reveal party, I have it on good authority that babies are perennially popular. This is a great idea for Walmart, but to be honest I can't believe they weren't already in this space.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2019

    Okay Google, how can you help grow Walmart’s online grocery business?

    This puts Walmart on even footing with Amazon in a key part of digital growth. Voice ordering is a natural evolution of the "shopping list" -- already one of the most used features of voice assistants. The transition to ordering has already been made in my house for some time now. The pain is having to remember to "call our brands" so we don't get Amazon Basic if we don't want it. Tapping the Google Assistant is the one way Walmart could match Amazon out of the gate on this feature. Having the assistant remember my preferred brand selection is a big plus.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2019

    Will IKEA become the world’s largest furniture rental outlet?

    After college, bachelorhood, marriage/divorce and three kids in college I definitely qualify as "experienced" with IKEA furniture. It is fabulous single-use stuff. It is NOT fabulous to move/reuse. The damage loss on the returns will sink this idea. That practicality aside, it defeats the principal business model of value-priced single use furniture. Perhaps the Swedish approach to IKEA is different than that of U.S. consumers. But I don't see this concept taking off on this side of the Pond.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2019

    Kellogg pilots virtual reality merchandising solution

    VR takes the research cost reduction of simulation to the next level. CPG brands have been looking for cost effective replication of expensive in-store research methodologies that also face increasing retailer resistance due to disruption in the store. Virtual "labs" were the interim solution of choice. But VR is a natural evolution that drives costs a step-function lower due to portability.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2019

    Wait … did Whole Foods just open a bodega on Manhattan’s Westside?

    Availability (of the right items) is everything (to the right audience). The item curation and branding of Whole Foods should play well in areas frequented by the middle/upper income shoppers working at urban businesses. But the traffic will drop off dramatically after business hours unless the store is in a strong upscale urban housing location. A restrained approach to site selection will be critical. There may be room for several hundred of these stores across major urban centers, but I don't see several thousand. That may make efficient sourcing difficult.
  • Posted on: 03/19/2019

    Are Amazon’s private labels falling short or just getting started?

    Private label works in two distinct situations -- categories where the company has authenticity (in which case it is properly called private brand) and categories where the consumer doesn't care about branding. In Amazon's case they have authenticity in tech/voice and so Echo works. The categories with the basic label are generally ones where most consumers don't see any brand value. It all makes sense.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2019

    Burger King launches $5-a-month coffee subscription service

    This service will have the greatest impact with QSR breakfast customers who don't have a particular brand loyalty. But only if BK already makes it into that consumer's evoked set of acceptable breakfast choices. For me that would be Bojangles', Hardee's and McDonald's in that order. Free coffee won't get me to settle for a bad biscuit.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2019

    Will an IPO help Levi’s conquer the world?

    Only if management believes they either a.) have a significant growth ramp that the capital infusion will fund or b.) that they are nearing the max growth potential of the brand and want to cash out now. Assuming it is choice a, they need to be able to realize that growth within four quarters -- preferably two.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2019

    Will ending its price parity rule take the antitrust heat off Amazon?

    Sen. Warren's focus on access as the critical factor in determining monopoly or anti-competitive behavior is the crux of this discussion. Does the fact that Amazon or other platforms' virtual merchandising vehicles have the capacity to carry every product and competitor who wants to be there mean they should have to? I don't think we would have ever considered a brick-and-mortar retailer to be "anti-competitive" for refusing to carry every single brand and SKU of toothpaste or toilet paper available for sale. It would be cost prohibitive and physically impossible. Forcing one or all online retailers to do the same would result in rapid consolidation to only one platform. If forced to operate under the requirements being discussed, the resulting platform would, in effect, become a public utility for ordering goods -- not a retailer.

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