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: 02/09/2021

    Will pandemic-fatigued couples love Lowe’s and Whole Foods’ Valentine’s promos?

    I'll give them credit for trying, but I can't imagine spending the evening at my local Lowe's. Whole Foods seems to have really thought their promotion out well so my vote goes to them for a successful approach.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2021

    GameStop hires Amazon, Chewy and QVC vets to transform its business

    It's really all about digital at this point. I haven't set foot in a GameStop since my kids used the Wii. All the games they play are either downloaded or playable online now. I use an Oculus VR rig ... nothing but the headset needed in terms of physical assets as all the games download right to the headset. This is the future and anything else is "game over"!
  • Posted on: 01/26/2021

    Will retail and brand CMOs play it safe in 2021?

    While I would expect a focus on serving existing customers and markets to be the way many go forward in 2021, there are cases where one has to look at new customers. Companies that totally had to pivot in 2020 to a new customer base essentially have no choice but to try to attract new customers (but even there, can they leverage their previous customer base to transition -- perhaps in some cases). But selling more to existing customers wherever possible is always a good tactic.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2021

    Do sampled freebies drive loyalty?

    Sampling products drives trial and can be useful in gaining feedback about new products. Loyalty only results if the person sampling likes the product and continues to purchase it! Sampling can help a good product get more visibility but can also contribute to sinking a bad product.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2021

    Albertsons ditching in-house drivers to deliver online orders

    At some point doing this using in-house staff just doesn't work economically and retailers continually look to reduce costs while doing what they do best and outsourcing other functions. This move doesn't seem surprising viewed through that lens. The open question is around how well these independent contractors do representing the Albertsons brand to customers.
  • Posted on: 12/22/2020

    Is free at-home pick-up of online returns practicable?

    From a shopper perspective, this is a win (especially in the short term in the midst of a pandemic). It removes one of the pain points about purchasing items and then having to deal with the return if it is the wrong size, defective or otherwise not wanted. Plus, it is a differentiator and potential market share builder at a mass scale for Walmart.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2020

    Will ending minimum purchases turn Walmart+ into a serious Amazon Prime rival?

    Certainly a positive move for Walmart (and they should have done it on the first day of the program) but Amazon's benefits are still much better. Not likely going to create a lot of switching from Amazon to Walmart, but may be attractive in gaining new customers that don't want or need the extra Amazon offers.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2020

    Are retailers cutting their way to profitability or slowly bleeding to death?

    Closing a bunch of stores generally isn't a good sign, despite any spin put out that it is...,
  • Posted on: 11/13/2020

    Should C-suite execs keep their opinions to themselves on store visits?

    Build trust by catching people doing something right, at least with those on the floor. That will go a long way. The store leadership still needs to hear the opportunities, but ideally in a tactful, professional way.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2020

    Will Amazon’s Dash Smart Shelf drive auto-replenishment from SMBs and consumers?

    Meh. I don't think this will do much of anything in households, maybe somewhat more useful for SMBs. But as someone else mentioned, seems to be technology for technology's sake, and I love tech, but this would have to be free for me to even look at it (and even then I don't think I could train the others in the HH to use it).
  • Posted on: 11/05/2020

    Stop & Shop goes back to the future with nostalgic brands

    Many people are finding comfort in those times in their lives that were simpler and less stressful. Although one person may find these products retro, others might still see them on the market. Offering products with retro packaging and look might take that a step further. Doesn't seem like this will hurt, but depending on the products, may not result in big sales lifts, especially for those focused on healthier choices.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2020

    Will J.C. Penney be renewed under new ownership?

    No. Longer. Relevant.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2020

    Albertsons offers a new refrigerated take on store pickup

    Good for Albertsons for continuing to test options. While lockers aren't new, with minimal interaction with staff required they are timely. But I don't see this as a pandemic-only solution -- some people will likely prefer this and continue to use the lockers into the future. But like anything, we will see where this shakes out relative to other options being tested/deployed.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2020

    Should local book stores be taking on Amazon?

    While I absolutely want the local independent booksellers to succeed, I think tone and focus about how they differentiate is important here. I'd rather hear about what they bring to their community in a positive way, rather than the negative. Like anything else, those who can bridge the gap of where consumers are headed are likely to be the most successful, not those who wish for days gone by in terms of their business model.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2020

    Will a new round of panic buying empty grocery store shelves?

    In our research earlier this year, shoppers in most categories were increasing what they are keeping on hand. Whether this turns into another round of full-fledged panic buying and hoarding versus simply keeping more on hand, especially in the more shelf-stable categories, remains to be seen. But retailers would be wise to be prepared and product limits, SKU rationalization, shelf rationalization and other careful evaluation makes a great deal of sense given the learnings from the past year and the unknown over the near term.

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