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.

  • Posted on: 09/15/2021

    Will the Kroger/Instacart deal redefine grocery shopping convenience in America?

    This is a transformative, game-changing move on the part of Kroger and Instacart. In reaching 50 million households, and offering all-day plus late-night delivery, Kroger has redefined convenience for its customers who traditionally shop in-store while enhancing the experience for those already ordering online.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2021

    Will its Public Lands concept store help Dick’s conquer the great outdoors?

    I'm looking forward to seeing this concept perform well. Public Lands is timely, immersive and mission-driven in a way that aligns nicely with customer needs and aspirations. It looks to take the best of REI and create the next iteration of what an outdoor lifestyle retailer can be, in a unique and fresh way.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2021

    Can IKEA’s store layout still amaze without a maze?

    IKEA is a masterful retailer. The new pilot store formats convey they are confident in their unwavering focus on shopper immersion and a unique, experiential offering, while being much more nimble and responsive to today's customer preferences. Customers won't miss the maze, so long as the sense of discovery is maintained.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2021

    Should grocers take a lead role supporting weight loss efforts online?

    This study highlights a shopper need state largely going unmet, and an opportunity for grocers to strengthen their relationship with their weight and health-conscious customers. A handful of grocers, including Hy-Vee and H-E-B, have developed online and in-store programs focused on nutritional counseling, healthy meal planning and overall individual wellness. H-E-B offers one-on-one sessions with registered dietitians, personalized weight-loss health testing and customized meal plans, both virtually and in-person. Hy-Vee has taken health and well-being services a step further, with their online platform Healthie. Shoppers are able to access dietitian services, meal planning, heart health screenings, join a plant-based eating group, and through their Healthy Habits menu program access dietitian-inspired simple recipes, convenient grocery lists, balanced meal plans and weekly one-on-ones with a dietitian to track progress, ask questions and stay motivated. These two retailers appear to be the exception when it comes to online tools helping their customers lose weight and make healthier meal choices, leaving plenty of opportunity for others to recognize and address the needs and expectations of this customer segment.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2021

    Has Old Navy charted a course for all retail to follow on plus-sizes?

    This is a solid move on Old Navy's part toward reducing the stigma that can so often come with the plus-size apparel shopping experience. I love that they're merchandising all sizes together, using plus-size mannequins and doing away with the separate plus-size section in the stores. The campaign's messaging of inclusivity and Old Navy being a welcoming place for everyone sets a new standard for others to follow, or ignore at their own risk.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2021

    Will a Prime-style subscription service take Albertsons business to a new level?

    The past eighteen months have given rise to a substantial segment of grocery shoppers preferring curbside pickup or home delivery. This new Albertsons program, one of three announced this week, will help cement loyalty with the latter segment, provided speed and consistency in meeting delivery times is achieved. Albertsons is waking up from its slumber and may soon be viewed as an innovator.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2021

    Are over-attentive associates creeping shoppers out?

    Given the high level of staff turnover in most retailers, coupled with reductions in customer interaction and sales training, most brands are simply unable to find that sweet spot of being attentive, but not overly so. I would bet revisiting this study now would unfortunately show an even higher percentage of consumers who are quick to feel uneasy with salesperson interactions, as everyone has become accustomed to contactless shopping. I do agree with fellow panelist comments that initiating rapport with "Is there anything in particular you're looking for..." can go a long way and is generally a welcomed greeting.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2021

    Are four drive-thru lanes better than two?

    This new concept will be embraced by Taco Bell's customers, with a clear focus on speed, convenience and a frictionless (contactless) experience. I'd bet the next iteration will be along the lines of Wendy's recent news with Reef: delivery-only ghost kitchens.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2021

    Target may just be the best place to work in retail

    This is a transformative move for such a large retailer. Target has not just raised the bar, they've placed themselves into an entirely new category of what it means to be an employer of choice. I applaud the company for demonstrating servant leadership at scale, at a pivotal time in assessing the meaning of employee/employer relationships across every industry.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2021

    Kroger seeks to ghost up take-home and meal delivery sales with dark kitchens

    This is a solid strategic move for Kroger. After acquiring Home Chef three years ago, the demand for fresh prepared meals has only increased, with this ghost kitchen partnership perhaps signaling customer preferences are quickly evolving from "I'll prepare this kit at home" to "make my life that much easier by making the meal for me." In either case, this is a nice broadening of meal choices for the Kroger shopper, in turn strengthening customer loyalty and spend.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2021

    Will increasing mall traffic hit a speed bump due to the Delta variant?

    All 50 states are reporting a marked increase in daily vaccination rates, which is encouraging, and may moderate the impact of the Delta variant on shopper behavior. Given the pent up demand created by extended lockdowns, now that consumers are enjoying a sense of freedom and mobility, it's not likely we'll see meaningful pullback on foot traffic, even for enclosed malls. Mall operators should be more concerned with the accelerating long-term shift in shopper behavior to enclosed mall alternatives.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2021

    Dollar General tests combo DG Market/pOpshelf format

    This store-within-a-store strategy is a solid move for Dollar General and makes sense for the DG Market locations, given their larger footprint. The combined brands will offer DG Market customers a more interesting in-store experience, given pOpshelf focuses on continually-refreshed, seasonal merchandise -- the promise of something new and unexpected. The win-win is giving customers a reason to visit more frequently, while the pOpshelf offering drives larger basket size at higher margins - a great utilization of the real estate.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2021

    What’s holding consumers back from adopting AR/VR shopping tech?

    The evidence is pretty clear that consumers have embraced VR primarily for gaming, which makes great sense, both in its use case as well as the demographic. Broader adoption of AR/VR for e-commerce shopping, across age groups, will not only take much more time, it will likely always represent a small subset of shoppers. Lack of adoption can be attributed to the technologies being highly niche offerings, combined with absence of consumer awareness and absence of compelling reasons to use it -- as in, although it may be cool technology with long-term potential, it doesn't reduce customer effort. It is less about what's holding consumers back and more about there's simply no interest in it (clear need) -- at least for now.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2021

    Will a new digital platform create a must-join safe space for Athleta’s customers?

    I have several female friends who regularly shop Athleta, as do their friends, so it seems there is meaningful brand affinity and loyalty. The challenge for AthletaWell is these very same customers already have an active outdoor lifestyle, social well-being groups through their yoga studio, walking/biking groups and local fitness centers. Add in online platforms like Peloton and suddenly you're asking your customer to adopt yet one more fitness/lifestyle app or platform. The offering will need to be uniquely compelling and enduring to truly be a difference maker.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2021

    Kroger CEO says no one has the ‘data and insights’ that it has

    Kroger sits at the top of the pyramid when it comes to its national footprint of supermarket banners. As the largest operator in grocery, it sees more daily supermarket customer interactions than anyone, and by extension has curated the most significant set of consumer analytics, brand preference intelligence and buying behavior insights across the pure grocery retail spectrum. It is fascinating to witness these operators become as much of a technology/digital/data science platform as they are retailers.

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