Dr. Stephen Needel

Managing Partner, Advanced Simulations

Dr. Stephen Needel is Managing Partner of Advanced Simulations, based in Atlanta. He formed and now manages an international company responsible for bringing virtual reality simulations to bear on retailing, marketing, and consumption issues from a research perspective.

Prior to starting ASL, Dr. Needel was President of Simulation Research, where he brought the concept of using virtual reality technology to the everyday marketing research world. Dr. Needel held the position of Vice President for Product Development at A.C. Nielsen, where he developed new techniques for integrating and analyzing retail scanner data and household purchasing data. He has also been a Vice President of Analytical Services at Nielsen after coming from their competitor, Information Resources, where he led a team doing advanced analytical research from IRI’s BehaviorScan market testing system. Earlier jobs included analytical roles at Burke Marketing Research and Quaker Oats as well as being an adjunct faculty member at the University of Connecticut.

Originally a native of the Boston, Dr. Needel came to the business community with a B. A. in Psychology from The American University and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Connecticut.

His international experience dovetails nicely with his appreciation of English beers, South American beef, Australian football, and Mexican chilies. He’s proud to have passed on this set arcane tastes to his son.

  • Posted on: 12/02/2021

    Is Amazon gouging its marketplace sellers?

    If the problem is that they can't make enough money selling through Amazon, then they need a new business plan. You pay a price for utilizing Amazon's audience and its fulfillment system. If you don't like the percentage, go elsewhere.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2021

    Who will win the first RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge?

    I'm voting for Kohl's -- positive message nicely executed. Macy's ad, while a good story, doesn't have much to do with Macy's -- it could have been anyone. And notice no one's wearing a mask walking through the airport or getting ready to board. Could have been a bit more sensitive to the travel experience of these times.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2021

    Is Small Business Saturday losing steam?

    It's the latter -- preoccupied with other concerns. Small business initiatives should continue and surveys are not the way to measure interest in spending at small/local business, sales are.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2021

    What caused the thin Black Friday traffic?

    It's not either/or, it's both and more! Greater acceptance of online shopping, supply chain concerns getting us to shop earlier, and a lack of doorbuster deals, all combined.
  • Posted on: 11/24/2021

    Will fans visit Nike in the metaverse?

    Didn't we already play this game with Second Life? And wasn't that a crash-and-burn moment? Great idea if it costs Nike nothing - otherwise, I'm wondering who they think will do this and why it will monetize.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2021

    Should Macy’s de-omnify?

    No - it should not consider this. The brand is Macy's, not Macy's digital nor Macy's brick-and-mortar. Splitting them is going to mess with that brand and remove the seamless experience that omnichannel has striven for.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2021

    CVS to close stores and create new formats in health push

    Closing stores should be less of a deal than the media is making it. We've said in this forum for years that there are too many drug stores out there. I have five within a few miles of me - one or two would be sufficient. I'm not sure leadership models make that much difference, nor do I think all three formats are going to thrive - I'm still very skeptical about mental health clinics as a big business opportunity. But to their credit, they are trying different things and that's never bad.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2021

    What’s driving shoppers to Amazon?

    The '60s radical in me wants to not love Amazon, but gee - all of the top four resonate. I'm not sure if these have changed, but they certainly have helped it become as big and as popular as it is. If they can fix the shipping time problem (a recent issue for me), I'll really be happy.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2021

    Will working from home hurt women’s career advancement?

    It's not positive or negative - it depends on the company and on the individual. Some business can be done well at home, some can't. Some people (women or men) work well at home, some don't. It's not a gender issue, it's not a promotion issue, unless a company or a worker makes it one.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2021

    Will paid perks pay off for Williams Sonoma?

    I'm sure there are people who love Williams Sonoma, shop there all the time, and will love this program. But it's a program that likely rewards only its most loyal and frequent customers, not an enticement to new or lighter shoppers.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2021

    Instacart wants ‘to make online grocery shopping more affordable’

    There are numerous barriers to ordering groceries online. 1.) You need to plan for your order or pay way too much for near-instant delivery. 2.) You need some flexibility in products given availability. 3.) You need to trust your picker to pick fresh products (I know there are return policies but after numerous returns, people may be done with the process). 4.) You need prices that are in-line (not identical) with your local grocery stores. 5.) You need to be willing to pay a delivery/processing fee - nobody is doing this for free. 6.) You need to be able to get all the deals that you would get in-store. So yes, adding coupons is a good thing and no, 60 percent of offline transactions probably don't include a coupon.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2021

    Should retailers take prices higher?

    Keep prices reasonable and in relation to each other, but don't take the full hit yourself as a retailer. Everyone is expecting prices to rise a bit, so let them rise a bit. As Paula says, private label opportunity time, perhaps.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2021

    What’s really behind Facebook’s rebrand to Meta?

    This was a good time to lay low and be quiet. Zuckerberg can't see beyond his own ambition.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2021

    Should brands and retailers stop destroying unsold merchandise?

    I would have thought a smart marketer could have done an "Oops" campaign (like Cap'n Crunch did for years) and turned this into something positive.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2021

    How disruptive is the rapid delivery model to grocery?

    We will set expectations, the expectations won't be met, the business will tank. We just don't need things that fast. Grocers should keep an eye on it, but I'm more skeptical -- especially when the pandemic ends. With the cost of groceries going up and up, I don't think shoppers are looking to pay more.

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