Dr. Stephen Needel

Managing Partner, Advanced Simulations

Dr. Stephen Needel is Managing Partner of Advanced Simulations, based in Woodstock, Georgia, a suburb of 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.

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. He is a member of the American Marketing Association.

His international experience dovetails nicely with his appreciation of English beers, South American beef, Australian football, and Mexican chiles. He hopes to pass on these fondnesses to his two sons.

  • Posted on: 05/15/2018

    Should Starbucks acquire Blue Apron?

    I'm not sure the demand for meals is there at Starbucks, despite half the people wanting more food choices. Half the people anywhere will tell you they want more food choices. Pushing meals would be a fundamental change for Starbucks and one that would go against their current positioning.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2018

    7-Eleven Launches first augmented reality in-store experience

    I agree with Neil Saunders -- this may be a bit forced. The Pokémon experience was new and different -- once these types of promotions become more frequent expect them to be less effective, just like any other form of promotion becomes less impactful as it is repeated.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2018

    Uber isn’t going along on Walmart’s online grocery ride

    Whether it's wise to bring in-house or not is a financial decision, not a smart/dumb business move. Walmart needs to have home delivery of groceries if they want to play in that still relatively small space. If they have a cheaper way to do it that works as well as Uber or Lyft, more power to them.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2018

    Will shoppers go to Walmart to buy a car?

    It's not likely to increase visits or dwell time - I think people who are going to visit CarSaver will be focused on that. Might they do some shopping at the same time? Sure. Will it be an incremental trip with incremental purchases? Probably not. When I think car shopping, I don't know that I'd think Walmart.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2018

    Whole Foods to become a Prime perk for Amazon’s customers

    I agree with Paula - it's a nice perk for me as a Prime member and occasional shopper at Whole Foods. It sounds like rewarding 75 percent of your shoppers but it's unlikely to bring in a lot of new business.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2018

    Walgreens tests lower prices, membership savings

    You've got to love more value and convenience -- unless the switch cuts out your favorite products. I have four Walgreens stores near me. Three of them are within a hundred yards of a FedEx location and two are across the street from a Sprint store. I'm not sure this is adding much convenience or value. Lower prices will add value.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2018

    Kellogg’s advises CPGs to differentiate online

    Bear Naked is a great example of a product ripe for differentiation, customization and a higher price. My concern would be, how many products are there that fit this mold? As a shopper, I'm not looking to go to 30 or 40 different websites to do my weekly shopping (or even my monthly shopping). Unique products may well be worth D2C -- not so much for most of what we buy.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2018

    Is $119 too much to pay for an Amazon Prime membership?

    So we don't always long for the good old days, do we, Ben?
  • Posted on: 04/27/2018

    Is $119 too much to pay for an Amazon Prime membership?

    Of course there will be reluctance, but I'm betting the extra $20 per body will outweigh the losses from those who leave. It's unlikely that heavy users of Amazon Prime will leave, so you still have the long-term expected value of most of your base. Rivals can do what they want - they aren't going to beat Amazon at its own game.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2018

    CVS gets real without retouching in new beauty campaign

    So we all agree that "natural beauty" is of value. The question is whether this is going to sell more stuff at CVS. Yes, some women will hop on the band wagon started by Dove (Unilever). Will enough do so? Probably not because of the ad.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2018

    Walmart ditching khakis for jeans in dress code test

    I'm pretty sure I've never noticed they were wearing khakis, and I'm in WMT at least once a week. May say something about me or may say something about the low relevance of this part of the dress code. Steve M. is right -- key will be to easily identify an employee.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2018

    Meijer works to keep up with Kroger and Walmart with ‘Shop & Scan’ tech

    It will be years before it becomes the norm, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be working on it now -- we should. It has to be quick and it has to be convenient to shoppers for it to work. Often overlooked in discussions about this topic: how do you dispute a price? When it becomes the norm, front-ends will become smaller simply because they will not be as necessary. Good chains will make that reclaimed area a high-value selling zone.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2018

    Can food halls become retail’s new anchors?

    It sounds like this may be a uniqueness factor — it's something new and different. As it becomes less new and different, it's not going to drive traffic. I'm thinking fad.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2018

    Walgreens focuses on healthcare services in new store format

    I'm glad to see that Walgreens plans to pilot these initiatives rather than just roll them out -- the ideas are not obvious and could have significant expenses associated with them. I believe they need to be careful to not overdo the convenience option. Nobody is winning with "one-stop shopping" and if Walmart can't do it with their store sizes, it's unlikely that Walgreens will either.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Microsoft, Walmart and other brands play content police

    I don't think the definition of brand has changed -- but it is much easier to express our feelings about a brand and the company kept. The idea of boycott is not new -- people have been telling advertisers how they feel since TV was created and, I'm guessing, earlier than that for radio.

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