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Local is the New Global – Using Customer Feedback to grow

November 17, 2017

Customer feedback - retail logistics

Sam Richardson

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Customer feedback is the data resource for monumental growth. Enjoy the interview in  page 14-16 of Ken Peterson, Managing Director, Nepa USA by Régine Smith, Director of Marketing, SurveyGizmo.

The Big Data and Analytics sub-sector is experiencing rapid growth, growing at a blistering pace. The aggregate amount of data available to retailers doubles every two years. Acquiring the insights that retailers need to find, target and retain their ideal customers used to be a problem. Now, marketers are tasked with sifting through the enormous amount of data. Big Data is just that, and the sheer amount makes it difficult not only to discern what’s valuable, but to discover what information might be missing or lost in the shuffle. Nepa is a relative newcomer to the Denver market. The company is a the pioneer of Consumer Science and help create companies with a data-driven and consumer oriented decision making – at all levels in a company. Today, we speak to Ken Peterson Managing Director US at Nepa, and get his input on the Big Data and the impact local retailers will soon see.

RS – Can you tell our readers a little about your organization?

KP – Nepa is one of the world’s leading provider of data-driven consumer insights, which has previously worked with retailers like H&M, Carlsberg, and Spotify. Today, Nepa has emerged as one of Europe’s fastest growing companies and is pioneering new approaches to combining customer feedback, panel data and online consumer behavior with point of sale information. We’re the leader in turning customer-focused “big data” into actionable insights that can have an immediate impact on a company’s bottom line.

RS – Big data and analytics have climbed to the top of the corporate agenda. What are the most exciting developments you have seen in the data insights industry?

KP –  You can’t invest thousands upon thousands and millions in real estate anymore. It’s now all about transportation and logistics, which is gonna be tricky because I think it’s transportation companies that are going to make a large amount of money off of the idea that local is the new global. If you want a pair of faded jeans and you can only find it one place that fit you just perfectly. Now you can get it anywhere in the world, and you can even get it shipped overnight while you’re traveling to a foreign location. It’s not a surprise to see a company like Amazon investing in warehouse in Denver because that’s now a distribution channel. It’s not about having physical locations; it’s about having a distribution system. So, a lot of what’s going to happen in retail is how you get it to people. It’s very different than what we did five years ago.

RS – Are these the types of changes you would like to see?

KP – It’s just gonna continue to evolve that way. So that the last thing people will have to think about on a day to day basis is: “Do I need to stop at this store?” If you think of where Starbucks started, and how long it took for them to achieve monumental growth. Now, a local company can grow quickly & globally because of all the resources that are available, and the biggest resource of it all is data. We’re going to start seeing a lot of niche businesses, needs-based industries, just blow up and expand because they now have the resources and the data to grow on a global level.

RS – What role do you see your organization playing in the future?

KP – I feel very fortunate in finding Nepa at the time that I found them, because I was working in the customer service industry for years; measuring customer satisfaction. What’s great about Nepa, is that we bring the power of a data science team of 300 people, to an individual organization and we help them ‘think’ globally.

RS – What’s the value of obtaining social data that is publicly available versus data that could be privately obtained?

KP – There’s always first party, second party and third-party data. We know what’s selling well and know what’s not selling well, and define that as a first-party data. Second-party data is some of the things that are obtained through a direct relationship with the customer. Then there’s the third-party data, which is collected through an external source. The biggest sources right now are customer experience feedback, behavior surveys, and social media, which I call sort of the unfiltered, true customer feedback. For the first twenty years, we asked: “Would you recommend?” Now with social media, our small voice can be heard by thousands of people. It’s amazing the response that we get for that experience when you post the complaints around Twitter. Social Media becomes a big part of the customer experience because people tell you how they felt about one interaction versus how they feel about the relationship as a whole. Social media is going to play a huge role. I’ve seen it already.

KP – Earlier this year Nepa was selected by Facebook as a partner firm in Facebook’s Marketing Mix Modeling Program. Nepa is one of very few that have access to more granular data from the world’s biggest social media network. This data helps us better identify and understand big differences in individual behaviors, geographical regions and different types of advertising. Together with first and second party data, we bring even more precise recommendations to our clients on how to manage their retail businesses more efficiently.

RS – With the surge of “fake news”, how do you see this impacting your ability to capture feedback?

KP – Customer feedback surveys are important. They’ll never disappear. I’ve been hearing for 18 years that customer surveys are going to disappear, but they won’t. Social media does have an impact. People respond to it. Customer experience is not just one transaction; it’s an accumulation. Its starts before a customer even leaves the house. Customer experience is the entire path. Part of that is the feedback mechanism which may be social media; in which customers can choose to praise a retailer or criticize them unfairly. You have to respond to it because people see it.

RS – I’m curious to see how far the idea of customizable user experiences will go. It’s a fascinating time to be part of this evolution.

KP – We are becoming so connected. I read something two days ago about a large retailer who won’t just deliver your groceries to your house, but will bring them in and put them away on the shelves for you.

RS – How has the move to Denver impacted your organization?

KP – The biggest impact is that it allows me to be central. Having a small group of people who are geographically dispersed, I can get to anywhere pretty quickly. But one of the greatest benefits is that there are so many burgeoning retail businesses here. Whether it’s a durable goods retailer, a consumer goods retailer or even a restaurant, there are so many businesses that are either starting in Colorado or growing in Colorado; we’re able to connect with them closely, quickly and easily. We’re at the heart of where retail is going to grow. It’s no longer going to grow in LA or NY. It’ll be here in Colorado.

About Ken Peterson

With a background in Mathematics and Operations Research, I have a passion for finding ways that companies can be more profitable through truly actionable insights in data. I have more than two decades of experience in the marketing research, retail and transportation industries with a recent focus on Big Data Business Insights, SaaS deployments and Consultation. This ties in with my long history of P&L responsibility and detailed understanding of improving business operations.

At Nepa, I am privileged to help our clients in retail, hospitality, technology, travel, sports and media better understand how to make use of the vast quantities of data that is now available.

PS. Why not download our eBook to learn how leading CX programs are integrating sales data, location data and other operational metrics to make CX insights more actionable at every level of the organization! DS


Ken Peterson, Managing Director, Nepa USA