Profile: Stephen Bettencourt, Director of Consumer Insights and Business Analytics, Stop & Shop

A college course helped set Stephen Bettencourt on a path to his current career. In his undergraduate program, a marketing research class really resonated with him. Then when Bettencourt graduated, he targeted companies with entry-level research positions and eventually got hired by Hill Holliday Advertising in Boston. He started at the bottom and worked his way up across several companies, including Hill Holliday, Arnold Worldwide, Bank of America, The Hershey Co. and now Stop & Shop supermarkets.

Describe your current role.

BETTENCOURT: My team helps guide the company by being the voice of the consumer in our decision-making as well as with measuring the impact and the success of the initiatives we implement. Our goal is to provide timely feedback and recommendations to our senior leaders, so the company can stay attuned to shoppers’ needs as it continues to develop and refine its strategy, positioning and offerings.

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How do insights, analytics and data fit into your organization?

BETTENCOURT: Our company has built a culture around our shoppers, and making informed decisions based on shoppers’ perceptions, attitudes, behaviors and needs. We have a seat at the table for important meetings that affect marketing, merchandising, operations, strategy and our overall brand. We are often brought in early in the process to help provide the background and be a guiding force in the development of new initiatives, when enhancing existing offerings, or when measuring the impact of current programs.

What emerging technology and techniques does your team leverage at Stop & Shop?

BETTENCOURT: To help us stay closely aligned with shoppers’ emotions and behaviors, we use methods that help us achieve a deeper level of understanding, such as eye tracking with galvanic skin testing, facial coding and heat mapping. These are in addition to more traditional qualitative and quantitative methods.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

BETTENCOURT: I really enjoy being able to use our shoppers’ feedback to influence decision-making at Stop & Shop. It feels great when you see an offering changed, a communication enhanced or a feature evolved to meet shoppers’ needs, go into final production and become available to the public. Then, ultimately you close the loop with getting feedback on how they like the changes and what else we could do to meet their needs. It is a continuous cycle of listening and evolving.


BETTENCOURT: Stop & Shop has remodeled stores in Connecticut and on Long Island. Based on shopper feedback and consumer trends, Stop & Shop has created a bright, modern, open and easy-to-shop environment that offers the freshest perishables and expanded prepared foods, such as stir fry stations, taco bars and fresh smoked meats. Shoppers are overwhelmingly positive about the changes and visit these stores more often.