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Herb Sorensen is a preeminent authority on observing and measuring shopping behavior and attitudes within the four walls of the store. He has worked with Fortune 100 retailers and consumer packaged-goods manufacturers for more than 40 years, studying shopper behavior, motivations, and perceptions at the point of purchase. Sorensen's methods are helping to revolutionize retail-marketing strategies from a traditional "product-centric" perspective to a new "shopper-centric" focus. As Baseline magazine commented, "Herb Sorensen and Paco Underhill are the yin and yang of observational research."
Herb has conducted studies in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. His research has been published in AMA's Marketing Research, The Journal of Advertising Research, FMI Advantage Magazine, Progressive Grocer, and Chain Drug Review. He has also been utilized as an expert source for The Wall Street Journal Supermarket News, and BusinessWeek. Herb appeared on the television show Dr. Oz as an expert on the movement of the eyes as part of the shopping process. Additionally, he is currently a panelist of Retail Wire's "Brain Trust" and blogs at shopperscientist.com.
Herb's career intertwines the world of science with the world of business. His Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California at Davis, 1970, resulted in publications ranging from metabolism, to chemical and electron structures. He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry. In 1972 he launched a food laboratory, specializing in nutrition, safety, and HACCP quality programs.
His second company, Sorensen Associates, "The In-store Research Company," grew at an annualized rate of nearly 30% from 1979-2009. In the 90s a mentor, Bob Stevens of P&G, encouraged a sharper focus on "assessment in context." This led to the invention and patenting of PathTracker, a second-by-second method of electronically studying shopper behavior in stores. Early on, PathTracker enjoyed mentoring and advice from Peter Fader, and Herb shared in the honor of the AMA's EXPLOR award in 2007, with Fader and his group at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania.
In 2004 Fast Company Magazine named Herb one of its top 50 innovators. In 2013, he received the Charles Coolidge Parlin Marketing Research Award, "honoring distinguished academics and practitioners who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and sustained impact on the evolving profession of marketing research over an extended period." In receiving this prestigious award, Sorensen joined other marketing research legends such as Robert Wood Johnson, Peter Drucker, Arthur C. Nielsen, George Gallup, August A. Busch III, Paul E. Green, John A. Howard, Philip Kotler, Robert J. Lavidge, and Jagdish Sheth.
Globalization of Herb's work expanded when he sold his company to TNS/Kantar and published the first edition of Inside the Mind of the Shopper and through affiliation with the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia as an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow. Herb is collaborating with Mark Heckman on Accelerated Merchandising, increasing sales and profits through shopper efficiency.