Running Down Amazon’s New Return Policy & Why It’s Not the Disaster Retailers Expect

by Monica Eaton-Cardone on Sep 25, 2017 11:27:47 AM e-Commerce, Retail

Amazon Marketplace sellers are in an uproar over the retail giant’s return policy. Some are going as far as to claim that new rules, which take effect October 2, will “crush” small businesses and force them out of the market.

With all the confusion and anger about these policy changes, I wanted to take this opportunity to look at them more closely. What are these new rules all about, and are they really the doomsday prophecy so many retailers are predicting?

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Friday Forecast: Principles of Influence Part 3: Scarcity as a Motivator

by Rick Petry on Sep 22, 2017 10:58:26 AM Consumer Behavior

Note: This is the third in a series of six blog posts being featured in the coming weeks and months based on principles found in Dr. Robert Cialdini’s seminal psychology book entitled Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. It is essential reading for any marketer.

The scarcity principle recognizes two powerful impulses that drive the human condition: 1) that people want what they can’t have; and 2) that as soon as someone is told something is unavailable, they tend to want it even more.

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66 Percent of Americans Oppose the Internet Sales Tax

by Bill McClellan on Sep 20, 2017 3:10:56 PM Government Relations

It has been a super busy summer here at ERA. There has been lots going on at the FTC, with our self-regulation program ERSP, and with Congress (believe it or not).

In preparation for the 2017 ERA D2C Convention at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, I wanted to make sure that you do not forget about the Online Sales Tax issue in all the excitement.

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What Does The Internet Have To Do With It? EVERYTHING

by Arielle Jessel on Sep 18, 2017 2:43:49 PM Digital Marketing

The internet isn’t just something that affects our social lives, although many people still look at it that way. Yes, we’ve changed the way we connect on a monumental scale, implementing tools like email to instantly get in touch with each other and using platforms like Facebook and Instagram to share the daily happenings of our lives. However, there’s so much more than just the extracurricular moments. There's the socialization aspect that happens after the bells of real life ring.

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Friday Forecast: VisionWorx CEO Nancy Duitch Reveals 5 Fast Takeaways From a Lifetime of Learning

by Rick Petry on Sep 15, 2017 11:19:21 AM Digital Marketing, Brand Marketing

This is the first of an occasional series featuring direct marketing leaders who will share five key insights they have learned from their career in marketing and advertising.

Recently your Friday Forecaster sat down with Visionworx CEO and ERA member Nancy Duitch, a 30 veteran of direct marketing who has worked on both the client and agency side, generating over $3 billion in Omni-Channel sales. We asked her to consider five key insights she could share with our audience based upon a lifetime of learning.

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Trump’s Data Breach Dilemma

by Bill McClellan on Sep 13, 2017 12:01:16 PM Government Relations

Elizabeth Dexheimer and Jesse Hamilton over at Bloomberg just wrote an excellent article on the Equifax hack that I wanted to draw your attention to.

Entitled “Equifax’s Seismic Breach Tests Trump’s Pledge to Dismantle Rules,” it points out an important dilemma facing the Trump Administration with potential ramifications for direct response marketers.

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Friday Forecast: Push and Pull Marketing in the Omni-Channel Age

by Rick Petry on Sep 8, 2017 3:25:01 PM Brand Marketing, Consumer Behavior, Advertisements

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Checking Up on CAN-SPAM

by Annie H. Lee on Sep 6, 2017 12:40:40 PM Government Relations

Many may not remember this, but there was a time when spam emails ruled the (inbox) world. The content of such emails ranged from irrelevant to inappropriate, subject headings were often misleading, and trying to figure out how to unsubscribe would be like trying to figure out how to avoid Game of Thrones spoilers.

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Friday Forecast: Principles of Influence Part 2: The Law of Reciprocity

by Rick Petry on Sep 1, 2017 1:37:40 PM Consumer Behavior

Note: This is the second in a series of six blog posts in the coming weeks and months based on principles found in Dr. Robert Cialdini’s seminal psychology book entitled Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. It is essential reading for any marketer.

The law of reciprocity says that if you do something for someone, they feel indebted to you. It is a human impulse that is universal and exists in every culture across the globe. Allow me to illustrate the point: If you shop at Costco, see if this sounds familiar.

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Advisory: Free Trials, Automatic Renewals & the Road Ahead

by Bill McClellan on Aug 30, 2017 12:01:34 PM Government Relations

Recently, a highly placed source in the “know” forwarded me an excellent blog post from Leslie Fair entitled: FTC uses ROSCA to challenge risky “risk-free trials”. It was the type of back channel message that we sometimes get working on behalf of the industry. The message was clear, this is an issue that is going to get a lot of government attention very soon.

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Roadkill on the Path to the Future

by Rick Petry on Aug 28, 2017 1:41:21 PM Consumer Behavior

“Please don’t hire anyone else.” This was the plea of a colleague many years ago when I traveled north from California to Oregon to a production company known as Tyee. Tasked with building a media planning and buying arm, my job was to transform the business into a full-fledged advertising agency. As someone whose ambition was intent on growth, I was, needless to say, taken aback by this comment. The person making the appeal wanted things to be the way they used to be, when the organization, led by a handful of partners, was small and family-like. This individual was opposed to the one thing that we all know is constant: change.

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Good News For Direct Response Marketers: Operation Choke Point is Dead

by Bill McClellan on Aug 23, 2017 9:00:00 AM Government Relations

I have big news to share with you and it is great for the industry. The Justice Department has formally ended its Operation Choke Point efforts. That is a huge win for ERA, the industry, and all of the folks who took a stand against the Department of Justice on this issue over the years.

After extensively blogging on this issue dating back to the summer of 2014, I can tell you that this has been a long time coming. Since that summer, we have blogged on the dangers of Operation Choke Point a total of 24 times.

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A Glimpse Into the Future for Direct Response Marketers

by Bill McClellan on Aug 20, 2017 10:01:00 AM Government Relations

It is a new world with new rules of the road. The future is hazy and unclear. Our fast-paced panel, “A Glimpse Into the Future,” at the 2017 Government Affairs Fly-In explored how the changes in government will evolve in our industry and affect your bottom line. So what does the future hold for direct response marketers navigating this new terrain?

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Friday Forecast: Principles of Influence Part 1: The Power of Liking

by Rick Petry on Aug 18, 2017 3:08:26 PM Consumer Behavior

Note: This will be the first in a series of six blog posts in the coming weeks and months based on principles found in Dr. Robert Cialdini’s seminal psychology book entitled Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. It is essential reading for any marketer.

“Liking” is a powerful motivator when it comes to transacting business – and life. In the simplest terms, people do business with people they like.

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State Consumer Protection and Enforcement in an ERA of Federal Deregulation

by Bill McClellan on Aug 14, 2017 9:52:55 AM Government Relations

As the Trump Administration promises less regulation on businesses, states stand ready to fill any enforcement void left at the federal level. One of the big questions on everyone’s minds at the 2017 Government Affairs Fly-In was, what can we expect to see in the next four years?

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Friday Forecast: 'TV Everywhere': The Third Era of TV Has Arrived

by Rick Petry on Aug 11, 2017 10:39:05 AM Consumer Behavior

An article in Barron’s published this last weekend entitled “TV’s Sports Problem” contained this startling forecast: that by 2020, Google and YouTube parent Alphabet, Facebook, and Amazon could have $100 billion in free cash flow in their coffers on a combined basis, compared to $30 billion for broadcasters ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. That means the online marketers will have more than three times the amount of money to bid for sports rights, and to create original programming to compete with conventional television channels.

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What Does Your Payment Process Say About Your Business?

by Bill McClellan on Aug 6, 2017 10:00:00 AM Customer Service

Sales are up, and so is fraud. Many credit card processors are still using antiquated systems which could hurt your business. Make sure to research prospective processors wisely so you don’t get trapped in a long-term, expensive contract with a processor who uses outdated equipment and gives poor customer support.

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Friday Forecast: Amazon's Change in Returns Policy: It's a Package Deal

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Aug 4, 2017 1:32:37 PM e-Commerce

E-commerce giant Amazon created an uproar this week when CNBC reported that the online retailer was making changes to its returns policy that would dramatically affect marketplace sellers.

According to the report, sellers doing their own fulfillment would now be subject to the same return policies as those shipping products via the company’s Fulfillment by Amazon service.

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Friday Forecast: Buh-Bye Coke Zero: A Case of Zero Recall or Shrewd Move?

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jul 28, 2017 10:53:34 AM Consumer

For over 35 years now “New Coke” has been used as a textbook example of a bad business decision and a public relations debacle. Recall that in 1985, after 15 years of eroding sales, the Coca-Cola Company decided to reformulate Coca-Cola and introduce “New Coke” to the marketplace, a supposedly superior tasting product that would help reinvigorate the brand. Consumers rebelled, hoarding the original formulation, and vehemently protesting the corporation’s decision. After 89 days, the old drink – now dubbed “Coca-Cola Classic” was brought back and marketed beside the new entrant until, over time, the latter died off from American store shelves along with the controversy that surrounded it.

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Back That Claim Up! Examining Claim Substantiation

by Bill McClellan on Jul 27, 2017 3:28:36 PM Advertisements

How do we maintain trust in advertising in a time of increased skepticism of the media? One way is through claim substantiation. During the 2017 ERSP Self-Regulation Summit held in conjunction with the Government Affairs Fly-In in Washington, D.C., our panel of advertising lawyers weighed in on how to navigate the complex world of claim substantiation.

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Friday Forecast: Is Bias Infecting Your Marketing Efforts?

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jul 21, 2017 11:01:25 AM Brand Marketing, Social Media

Amid our hazy summer of discontent, accusations of bias are everywhere. From charges of prejudicial news reporting, to the suppression of free speech on campuses, to one-sided social media screeds, the human tendency to lean into the views we agree with has become increasingly commonplace. In a world that is awash with a glut of information, the instinct to sort through and locate data that aligns with our preconceived notions acts as a kind of shortcut that allows one to separate the proverbial wheat from the chafe.

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What’s Telemarketing Got to Do with It?

by Bill McClellan on Jul 19, 2017 9:41:28 AM Advertisements, Consumer Protection

Let’s travel back in time to the 90’s when the majority of lead generators were small sales floors. Fast forward to 2017 and you can probably list off the timing and location of when and where you received your last five robocalls.

This is something you can thank online lead generation for according to Lois C. Greisman, associate director, Division of Marketing Practices, Federal Trade Commission (FTC). She says that by visiting websites and filling out your information, you could be placed on every call list available.

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Friday Forecast: Amazon Prime Day Proves the Power of Scarcity

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jul 14, 2017 10:34:06 AM Consumer Behavior, Consumer Impression

It was the day after Christmas when one of your Friday Forecasters started canvassing a table of Jim Shore holiday figurines that were priced at half-off in the cellar at Macy’s. No other shoppers were paying any attention whatsoever to the display until your faithful narrator started setting some boxes aside indicating purchase intent. Soon, like moths to a flame, the table was surrounded by like-minded individuals who engaged in a kind of feeding frenzy, jockeying amongst one another for the remaining spoils.

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California Advertising: Automatic Renewal & Continuous Service Offers

by Bill McClellan on Jul 13, 2017 3:20:04 PM Advocacy

As you know, ERA has a laser focus on advocating before the Federal Trade Commission, Congress, and the like on your behalf. Due to the nature of the issues the association engages with, it's rare that a state legislative issue rises to the forefront and creates material risk for industry participants around the country. California’s engagement on CAN-SPAM in the early 2000's was an exception to this general rule. However, there is now another California bill, SB 313, that rises to that level. It could potentially have far reaching global implications that you should know about and follow.

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Friday Forecast: What Collecting Vinyl May Also Say About the Future of Retail

by Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry on Jul 7, 2017 9:19:45 AM Retail

According to a recent forecast from Credit Suisse, some 8,640 brick-and-mortar store fronts may close this year in the U.S. alone. We’re talking mainline brands such as Kmart, JC Penney, The Limited, Macy’s, Payless ShoeSource, Radio Shack, and the list goes on, representative of some 147 million square feet. That’s more than the historical peak of 6,200 storefronts that were a casualty of 2008’s Great Recession. A combination of over-building and, more importantly, consumers’ increasing appetite for e-commerce is creating a retail tumbleweed effect akin to Walmart moving in and blowing out every mom-and-pop operation lined up on Main Street U.S.A.

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The statements, opinions, and advertisements expressed on the ERA Blog and other online entities owned by the Electronic Retailing Association are those of individual authors and companies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Electronic Retailing Association.