Arline Kramer, longtime DR marketer and “Product Queen” of Remarkable Products International, Inc., passed away suddenly on Monday night in Chicago, where she was attending the International Home + Housewares Show. She was 58.
Accepting online payments as a direct response business is appealing for many reasons, but if you are a new business owner with no prior payment processing knowledge, finding the right payment processor for you can seem like a daunting experience.
Let us take you through the basics of everything you need to know about payment processing from the payments ecosystem, understanding rates & fees, and finding the right payment processor for your business.
Television campaigns have long featured recurring characters, conventions and taglines. The reason is simple: in a world of infinite media clutter these devices help commercials rise to the top of the heap, arrest attention, and, when executed with the greatest deftness, entertain – all while advancing a brand and its message. From the ubiquity of Progressive Insurance’s Flo to the Chick-fil-A cows to the Energizer Bunny, today’s TV advertising landscape is riddled with examples of such repetition. How successful such customs are may very well be eye-of-the-beholder stuff, but in water cooler conversations that occur both literally and virtually, it is apparent that some are beloved, while others are loathed. This observation has led your Friday Forecast bloggers to ask: Why is this so? What makes some campaigns work and others send you scrambling for the mute button… if not the bathroom? Let’s take a closer look at two campaigns, one that we believe achieves this with the greatest poise and another; well, not so much.
Earlier this month the FTC released its annual summary of consumer complaints from its Consumer Sentinel Network. It also released a new Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book which you can find here. There is a lot that Direct Response marketers should know about this data release and the report itself. It is important to understand that the FTC and other consumer protection enforcers use this report, and the underlying data, as a sort of roadmap for future enforcement activity. So it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for it every year. It is a great tool to help you understand and predict future trends in the consumer enforcement arena.
In just six weeks, fitness direct marketer OYO Fitness – short for On Your Own Fitness – raised over $659,000 on Kickstarter, making it the second most successful fitness product in the history of the crowdfunding site. The success is a testimony to the product’s innovation and certainly the campaign itself, but it also speaks to the evolution of Kickstarter in general. Back in 2011, co-author Rick Petry (who, in the spirit of full disclosure also consults for the company) wrote a column in Electronic Retailer magazine entitled, “The New Mothers of Invention.” As he observed way back then, the site was used more commonly to fund endeavors “on the margins of commerciality – say a band’s new album or an unfinished documentary film...” In fact, at that time, Kickstarter specifically spelled out on its site that it was not intended for “As Seen On TV Products” owing, presumably, to their unabashed commerciality. How times have changed. Today Kickstarter has morphed into a marketplace and the ultimate consumer testing ground where the public gets to vote with their wallet as to whether or not they want to back and provide part of the economic engine that helps bring cool and innovative new products and product concepts to market.
Hello and greetings from my balcony overlooking the ocean here at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan. The view is so perfect I knew I had to include a picture of it or you would probably think that my claim was too good to be true. Anyway, it turns out that a little Caribbean vibe is very, very good for an ERA trade show like GIS 2017. First, if you don’t already know, the food in Old San Juan is just excellent. It exceeded every expectation and you have my strongest personal recommendation on that. Second, it is also clear that a little Puerto Rican Rum can serve as a great accelerant. The parties at this show had a little extra energy and island vibe that is impossible to replicate anywhere else in the world.
The education panelists were also just absolutely incredible at this year’s show. I mean people where literally leaving my onsite GA committee meeting early to go hear the speakers. So props and congratulations to the team that worked so hard to bring Dean Gaziosi, Brendon Burchard, Frank Kern, Alex Moore and the other rock star speakers down to visit with us. From now on I am going to make sure my committee meetings don’t conflict with ERA’s education. It’s just hard to compete with celebrities like that.
Thinking back over the week there were some interesting Government Affairs discussions that I want to update you on.
According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of the seminal marketing treatise, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, there is one weapon of influence that works in every culture and in every corner of the globe. What is it you may wonder? Reciprocity.
Greetings from Puerto Rico! I am currently conferencing here in San Juan at the Caribe Hilton for ERA’s signature Great Ideas Summit 2017. If you couldn’t make the trip we are sending you good vibes and sunshine and hope you can be with us next time.
Examining eCommerce & Mobile Payments in Europe’s Largest Markets
Collectively, the European eCommerce market is substantially bigger than that of the US and Canada, with nearly 100 million more shoppers. However, despite their proximity to one another, there is a great range of diversity among those consumers—diversity that would be missed by a collective examination.
By comparing several of Europe’s largest eCommerce markets and their relationship to developing payment technologies, merchants and industry figures can piece together a much clearer picture.
Like the proverbial cobbler’s children with no shoes, too many businesses in the direct marketing business have no business doing their own marketing. It’s a strange paradox: companies that do a brilliant job of elevating the campaigns of others, often fail to buoy their own prospects. They are guilty of the 7 Deadly Sins of B2B Marketing, which undermine their ambitions at every turn. To understand how these worst practices can work against a company, let’s be clear about what the purpose of B2B marketing is: to initiate a conversation. Assuming we have agreement on that matter then, let’s examine this blight in more detail and what one can do to remedy it.
At last year’s super successful GA Fly-In, ERA stormed Capitol Hill in search of relief from the Obama Administration’s Operation Choke Point initiative. There attendees heard from our keynote presenter Chairman Pete Session (R-TX) of the House Rules Committee who enlightened the industry about the legislation to curb the scope of the Department of Justice’s “Operation Choke Point” efforts. We then met with key staffers from the offices of Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) responsible for the Operation Choke Point mitigation efforts in the US Senate.
After our briefings, we walked the halls of Congress to advocate for the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act (H.R. 766) in the House and its mirror companion legislation in the Senate (S. 2790). These critical pieces of legislation where our best hope to ensure that ERA and its members continued to enjoy a world class payment ecosystem as regulators in the Obama Administration looked at ways to cut processing for those they deemed to be “bad actors”.
So what’s up with Operation Choke Point now that President Trump is in office? I am glad someone recently asked me that question and I thought I would share with you the answer in the blog post below.
“Fake news” is a term batted around on a daily basis in and on what is – purportedly – “the news.” According to a report released last year by the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of American adults access news on social media, and an astounding 66 percent of Facebook users turn to the popular platform for their news. Yet who among us hasn’t fallen for the fake obituary post or wondered whether that privacy warning to Facebook cut and pasted by one of their friends is an act worth repeating or evidence of that friend’s gullibility?
Last click. Sounds good, right? A simple answer to a complex problem. Well, it is good, but only for those who get the commission every time regardless of the merchant’s perspective on whose influence best aligns with their strategy. Attribution has long been an issue for this reason, mostly due to the lack of proper tools and practices that can help attribute the sale appropriately without deferring to an oversimplified and often strategically flawed solution.
While this problem rears its ugly head in many different subsets of affiliate marketing, let’s take a look at the Site-to-Store approach, which leverages the connection between online or mobile shopping and in-store purchasing while minimizing the last click issue.
From the ABA Antitrust Section bi-annual Consumer Protection Conference in Atlanta, Acting FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen made her first keynote address in her newly elevated roll. To the backdrop of playful beluga whales in the ballroom of the Atlanta Aquarium, she outlined three consumer protection priorities she will put in force during her time in the driver’s seat.
The Electronic Retailing Association is excited to announce our newest member, Evine– a company that is pushing the boundaries of retail, merging entertainment, education and community to create a multiplatform video commerce experience.
Evine leverages digital platforms, including television, online and mobile, to create an immersive shopping experience centered around video commerce. Visitors can discover an exciting array of exclusive, proprietary and name brands and products, including Paula Deen, Vanessa Williams, Donny Osmond, Waterford Crystal, Beekman 1802, CoverFX and more. Highlighting the creators and designers behind the products, Evine is able to bring the brands’ stories to life using video as their primary vehicle.
“Evine is an extraordinary company that has quickly burgeoned into a major new force in our industry. We are extremely proud to welcome Evine to our association,” said Chris Reinmuth, President and CEO of Electronic Retailing Association.
President Trump just promoted FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. ERA and our member companies look forward to working with him in the years ahead to ensure our country has good public policy solutions that move our nation forward.
While congratulations are in order for Chairman Pai and we wish good luck with the new role, there is one little problem with this appointment that must be pointed out. It turns out that Commissioner Pai is something of an amateur gardener. While a noble pastime, gardening can also be tricky and caution should be encouraged for a man with such an important new role. In fact, from all of the reports I have seen to date, it is clear that Commissioner Pai should resist his green thumb urges and leave all of the weed whacking to the professional gardeners at least until the conclusion of his time at the FCC.
This week our Friday Forecast appears on Tuesday so that we can dive into the water cooler talk du jour: the annual battle for supremacy known as the Super Bowl and its attendant commercial advertising.
Politics took center stage this year, yet amid our national disunity, the focus was on themes of inclusion, diversity, and commonality. These motifs were delivered with a range of approaches that varied from broad humor to thought provoking poignancy. From immigration to pot legalization, gender politics to religious differences, the full gamut of our political zeitgeist was on display. And yet for all of it, nothing was overtly controversial, mirroring halftime entertainer Lady Gaga’s decision to play it down the middle. While some might consider the approach largely bland or uninspired, we would argue that it was just the kind of feel good balm this country needed as it took a break from ceaseless infighting to gather together and applaud what has become the quintessential American unofficial holiday and celebration (smarting Falcon fans aside).
Welcome to the Friday Forecast
The so-called anchor store, which has been a mainstay of shopping malls across America since the centers first made their appearance in the mid-1950s, is in serious jeopardy. Although brick and mortar retails sales still eclipse ecommerce by a wide margin, the lion’s share of growth in retail sales is occurring online:
- According to eMarketer, domestic sales for 2016 are forecasted at nearly $5 trillion. However, retail ecommerce accounted for just 8.7% of total retail spending.
- However, while year-to-year retail growth was pegged at 3.3%, year-to-year ecommerce growth was 14% according to a forecast from Kiplinger.
While ecommerce continues its inexorable march to a bigger bite of the overall retail pie, department stores have been taking it on the chin. While Macy’s is currently the fifth largest ecommerce retailer with $4.8 billion in online sales, the department store chain recently announced the closure of 68 stores by mid-year with plans to close 30 more over the next few years. Those closures represent a loss of approximately 10,000 jobs.
Last week I was pumping up the Trump Administration for identifying Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes as a potential Chair of the FTC along with FTC Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen as the favorite for acting FTC chair. Both are seasoned consumer protection pros who would do a great job.
Today congratulations are in order with Commissioner Ohlhausen having been appointed as the acting Chair of the Federal Trade Commission. As I noted last week, I feel a lot better about the FTC with this development. Commissioner Ohlhausen needs no introduction to ERA having given us a speech in 2013 and again visiting with us for a fireside chat with Ed Glynn in 2015.
Unfortunately for the President this excellent move at the FTC might be the only thing he got right last week. It was a rocky road on a number of other fronts. The administration was panned for its botched handling of executive orders on the immigration travel ban and it’s restructuring of the National Security apparatus. These developments sucked up a lot of media attention and distracted everyone from another key story that we are keeping an eye on for ERA members. That’s why I wanted to take this opportunity and tell you about the very real possibility that we might soon be experiencing the Trump Trade Wars.
In 2017, in addition to its case work, the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) worked towards creating greater visibility for the program and continued to seek out new opportunities for advertising self-regulation.
Last year, ERSP attended several events and webinars, including LeadsCon Las Vegas, the Republican Attorneys General Association’s ERC Meeting, Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) Annual Conference, DSA Business & Policy Conference 2016, ERA’s Government Affairs Committee, ERA’s Great Ideas Summit and D2C Convention, and Social Media Week NYC. ERSP also hosted its annual Summit in May, which was highlighted by a one-on-one interview with FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny and remarks from the Commission’s Director of Marketing Practices, Lois Greisman.
Welcome to the First - Friday Forecast
Direct marketing veterans Colleen Ferrier and Rick Petry have teamed up and will be providing a weekly insight each Friday here on the ERA blog. Together, we’ll examine a current trend and discuss its potential implications for society and the marketing community. We know you are busy, so we will offer succinct, topical insights that can be read in four minutes or less.
First up: ARE ‘ALTERNATIVE FACTS’ AN EXTREME FORM OF SALES PUFFERY?
I have some incredible news to share with you. Recent reports suggest that President-elect Donald Trump is considering Sean Reyes as the next chairman of the FTC. Currently he is the attorney general of Utah.
You may recall Attorney General Reyes’ keynote at the 2015 ERA Government Affairs Fly-In where he got a standing ovation from our attendees. He also had a memorable visit to last year’s D2C conference in Las Vegas where he joined a panel of legal experts to talk about self-regulation.
Consumers have grown accustomed to using smartphones just about everywhere. Well, everywhere except at the checkout. Only 9 percent of consumers use a mobile payment at the point of sale when it’s available, according to a new study from marketing firm Placeable. And perhaps even more surprisingly, four out of 10 Americans have not made a single purchase using a mobile wallet.
From the absence of a consistent user experience, to capabilities that fall short of consumer expectations, numerous issues stand in the way of a top notch mobile shopping experience. But advancements in the mobile payments space, mainly the introduction of digital credentials, may soon change that. By enabling consumers to bring along digital versions of their ID, license, passport or health cards wherever they may go, digital credentials are helping both consumers and retailers overcome gaps in a seamless user experience.
In fact, this emerging technology promises to change the way today's shoppers and retailers, interact with one another – especially at point of sale. Here’s a look at how digital credentials will impact retail in the new year.
Last year, right before Christmas, a big thing happened that you really need to know about.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined the review of a case that requires marketers to either collect sales tax for purchases made by people in Colorado or report on customer’s purchases to the state.
The industry has been fighting against this outcome since 2011 when the DMA filed suit in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl. ERA along with its partners in the True Simplification of Taxation (TruST) coalition strongly supported this effort filing and Amicus Brief in support.
However, all the appeals have been exhausted so now Colorado will want you to report.
Here is what you need to know to get ready:
Advertisers know that with the ubiquity of the Internet, that the balance of power has shifted from marketer to consumer, as the latter now engage with brands how, where, and when they want. But if there was one overriding trend to trump all others at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show which ended last week in Las Vegas, it was the idea that through evolving technologies, that choice and control will empower consumers to whole new levels in the coming years. In the simplest terms, tailoring experiences – whether they be in terms of entertainment, security, household chores, or transportation -- will increasingly be subject to the tastes and whims of the individual, and in many cases, the smartphone will play a central role. Here are five examples of such technology due to take broader hold in the marketplace and the opportunities and threats they may represent to marketers.