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.
In 2002, psychologist Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. As Michael Lewis writes in his new book, The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, this was unprecedented because “how on earth does a psychologist win a Nobel Prize in economics?” The answer is that Kahenman was a pioneer in the field now known as “behavioral economics.” Specifically, his work focused on the psychology of judgment and decision-making.
Kahneman would surely have shared his Nobel with Amos Tversky, his lifelong collaborator, had Tversky not died of cancer in 1996. (The award is not given posthumously.) Kahneman and Tversky spent decades disproving the idea that humans are rational decision-makers. They initially identified three mental shortcuts, or “heuristics,” people use in place of logic and reason. Many more have since been discovered.
One of the benefits of ERA membership is that we provide educational opportunities that are unmatched in the direct-to-consumer industry.
Marketing Maven, one of ERA’s long-time supporters, is continuing its social media webinar series to help you take the next step with your social media campaign. ERA’s Membership Committee and Digital Council are co-sponsoring the one-hour webinars.
Following is the full list of 2017 webinars.
It’s been a “Yuge” year so far.
Last week I shared a “beautiful” cheat sheet to help Direct Response Marketers survive the Trump era and this week I’ve got something better.
What you might ask?
Well the only thing that can trump that would be the inside scoop straight from the FTC. That’s why I reached out to my friend and long-time FTC insider Lesley Fair. She agreed to visit with ERA’s Government Affairs Committee to tell us “what’s really going on” so you can do a safety dance.
Thankfully the FTC agreed to the visit as well. That’s why we love the Federal Trade Commission (and you should, too!).
With a new year upon us, it’s time to examine what is on the horizon for online retail. Where will the eCommerce environment lead us in 2017? What emerging technologies will prove to alter the way in which we conduct business? What practices are now outdated and how will retailers need to adjust for future success?
I anticipate the biggest change this year will be how retailers connect with customers—including the platform, channel, and even media through which different parties interact.
It’s nice to finally meet you after all the bumpy election action we saw last year. I am expecting 2017 to be “Yuge”!
No really, the Trump administration is just getting started with all its ideas and policies. In the signature words of our President Elect “we have to figure out what’s going on."
In order to have a smooth transition through these changes, I have prepared this “beautiful” Direct Response cheat sheet just for you. As we now say in Washington, it’s “Bigly” (or “Big League” depending on whom you ask).
So 2017 let’s do this!
On December 14, ERA was excited to welcome many members as well as industry newcomers to Network NYC at the Madison Square Tavern. ERA holds events throughout the year aimed at creating opportunities for attendees to meet professionals from all areas of the industry including marketers, media agencies, inventors, producers, fulfillment, distribution and more! This year's event was a successful evening filled with great networking and formal introductions.
As 2016 comes to a close, ERA staff are reflecting on the amazing year we have had. We are excited for the new year ahead of us and all the future work there is to do. Before we get a running start on 2017 we are fortunate enough to take a few days away to spend with our families over the holidays. We asked the ERA what their favorite holiday traditions were that they would be taking part in over the break!