PROFILE

Dan Frechtling

CPO/CMO, G2 Web Services; Managing Director, Verisk

Dan oversees product and marketing for G2 Web Services, a payments technology and service provider operating in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia.

Previously, Dan ran global product management for hibu, a leading provider of digital services connecting local consumers and merchants in the US, UK, Spain and Latin America. Prior to that, he was Vice President Marketing and Vice President Client Solutions for DS-IQ, where he re-launched digital couponing products for SUPERVALU and developed and executed marketing strategies for digital media at Walmart.

Earlier, he was general manager of DVD games and youth electronics as Director of Worldwide Marketing for Mattel. At Stamps.com he helped launch the first server-based web postage technology.  At McKinsey & Company he led engagements for consumer and technology clients.

Dan earned his MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School and his BS in Journalism/Economics from Northwestern University. He speaks Mandarin Chinese.

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  • Posted on: 04/16/2018

    Can food halls become retail’s new anchors?

    This concept is here to stay because it provides a real solution to consumers. Food halls fill a niche between food truck lots and casual restaurants. They are reminiscent of the college experience. They solve the problem of “what should we eat?” and promote variety for business colleagues previously forced to compromise between vegans, ethnic food lovers, and dieters in different meal missions. Some food halls have stages for local performers and tables for playing games. They can revive dying malls previously concentrated on retail into town centers bringing people together. They are fluid and Darwinian. New food concepts get started quickly, and are replaced quickly. They crown winners efficiently and relatively inexpensively. The only thing standing in the way is over saturation. Then the market battle shifts from competition between food stations to competition between food villages.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2018

    REI lifts the sustainability bar

    Product standards are meaningful step for sustainability. Often the focus is on the materials, such as organic cotton and oxybenzone. Another step in the right direction is supply chain sustainability. This encourages low emissions vehicles for ground distribution, route optimization for shipping that favors rail over air, and smart packaging with more recyclable materials among other principles. I am delighted this question was asked, and that we are having this discussion. To REI’s credit, it has relocated to the Spring District in Bellevue, WA, where a light rail stop is being opened to reduce traffic congestion. As a “neighbor,” who lives and works in Bellevue, I see this is not only convenient, not only serving the cause of lower emissions, but also another laudable example of REI’s ethos.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2018

    Retailers push to onboard tech talent

    Hiring technology and data science talent is not for the faint hearted -- regardless of industry. Candidates out of college have multiple offers, those already in the workforce get multiple calls a week from recruiters. These are the problems all companies with technology openings face. A couple ideas for retail:
    1. Sell the roles, not just the company. Jobs in marketing, cybersecurity and consumer insights draw interest. Start with internships that bring in promising college students ahead of graduation.
    2. Be flexible around location. Lose the old biases about remote employment and working from home. Expand into new locations. One of the drivers behind HQ2 was Amazon’s need to find talent outside of Seattle.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    Where is the shopping opportunity with voice commerce?

    There is a vast difference between the speech recognition capabilities of basic IVR (or "checking delivery status") and the capabilities of digital assistants being refined by the tech giants. The latter have advantages of deep learning technologies and large, active training sets. They are on track to human parity — about 5% error rate and the ability to distinguish active voice from background noise. This technology has the potential to drive purchases, especially as it can understand more complex questions. The greatest returns will flow to IBM, Amazon, Samsung, Apple, and/or Google as consumer-facing businesses license their superior speech recognition.
  • Posted on: 03/21/2018

    Albertsons launches an online marketplace for small CPG brands

    This is a gain for large CPG firms, who have a new proving ground for launches and, over time, a new sales channel. They have logistics and marketing functions to support “thin” marketplaces. This will help certain small food and wellness vendors, but not cottage outfits that rely on marketplaces for packing and direct-shipping services (Albertsons isn’t offering them yet), customer service operations, and online advertising. Like all battles, the armament sellers have the most to gain. Now that both grocery suppliers and retailers are moving their rivalry online, those in the supply chain and real estate sectors, including delivery services and climate-controlled distribution centers, will be large beneficiaries.
  • Posted on: 03/08/2018

    Retailers finding answers in-house, through partnerships and acquisitions

    “Technology” is no longer a sufficient word to describe recent partnerships and acquisitions. Current convergence suggests the question is increasingly becoming, “what kind of technology?” Curbside helps Fortune 100 retailers improve in-store service levels like inventory and customer attention. Instacart adds home delivery capability. But delivery is but one category. Walmart’s acquisition of Spatialand provides it with virtual reality development tools, with applications for both Walmart.com and the physical stores. The idea is to move the technology from gaming to consumer entertainment, aka “contextual commerce.” Amazon’s acquisition of Ring gives it a leg up in home delivery. It not only adds merchandise, it augments Amazon Key, which lets a delivery person into your house after they present the credentials. Amazon long ago solved the last mile problem. Now it solves the last foot.
  • Posted on: 02/26/2018

    Micro-targeting across the customer journey impacts research and analysis

    This reminds us WHERE a shopper is trumps WHO a shopper is. Knowing past purchases can tell us where a consumer is in the buying cycle. But such data is hard to tap if you’re not a very large retailer tracking purchases. Following a consumer across devices is an imperative. But it is difficult as consumers find more ways to anonymize themselves. Content can help us discern where people are on the path to purchase. When a shopper visits your website or app, are price, product details and photos specific enough? Are ratings, reviews and FAQs plentiful? Are delivery options (if pertinent) clear? Is the same information accessible from ads too? Location along the customer journey has higher usefulness than demographics. But marketers and data providers need to innovate together to surface path to purchase data. Unless and until someone creates a universal shopper ID, targeting with content is a most effective option.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2018

    Would a Kroger/Alibaba partnership make sense?

    Retailers vetting prospective partners need to consider the "who" and the "what." Amazon seemed an attractive alliance partner for Circuit City and Toys "R" Us, but the partnerships ended in failure and legal action. Amazon offered an effective online distribution platform and cutting edge personalization, but none of that mattered when Amazon began competing against its partners in electronics and toys. Amazon's "who" mattered more than the "what" because its assets were outweighed by its mission to disrupt retail. This is a cautionary tale for Kroger and Alibaba. Alibaba can offer Kroger a tempting solution for omnichannel fulfillment and faster transformation of logistics and store operations. But Alibaba's long-term mission is to rival Amazon in Western markets, and it may mimic Amazonian tactics with regard to erstwhile retail allies. Similarly, China beckons as a large market for American goods. But Kroger products can easily get lost among cheaper counterfeit knockoffs. Kroger is wise to target innovations in store systems, fulfillment, inventory management, marketing and the like to compete better online and omnichannel. But as much as the "what" makes sense, the "who" the choose to accelerate their progress is just as important.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2018

    QR codes are back and ready to hit it big

    QR codes are a technology better suited for in-store shopping than marketing. In China, Bingobox customers scan products’ QR codes and check out via mobile wallet. In the US, Walmart Pay users scan a QR code at the register to pay. In the US, Target customers coupon barcodes to save money at checkout. The difference in these cases is the digital-savvy shopper is already likely to use the retailer’s app when shopping in-store. This nullifies the extra inconvenience described above in most marketing use cases. History shows if it’s a clunky movie-poster-to-app-to-webpage novelty, consumers won’t adopt QR codes. But if they save time or money conveniently at checkout, trends show consumers adopting today’s QR code “sequel.”
  • Posted on: 12/27/2017

    How should Apple manage its throttling scandal?

    Some tech writers are excusing the issue by saying this is a lithium-ion chemistry issue, not an Apple issue. Nothing could be further from the truth. Before the launch of the iPhone in 2007, mobile phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants, as they were called at the time) typically allowed users to swap in new batteries similar to the way a remote control works. For design aesthetics or other reasons, Apple chose to seal the case completely. Now it takes a professional or a new phone to do what users used to be able to do themselves. Pre-2007 batteries were replaceable because they wear out. And they still wear out. Apple may have placed a bet that battery technology would advance fast enough or software would smooth out power use so that users wouldn’t notice. The secret is now out, and Apple needs to do the right thing and offer free replacement batteries in retail stores.
  • Posted on: 12/20/2017

    Are holiday gifts in the workplace an untapped retail opportunity?

    There is a lot of angst associated with buying gifts for colleagues, be they peers, bosses, or subordinates. It’s also inconvenient. But online retailers can provide an advantage for thoughtful professionals who end up rushing to crowded malls or simply buying from Amazon by default. Advantages include workplace-sensitive recommendations, popular items, and time savers like gift wrapping and tags pre-filled with the recipient’s name. The gift may not be an item at all but rather a donation to his social cause that may be eligible for company matching. Presents-for-coworkers can be better marketed as a unique shopping occasion distinct from traditional gift occasions. With these occasions, it’s the thought that counts, and stress-avoidance and convenience that wins.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2017

    What is increased mobile holiday traffic doing for sales?

    Online traffic is one thing. Mobile can drive store traffic as well. As the author suggests, Sephora prompts shoppers to visit stores with an app that enables virtual try-on. In more mainstream categories, Target, Walgreens and Kohl’s stand out. Target’s Cartwheel app is built specifically for in-store customers by showing consumers local deals and allowing stacking with other promotions. Walgreens’ mobile experience helps shoppers refill prescriptions easily. The app also provides in-store couponing. The Kohl’s app rewards 10 points for accessing the app in-store and tracks users’ Kohl’s cash. Pre-store, other retailers are increasingly invoking BOPIS on mobile. In-store, Bluetooth Low Energy solutions drive relevant offers.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2017

    How open are consumers to AI-driven shopping?

    While the Integer survey noted protecting personal information was the #1 preference for AI among shoppers, making things easier and lowering cost were #2 and #3. AI that keeps the user in control is most likely to be successful. This means:
    1. Involve user in decisions, especially unplanned purchases. Chatbots, preferred by millennials to human agents, help in travel, fashion and beauty.
    2. Help shoppers save money. Pricebots make shoppers feel smart, and they don't necessarily lower prices, according to the Economist magazine
    3. Don't be a black box. Allow users to add, edit, delete what info is collected about them
    As much as users say what they think about AI today, expect attitudes to change as retailers inevitably adopt more of it and shoppers realize it's opt-out rather than opt-in.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2017

    Are data sharing concerns still holding back true personalization?

    The research examined consumer attitudes today AND how they will be impacted by GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). While not as well known in the U.S. and Australia, GDPR is a big change in the EU that gives control of personal data back to individuals and prevents export of personal data outside of the EU. It takes effect at the end of May 2018. Companies anywhere in the world will have new rules to follow if they process data from EU residents, including name, address, photos, email addresses, social posts or even IP addresses. GDPR will also cause consumers will be more sensitive to the data they share. Once GDPR comes into force, 53 percent say they would opt out selectively based on brands they trust and 24 percent say they would opt out of as many brands as possible. Retailers now have new impetus to become trusted brands, and to provide enough value back in return for shoppers providing their personal data.
  • Posted on: 11/04/2017

    Will this be the year REI regrets opting out of Black Friday?

    REI is co-op owned, which frees it from the pressures felt by traditional publicly-traded retailers. Trading that freedom into a holiday from brand-damaging in-store discounts and a paid day outside for store employees is refreshing. But what does “process no online orders” really mean? Will it shut down the online store completely or continue to take orders but delay fulfilling them? Presumably it’s the latter, especially when launching an experiential search engine to draw online traffic, but the message is confusing. As a co-op retailer focused on a niche of outdoor enthusiast shoppers, REI takes a more progressive position on environmental issues, gender equality, and other issues beyond Black Friday. But it also deliberately avoids calls to action and other commercial messaging. Pushing an ethos more than merchandise is laudable, but one cant help but wonder what sales it is losing to more promotional competitors.

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