PROFILE

Dan Frechtling

President, G2 Web Services, a Verisk business

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: 09/24/2018

    Amazon shows third-party sellers all the love with microsite and TV campaign

    From a messaging standpoint, this does position Amazon as more of a gentle giant. Beyond the advertising push, the site is more than utilitarian, as the Meet the Business Owners section puts a human face on the “artisans.” From a competition standpoint, it’s a savvy move against Etsy, after a prior attempt called Handmade at Amazon. The enormous Amazon customer base is a hefty draw for crafts shoppers and other fans. Amazon’s subtle nod to job creation is a foil against Alibaba too. Jack Ma just last week said Alibaba is no longer committed to creating 1 million jobs in the U.S., blaming the countries' deepening trade war. Those jobs were widely assumed to include third-party sellers.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2018

    Would you believe older men with lower incomes are the new drivers of online sales growth?

    Older males appear to gravitate to BOPIS (Buy Onilne, Pick Up In-Store) more than other demographic segments. This is an opportunity to cater to them in a way Amazon doesn't fully deliver. While 61% of consumers overall have tried BOPIS, 71% of Baby Boomers have done so, according to a study by ForeSee. Interestingly, Millennials are below average, at 57%. And despite the fact Millennials "seem" impulsive, Boomers are most likely to make an impulse purchase during a BOPIS trip, as indicated by ChargeItSpot research last year. And they have more disposable income to spend. The early adopters of BOPIS included Best Buy, AutoZone, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which tracks with the electronics, automotive and sporting goods categories that skew older male, as Mr. Cassar pointed out. Amazon is trying flavors of BOPIS, first with lockers, then with Whole Foods. But omni-channel branded retailers will have an advantage, first because of consistent branding, and second because of cross-sales opportunity once in-store.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2018

    Which market research tasks are likely to be taken over by AI?

    It’s easy to see how AI has already been applied to text interaction. The source data is massive, residing not in one-to-one conversations but billions of social media posts, reviews, and other online comments. Quantitative phone research is another frontier. At first, artificial intelligence may run along side manual research gathering as machines are “trained” to do quantitative research. Customer service presents an illustrative model. Machine learning has automated routine customer support activities so that an increasing number of responses are handled by AI and a decreasing number of exceptions are escalated to a human representative. The same process can be used to automate quant phone surveys. Over time, machines may revolutionize qualitative market research as well. Programmed branch questions will give way to dynamic questions assembled on the fly as machines hear “new“ responses and seek to probe further. All of this frees up the researcher for higher level tasks around synthesizing rather than gathering results.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2018

    Walmart posts strongest U.S. comps in more than a decade

    Walmart.com is becoming a more attractive marketplace for third party sellers. Walmart.com has momentum. Research with Amazon sellers by Feedvisor found 36% plan to expand their sales to Walmart.com. This is nearly 10 points higher than eBay, and excludes Jet. Last year the number of sellers inclined to sell on Walmart.com was less than 30%. In 2018, 17% of Amazon merchants also sell on eBay, 8 points higher than last year. Walmart has a structural advantage over other leading online marketplaces. Customers can purchase online and pick up in store. By the end of this year, Walmart will have 700 automated in store pickup machines. In the fall, third party buyers on Walmart.com can clearly see merchant return policies on product pages and even print return shipping labels at discounted shipping rates. Buyers will also be able to return third party items in stores. Other retailers have shied away from third party sellers because of the uneven customer experience. Walmart.com is smoothing out the bumps.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2018

    Kroger takes on Visa

    Escalating the dispute is a calculated move by Kroger and Visa. It will cause short term pain to Foods Co. shoppers, and maybe negative media for the two companies, but both are betting that escalating is smarter than caving. When Visa and Walmart Canada got into a similar disagreement, Visa took the gloves off. It bought billboards showcasing how many other local retailers accepted the card when the affected Walmart stores were isolated in Thunder Bay, Ontario. When the feud expanded to Manitoba, it gave a $10 credit to shoppers buying at Walmart competitors. It also wrote open letters published in the Canada National Post and elsewhere stating its position. In the end, other stakeholders created pressure -- consumers pushed Walmart to come to terms, and issuing banks pushed Visa to compromise. Foods Co. stores are distributed geographically in northern and central California, so local marketing will be less effective. Once a compromise is negotiated, Visa will regain acceptance and Kroger will gain a small margin savings in perpetuity. Both will declare victory because they will be in a better position than today's standoff. When the announcement was made Monday, Kroger shares were up and Visa's were down, but today both are close to where they were when the kerfuffle started.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2018

    Retailers fail to reward long-time customers at their own risk

    Loyalty is often taken for granted. But it need not be this way. Engaging marketing and customer support can keep long tenured customers from defecting . 1. Engage marketing. Marketing campaigns should target long term customers, not just prospects. Create a premier tier or VIP segment to retain valuable high-spend customers. Provide educational and training materials to make buyers smarter as well as give them new ways to use your products. 2. Engage customer support. Make help channels easy to find and use, especially online. When trying to increase loyalty, use a proactive support strategy. Long term customers are not equal in value. Cater to the customers with higher spending patterns.
  • Posted on: 07/03/2018

    Ride-sharers buy while they ride

    This is not a bad idea, especially if the assortment matches the occasion. Upselling $5 snacks to a pack of hungry college kids taking short Friday night trips is one thing. Offering $2 toothpaste to business passengers heading from the airport to their hotel (where they can get it for free) is another. Presenting $40 cigars from your humidor to young professionals on a guys-night-out is yet another. There are plenty of rideshare “hacks” that are less noble ways to make money, such as logging out of the app just before bars close to inflate surge pricing, avoiding suburbs, upselling Lyft to Uber passengers, and driving customers to “recommended” bars/restaurants (sometimes even realtors) to earn referral fees. So selling rolling convenience ala Cargo is a relatively ethical win-win when it works and a no-thank-you when it doesn’t.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2018

    Supreme Court rules e-tailers must collect state sales taxes

    Upholding the South Dakota law will lead to greater imposition of sales taxes on internet sellers. Nearly everyone agrees this is a win for fairness between offline and online sellers. But even if Wayfair had prevailed, that would not have been a mandate against state sales taxes. Fully 31 states already tax online sales, through physical nexus, "click-through" nexus, cookie nexus, economic nexus, notice-and-reporting, and so on. A win by Wayfair may have meant more states could collect sales taxes in less simplified and clear ways than South Dakota has legislated. Either way, states' fiscal situations have lead inevitably to creative tax regimes of one form or another for internet retailers.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2018

    Too many meetings and reports undercut promos

    Driving more efficiency often comes down to ROI calculations, such as: 1. Products with high baseline sales will yield higher ROI on a fixed cost promo investment because the same % lift moves more incremental units. 2. Products with high seasonal spikes yield higher ROI for the same reason as #1 3. New products with near-zero sales yield higher ROI because first-time trial buyers will convert to repeat buyers (as long as the product stays on the planogram) 4. Products that trigger purchases of complementary items yield a higher ROI for retailer, which benefits from a higher basket 5. Analyses that only consider item-level lift and ignore product line cannibalization will always over-estimate promo effectiveness 6. Deep discounts face exponentially steeper lift curves in order to pay out. A point of contention since well before 1990 was the asymmetrical nature of trade spend. Because the CPG firm spends the promo fees, it must offset that cost with incremental sales. Because the retailer receives promo spend, it can double dip on fee income and incremental sales. However, the retailer is more likely to suffer low or no margin on the product during off-promo periods. For these and other reasons, trade promotions will never truly disappear.
  • Posted on: 05/25/2018

    1-800-Flowers stays a step ahead of disruptive tech

    Engaging early and experimenting with new technologies is the only reliable way to avoid disruption. Companies that followed too closely the principles of “core competencies” and stick-to-your-knitting learned this the hard way. How can retailers embrace ELAC to learn faster without going over budget? A key enabler is a thoughtful build versus buy framework. This means an ecosystem of technology providers offering an early look at innovations and an alternative to in-house investment. Another component is rapid prototyping to discover consumer insights and technical challenges early. Finally, discipline around pausing or eliminating “cool” but low ROI projects avoids mistakes of adopting too quickly for the consumer or while costs are too high. Whoever was the first in this forum to say “retail companies are technology companies” got it right.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2018

    Managing the dark side of workplace friendships

    Shelly is right that studies show having friends at work yields better employee engagement and better customer service. This engagement also yields better financial performance -- Gallup found a more engaged workforce produces 147% higher earnings per share. Psychologists have extolled relationships for decades. Other academics agree. Anthropologists have found the strongest predictor of a species' brain size is not the need for problem-solving intelligence but rather the size of species' social groups. Economists say seeing a friend on most days is worth an extra $100,000 in annual income. Any organizational inefficiencies from friendships can be managed much more effectively than a disengaged and anti-social workforce.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2018

    AI for e-mail? Marketers enthused, but not without concerns

    Marketers with large email lists who run a lot of campaigns will benefit most. It takes a lot of training data to figure out which buyers respond to which offer and which creative at which time. Optimizing content, time/day, offer, and the like for micro-segments is a big chore. It's easier to optimize around open rates, which average 20-25% for retail, but harder to optimize around click-through rate, which is 3-4% for retail. Optimizing around purchase rates is harder still when the action taken is measured in double-digit basis points. Using AI will lighten the workload for marketers, but it will take most brands a lot longer then they anticipate to yield a result that's predictive of anything.
  • 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.

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