PROFILE

Dan Frechtling

CEO, Ad LIghtning

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: 07/03/2021

    What should replace cookies?

    Google's delay is a positive for retail and other online marketing teams because it offers more time for testing of cookie replacement solutions. These solutions have garnered a tepid response thus far despite the early 2022 deadline that had been in place. Several models are vying to assume the mantle, such as traditional data services, (data bureaus), cross-site IDs (UID 2.0), cohorts (FLoC), contextual targeting (both large and niche publishers), and even fingerprinting, which is frowned upon and prohibited For the foreseeable future, a basket of solutions will serve in place of cookies, fulfilling different use cases. A winning technology may rise to the top of adoption, but marketers can’t afford to wait and need to test now while they can run controlled experiments with cookies still viable.
  • Posted on: 04/14/2021

    Nike decides to ‘just do it’ in the sneaker resale market

    Score one for sustainability and score one for resale. Nike Factory Outlet stores have become a reliable channel to buy slightly outdated shoes that first line retail returned. Now they've done the same at the individual consumer level with Refurbished. Gently used items are a bit of trend, as evidenced by the growth of The Real Real, ThredUp (now partnered with Gap and Macy's), and Poshmark. In fact, a Poshmark survey found 16.5% of Gen Z's wardrobes are secondhand items, compared to 12.5% of Millennials', 14% of Gen X's, and 9.5% of baby boomers'.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2021

    How did QR codes go from DOA to killer app?

    COVID-19 sped up QR code adoption. The "killer" apps are restaurant menus, touchless returns, payments, and other forms of contactless shopping. Uses such as product packaging, Instagram's code generator, and connected TV have also re-engaged advertisers. Given the pandemic circumstances, the better term is not "killer" but more "lifeline app." Yet QR codes are a long term trend beyond the pandemic. Asia has proven that. As counterfeiting becomes a larger global issue, they are a good complement to RFID through traceability that helps suppress falsified products, especially in pharmaceuticals. However there's a word of warning. The "quick response" part of QR codes means shoppers often use them without thinking. Watch out for malicious QR codes that can install malware, capture personal data or direct users to unsafe websites. QR code education and vigilance will be important in 2021.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2020

    Will home furnishings soon be a ‘digital-first business’?

    I agree with those who cite the advances in augmented reality (AR) and personalization for promoting more online buying of home furnishings. AR simulates a true try-before-you-buy-experience better than the traditional retail shopping model. These are now more accessible than before, with AR available directly from retailer websites rather than downloaded app as in the past. Personalization of fabrics, finish, size and depth reduce the rigidity of purchases. And the ability to order free swatches or printouts of furniture and floor coverings adds extra confidence the purchase will "fit." Younger buyers are familiar with visual tools, from Pokemon Go to iOS virtual masks to SnapChat filters. These technologies are likely to produce lower returns than the showroom model because they promote more pre-purchase research.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2020

    eBay to guarantee the authenticity of collectible sneakers

    I applaud this move. eBay's Authenticity Guarantees are rigorous. Sneakers are handled by Sneaker Con's multipoint inspections. Watches are even more meticulous, with multipoint inspections by expert authenticators in "clean rooms." eBay is going beyond the SHOP SAFE Act, which requires seller screening, verification and attestation. In addition, eBay is addressing more discretionary categories where fraud is rampant. The Act only applies to "goods that implicate health and safety." Of course, tripping over substandard shoe laces or being late for a date due to a faulty minute hand might implicate one's health or safety!
  • Posted on: 10/07/2020

    Apple removes other brand audio products from its store shelves

    From a commercial standpoint, creating shelf space to debut new Apple products makes complete sense. Now that these products are competitive on features and functions with Bose, Sonos, and the like, the consumer will shrug it off. But the US House has accused Apple of controlling access to markets, imposing excessive fees (such as the 30% commission in the App Store), requiring oppressive contract terms, and using its brand position to maintain market power by blocking rival products. The decision to completely eliminate--not reduce--space in-store may provide more fodder to regulators, even if it's a stretch to declare Apple a monopoly.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2020

    How murky has COVID-19 made retail data?

    Some data, like panic buying at the outset of the pandemic, is anomalous and can be ignored. Other data, such as the more dramatic behavioral changes among Millennials and Gen Z than among Boomers, can be segmented. But the most reliable data comes from identifying trends that have accelerated. Three years of transformation happened in three months, as Accenture's CEO has pointed out. This includes online-to-store fulfillment, home delivery, and subscription services. Data in these areas is more robust and predictive on the path to a post-COVID economy.
  • Posted on: 06/14/2020

    Will Americans keep looking for new e-tail sites as stores reopen?

    If the survey is accurate that shoppers seek out new products and positive delivery experiences, the highly visible e-commerce destinations are once again best positioned. Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, and other marketplaces will be the top-of-mind, most convenient channels for online retailers (where they risk commoditization as "sellers") to continue to be discovered. Buyer needs will return to normal levels. Certain categories inevitably will drop as home containment-driven demand wanes. This includes home cooking, fitness, office supplies, and weapons (yes, weapons and accessories have spiked as a reflection of tumultuous times). Ironically, same day delivery needs may also relax as consumers have the option to return to physical stores.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2020

    Lowe’s and Home Depot get a boost as customers stay-at-home

    Investment in supply chain is crucial. It's an enabler for BOPIS, but it's more than that. Both stores have adapted to increased demand in categories like basic DIY and lawn/garden. Both made investments in distribution prior to COVID-19 being a concern. Home Depot has built up mechanized Rapid Deployment Centers and new direct fulfillment centers. Lowe's is spending $1.7 billion on its supply chain, including e-commerce. If they can continue to replenish inventory, both will take more business from independent hardware stores that lack comparable omnichannel, assortment and stock capabilities.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2020

    Is the coronavirus pandemic sparking a meal kits comeback?

    The question about positioning has two facets: 1) appeal of kits over conventional cooking and conventional restaurants, and 2) home delivery. Both are wrapped up together in the pandemic. First, kits need to win consumers. If Blue Apron and others can solve prices, portions, packaging, and variety, consumers trying meal kits will stick with them. But that is unlikely to happen as providers focus on keeping up with a surge in demand. Blue Apron says it is boosting marketing and meal flexibility, which hardly seems enough. Second, home delivery needs to beat store quick trips. A package at your door makes sense when you're cooped up at home. Unfortunately, it may not when you're driving home from work and the grocery store is on the way. That's not to say many consumers won't subscribe. But that is a shift forward in demand from those who would have become subscribers anyway. I suspect old habits will return after the pandemic for most buyers.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2020

    Can Amazon weed out marketplace fraudsters via video chat?

    I agree with the others who call this a step in the right direction. But it is a small step. A useful analogue is money laundering, a close cousin of fraud. Legal persons are commonly misused in complex schemes to hide the true beneficial owners and conceal the real activity. There is a thriving business of recruiting nominee owners, directors and managers everywhere from college campuses to retiree communities. These straw-men and straw-women stand in for the real perpetrators. Video calls are a marginally better way of verifying identity. But when identity of a legal person isn't the real fraud going on, it's a false sense of security.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2020

    eBay pledges to get small businesses ‘up and running’ online

    One of the soundest strategies for non-essential businesses is getting online and growing online. Coresight estimates 50% more retail stores will close in 2020 than 2019, which itself was a record year for closures. eBay's move is meaningful. Stay at home consumers are shifting to the internet in droves. Transaction volumes in most retail sectors have seen a 74 percent rise in March compared to the same period last year, according to ACI Worldwide. Only Amazon has more US users per month than eBay's 109 million monthly unique visitors.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2020

    Which retail businesses are ‘essential’ during the coronavirus outbreak?

    Perhaps we can define essential businesses by defining what they are not.
    1. They are not recreational or entertainment locations. This includes gyms, theaters and gaming. In my hometown, this also includes ski resorts. Not only are these non-essential for survival, but they can be substituted at home through streaming and other exercise choices.
    2. They are not hubs or gathering places. This includes hospitality retail, such as hotels and bars, unless operating as take-out. This stretches the definition of essential, but is critical in these days where the size of groups and the proximity of individuals determines the spread of the virus.
    3. In cities under shelter-in-place rules, they may be open areas too. This includes parks, playgrounds, ball fields, dog parks and other open areas. I saw park staff trying to cordon off a 60-acre park over the weekend and wished them good luck.
    As others have said, this must be a local decision based on the severity of the outbreak and the characteristics of the location, among other factors.
  • Posted on: 03/05/2020

    Should Amazon pay a penalty for counterfeits sold in its marketplace?

    Establishing trademark and contributory liability are the key differences here. This would require significant retooling of methods to detect counterfeits. It can be difficult to determine whether a product is counterfeit until it is in one’s hands and tested by the brand owner. Trying to identify counterfeits by looking at observable online characteristics such as price and product images is fraught with false positives. What are marketplaces to do? They may employ a growing army of reviewers, similar to the way that Facebook has hired more moderators to police content. They may limit doing business with new sellers, sellers from China, and sellers with low prices. If we are willing to accept higher prices and lower selection alongside higher safety, consumers will tolerate that trade off. If we expect an elite level of precision -- low false negatives and low false positives -- this will benefit the larger marketplaces that have training data for machine learning.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2020

    Walgreens embroiled in a stressed-out pharmacist scandal

    The Walgreens spokesperson committed at the end of the NYT article to check the metrics. The next question for Walgreens is, which metrics? Are the metrics based on efficiency only or are they balanced by quality of care too? Are patient satisfaction, pharmacist employee engagement, and professional development included in the metrics? Does field management have the patient care experience to deduce what the metrics are saying? Most pharmacists are primarily concerned with health outcomes and service quality. But they will bend to the metrics of their organization when pressured enough, unless they are brave enough to speak up and speak out as Walgreens staff has. 

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