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: 12/07/2018

    Will Instagrammers all scream for Baskin-Robbins’ new ice cream concept?

    Baskin-Robbins has been savvy about using social media before. To make this concept successful with Instagram, it can apply lessons learned from other promotions that integrate across media. For example, BR achieved a 50 percent lift in visits last year with an in-store event it promoted on social media. Pre-event, BR ran a #freescoopnight campaign on Facebook and Instagram and stood up displays in its retail locations to build excitement. During the event it streamed consumers on Facebook Live, and through Instagram stories. Post-event, BR PR leveraged video and images for TV broadcast. The most interesting part is this idea came from Malaysia. BR is a global business that benefits from global ideas for Instagrammability.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2018

    Are Millennials taking advantage of retailers’ goodwill?

    At first glance, this may appear to be driven by e-commerce penetration -- online shopping and customer service is less personal and more likely to be exploited. But UJET and other studies show Millennials are brick-and-mortar shoppers just like older peers. So this is really a function of different expectations around good service and conditioning around acceptable tactics to get the best deal. There is a marketing lesson here. The survey sponsor touts real-time communications through smartphones. But there is more. At the same time Millennials are more responsive to customer service “offers,” they are less responsive to traditional advertising than Boomers and Gen Xers. They are also more likely to switch between online and physical stores weekly, more likely to BOPIS, and more likely to hold a retail subscription service. These are good insights for customer service and digital channel strategies.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2018

    Amazon and Apple get co-opetitive

    The timing is right for both companies to team up as they are both under topline pressure heading into the holiday shopping season. Amazon's Q3 revenue was about $500 million short of analyst expectations and Apple announced they will no longer report unit sales, which are flattening. Amazon will be even more of a destination for gadgets and Apple should see better adherence to pricing as authorized resellers replace independent firms. Amazon and Apple mended fences on Apple TV last year, and Amazon has lacked a competing phone for some time (finding an answer in Alexa, a still-protected business, instead). Whether consumers will benefit or not is up to debate. Apple's reconciliation with Amazon coincides with pressure on the third party market. As noted above, authorized sellers will be held to approved retail prices or face Apple's ire. At the same time, Apple announced new limitations on refurbishers who don't spend at least $10 million per year with Apple.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2018

    Has CVS found an answer to blunt Amazon’s move into the pharmacy business?

    I agree with Neil Saunders’ point about the high rewards inherent in the program. One reason for this comes from an observation published by Chain Store Age (June edition) which also happens to also be a Neil Saunders comment: “The most loyal part of their [CVS and Walgreens] pharmacy customer base is the older consumer. Over the next ten years, this cohort will become a much less significant part of the market and this will leave drugstores exposed to younger shoppers who are more likely to use both Amazon and remote pharmacy services. There is a significant risk that drugstores will see a real erosion in pharmacy customer share, especially in urban and suburban areas where Amazon can quickly deliver.” Thanks, Neil, for your insights.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2018

    Will organic food sales soar on the latest cancer research?

    As others have pointed out, price is by far the most significant headwind for increased consumption of organic foods. So what will it take to reduce the price gap?
    1. More farms must transition to organic. It typically takes three years for a conventional farm to be certified as organic. Expediting this process through best practices and technologies will open up supply.
    2. More supply chains must transition to organic. Organic eggs and milk have the highest price premiums over conventional counterparts, at 70-80 percent. The USDA requires feed qualify as organic for the byproducts to be organic. Today most of the feed, such as corn and soybeans, has to be imported to the US. (In a bit of irony, the US ships soybeans to China and China ships organic soybeans to the US).
    3. Deeper discounts by grocers can expand impulse purchases. Organic foods (aka without preservatives) often have shorter shelf lives. A deep discounting strategy for overdue produce both moves product before spoilage and encourages higher consumption from “switchers.”
    Despite a maturing market and greater choice for organic foods, the price premium hasn’t uniformly been shrinking. A study published in Growing Produce found organic and conventional lettuce, carrots and tomato prices moved in unison together over the past 10 years but the premium did not shrink. Yet another study by the USDA indicated certain spotlight foods like spinach and granola have narrowed the gap, and are gaining share.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2018

    Shopify opens a storefront to support its online merchants

    The Entrepreneur Space answers a great question for online merchants: if they can find dozens of places to service their laptops, why can’t they find one to service their e-commerce businesses? It is a great part of Shopify’s training and loyalty program. But it needs to make money ultimately. To that end, there is actual selling going on in the center. These include trialling the Shopify POS system and the Printful sample service. I imagine a Shopify Capital representative is on hand as well. But it’s hard to imagine this concept will succeed on physical reach. Geographically, LA provides access to 10,000 Shopify merchants. But what about the other 590,000 in 175 countries? And while the center may help Shopify compete with direct competitors like Magento, how will that help them win against the real competition: Amazon, Walmart.com and other online marketplaces? The answer could be to use the Space in conjunction with Shopify’s online support and in-person roadshow touch points, and continuing a strategy of bundling merchant services to yield more revenue per customer.
  • 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.

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