PROFILE

Dan Frechtling

President, G2 LLC, 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: 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. 
  • Posted on: 02/15/2020

    New York Stock Exchange owner eyed acquiring eBay

    This is a nothing burger that somehow made it to a business headline. ICE CEO Jeff Sprecher was refreshingly honest: "Curiosity, and the fact that we know people there, led us to open a dialogue. And that's kind of the end of the story." eBay is a a digital commerce pioneer and a household name. It has a growing user base and is and under public pressure from activist shareholders. And that's how casual conversations become rumors that turn into news.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2020

    Is Trump declaring war on counterfeits or Amazon and other e-marketplaces?

    This is a proper use of regulations to stop a market shortcoming. Counterfeit goods are 3.3% of world trade and rising, according to the OECD. A report several years ago by Euromonitor estimated 8% of China's economy was at that time driven by counterfeit goods. Online marketplaces profit tremendously from counterfeits sold by third party sellers, because most buyers buy them willingly. The frequency of adverse outcomes such as injury or sickness are tragic, but too rare to influence marketplaces to police more rigorously. So unless regulations AND enforcement intervene, the manufacturers bear the costs as they compete with cheaper knockoffs of themselves in the same retail channels.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2020

    Did Domino’s gouge Time Square revelers?

    The door swings both ways. As others have pointed out, elasticity of demand can mean cheaper prices for consumers as well. Who's to say the rational price for pizza isn't $30, and $15 is a steep discount? Well, the buyer says so. Amazon tests prices million of times per day depending on demand, sometimes even after an item is added to the cart. Even Walmart has changed its EDLP mantra to contend with Amazon. And don't be surprised if the price on a mobile device is less than the price at the counter. Uniform national pricing began to wane in the 1970s. We've only gotten more consumer-friendly since then.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    What happens now that Nike has called off its deal with Amazon?

    I agree with Kiri's comment that this leaves Amazon with grey and black market goods. Nike will still have a presence, just not the kind it can control. Leakage through distribution channels is so prolific that shoppers will continue to find Nike on Amazon, perhaps to their shopping disappointment. As others have mentioned, Nike is singling out Amazon over other marketplaces. This may be the early influence of Nike board member John Donahoe before he becomes CEO John Donahoe. Donahoe joined eBay in 2005, shortly before Amazon's growth rate surpassed eBay's, a position it has never surrendered. Sometimes business is also personal. I don't expect many brands to follow Nike's lead.
  • Posted on: 10/28/2019

    REI’s new #OptOutside message: Save the planet

    The only real risk is the one REI took five years ago. For five years REI has sacrificed one of its top five sales days to connect with groups and individuals in a heartfelt way. It is putting people before profits. This campaign has encouraged more than 150 other retailers to close their doors and state parks to waive fees on Black Friday. It has also spurred scores of local hikes and co-brands as other groups latch on to the #OptOutside "movement" as it has become. At the same time, it enjoys significantly higher loyalty than other retailers. According to Digital Commerce 360, 53% of REI.com customers are repeat buyers, compared to 38% for average retailers. And membership has increased 31% since 2014.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2019

    Have esports become more than a game for Five Below?

    Five Below is not the first retailer to see promise in eSports gaming events. Chipotle is sponsoring eSports tournaments with DreamHack. GameStop is opening its own gaming facilities as online gaming steals share from console gaming. The shift to cloud gaming epitomized by Stadia (from Alphabet), and all-digital consoles from Microsoft and Sony may spell the end of selling software at retail for GameStop So GameStop is retrofitting stores for survival. Five Below, on the other hand, is investing for growth with Nerd Street Gamers. With a reach into the teen and tween market, Five Below can attract a key demographic and generate revenue for years to come as they age up. This gives Five Below an advantage, but it's not likely to be a winner-take-all market.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2019

    Google Shopping gets an upgrade

    Google succeeds by simply being an alternative to Amazon that will appeal to shoppers who don't visit Walmart. But beyond that, Google can delight with a refreshingly clean UI. I compared a search for Asics men's running shoes on both Google and Amazon and was impressed with the clarity of presentation. Google provided a simple list of what I was looking for while Amazon was cluttered with ads. Amazon's first results were competitive offers for Reebok--not at all what I was looking for. Surprisingly, Google listed more choices (500+) than Amazon (431). Google's filter feature was remarkably superior as well, allowing me to select by size, width, price, material, and more. While Amazon still wins on speed of delivery and a loyal Prime user base. I'm glad to see Google's upgrades to Shopping compare surprisingly well to the industry standard.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2019

    Will new credit cards lure Americans to Walmart more often?

    In the past, Walmart was reluctant to offer discount programs because they might undermine their everyday low price position. But these new cards reflect a re-thinking. Five percent back on purchases at Walmart.com, including grocery pickup and delivery, and 5 percent back on in-store purchases when using Walmart Pay for the first 12 months offer attractive savings. Some might object that the in-store savings only last 12 months, but that is partially offset by the savings on grocery pick-up and delivery. Plus, cardholders can redeem points in more places, such as travel through Capital One’s travel portal. For frequent Walmart shoppers, getting cash back on grocery, restaurant and travel spending are appealing, and they may encourage consumers to more routinely shop on Walmart.com.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2019

    Direct-to-consumer brands aren’t so direct anymore

    Acquiring digital native or direct to consumer brands means more than owning the brands themselves. It means owning the talent that has learned to grow through experimentation much like technology companies. These acquired companies, like Dollar Shave and Chef'd, master the test-and-learn cycles because company survival depends on it. They also can spawn innovation in product development, marketing and delivery in ways large CPG companies don't. That's the upside of acquihires. The downside is losing talent that don't assimilate into the larger corporate culture.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2019

    Kroger to make customers pay for cash-back debit card payments

    If Kroger is paying the retail rate for a signature debit card transaction run through one of the card networks, it may cost between $.25 and $.55 for $50 cash back (though the numbers vary a lot). If they recover $.50 of that, they can argue they are fairly covering their costs and note other retailers and banks do the same. While this may be factually true, is the negative publicity and social media worth the extra fees Kroger could earn? This is not an isolated decision, but part of a comprehensive plan to manage costs within Kroger. As shoppers report narrower selection and elimination of premium services like the deli section, Kroger is making a series of other changes that could cost it to lose customers. At least the debit fees are easier to reverse, even if the bad buzz is not.
  • Posted on: 07/04/2019

    Will meatless meat, CBD and cold brew coffee help food retailers differentiate?

    I agree with Steve that CBD stands above the rest. By 2024, market size is estimated to range from $5–$20 billion globally. It was called “the most disruptive force in the world today” at an investor conference in London this month. CBD has become increasingly popular to deal with anxiety, insomnia, inflammation, pain, seizures, and other ailments. It has been added to shampoos, dog treats, coffee—even hamburgers. CBD is also a sought-after dietary supplement ingredient. The number of products carrying CBD as an ingredient and the affinity of e-commerce makes CBD the most significant of the three trends. Unfortunately, CBD (often confused with THC) faces “chronic” uncertainty due to opaque FDA rules and a web of federal and state rule frameworks. Once the FDA puts a stake in the ground, expect products and retailers to proliferate.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2019

    Toys ‘R’ Us prepares its American comeback

    A reborn Toys “R” Us can be operate small scale and online. Six stores in the right locations can succeed. Manufacturers are likely to support them since it’s a small bet to ship inventory or sell on consignment with only six stores. An online store with drop shipping or a similar model carries little risk. The clearance of debt gives the business model more buoyancy. Ona larger scale, Geoffrey would run into the same buzzsaw of Amazon.com and mass merchandisers like Target and Walmart that use toys as loss leaders. And a half dozen doors won’t give it the ability to buy online, fulfill in store. Don’t expect an epic comeback, but the positive PR being generated will float a lean revival — if they avoid backlash from ex-employees who missed out on severance.

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