D2C Goes Digital

ERA’s annual conference emphasizes multichannel marketing with new educational content, the Moxie Awards, and more.


The Electronic Retailing Association’s (ERA) annual D2C Convention closed out another successful showing Sept. 18 after hosting more than 3,400 professionals at the Wynn Las Vegas for three days of education, networking, and deal-making.

Themed “Branch Into New Growth With Smarter Multichannel Strategies,” the show concentrated on tapping into a marketplace in which consumers use many digital channels in addition to television to shop. “We know this shift is difficult,” said Julie Coons, ERA’s president and CEO, “Collectively, we need to take a big step forward.”

Underlining the shift to digital strategies, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, founder and chairman of the online video shopping network Joyus, delivered the keynote address, “Internet is the New TV: Using Video Commerce to Unlock Sales Online.” Shoppers are increasingly turning to video first for product information. “You know the stats: More than 70 percent of consumers watch an online video at least once a week,” Singh Cassidy said. “Mobile is leading this charge and accelerating the transition to online video.”

Educational sessions held throughout the show were well-attended and informative. On the first day of the show, ERA offered three Direct Response 101 panel discussions this year to introduce attendees to offline, online, and omnichannel marketing strategies. Additional sessions discussed monetizing Facebook, e-mail marketing, and other online strategies.

Day two moved the educational sessions to the D2C Think Tank and Learning Lounge on the show floor, where speakers and panels concentrated on Web 3.0, social commerce topics. “If you’re going to do online video, you’re going to want to think a lot about strategy,” says Charles Voloshin, digital marketing manager for Portland-Ore.-based Wacom, in “Five Things You Need to Know about Online Video.” The company uses YouTube to sell its high-end drawing tablets, he says, and Google Analytics to view the purchase funnel. “We can actually see when they bought.”

ERA also organized a last-minute session to help marketers understand and address one of the most pressing issues facing the industry, Operation Choke Point. Manatt’s Linda Goldstein and Venable’s Ellen Berge and Jeffrey Knowles talked about the regulatory initiative and its effect on payment processing.

Day three featured more networking on the show floor, sessions including a special “State of the Industry” session, an examination of second screen usage from Koeppel Direct, and the conclusion of Inpex’ invention competition and Pitch by the Pros. This year’s winner? A ballroom dance fitness program.

Chris Reinmuth, Meritus Payment Solutions vice president and incoming ERA chairman, emceed the annual Moxie Awards to close out the show. More than 25 Moxies were awarded, recognizing excellence in short- and long-form creative, branding, and presentation. The Moxies honored Susan Lucci with the DR Icon Award for her involvement with products such as Youthful Essence and her own home shopping lines. For a full list of the Moxie winners, click here: http://bit.ly/1Dw0zFx.

Collette Liantonio, president of Concepts TV Productions, took this year’s ERA Lifetime Achievement Award for her history of producing winning DR campaigns. ERA “In the 35 years I’ve been in the industry, I have seen an amazing change from cutthroat competition to mutual collaboration and a whole lot of love,” Liantonio said in thanking her staff, clients, partners, and ERA. And while winning the Lifetime Achievement Award has a certain “obituary ring to it,” she said, “I’m not dead yet. In the classic words of our industry, ‘But wait, there’s more!”

For additional coverage of ERA’s 2014 D2C Convention, check out the November issue of Electronic Retailer.