R E TA I L E R
SPRING FORWARD! B/A FLORIST FAMILY CULTIVATES A WINNING BUSINESS MAKING YOUR AD COPY BETTER THAN GOOD
NEW RULES OF RETAIL ARE YOUR REMOTE WORKERS COVERED?
Apr 2022 / May 2022 The official publication of Michigan Retailers Association
contents “Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it, and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: hard work – and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.”
B/A Florist: A mother/ daughter labor of love By: Shandra Martinez Flower shop flourishes under daughters after mom planted seeds
– Lucille Ball
RETAILERS.COM RETAILERSINSURANCE.COM BUYNEARBYMI.COM
Making your ad copy not just good, but great By: Miguel Ferreira Learn the difference from an industry expert
How retailers can thrive as post-pandemic shopping habits evolve By: Shandra Martinez Retail Reality’s Sarah Donnelly gives tips on building loyalty
Visit us online to see what’s new in the industry and what services we provide members to strengthen your business.
Are your remote workers covered? By: Donald Shampine Work from home is a new reality; time to check your policy
From the CEO Bill Hallan on recent updates that benefit members Note From the Editor Jennifer Rook looks for the new roaring 20s Legally Speaking Tom Clement reviews workers comp. coverage for independant contractors Capitol Update Amy Drumm shares what’s in store for Retail’s Night Out In Their Own Words North Coast Landscaping’s Blake Tuttle lays the foundation for facing challenges head on Catch-All Drawer News you can use Milestone Members
Are thieves shopping your site for fraud? By: John Mayleben
John provides advice on how to stop online credit card fraud
From the Archives
Apr 2022 / May 2022 – 3
FROM THE CEO
Serving Our Members 24/7
BY: WILLIAM J. HALLAN
President & CEO of Michigan Retailers Association
Scholarships The MRA Foundation recently increased its scholarship award by more than double to $3,500. The MRA Foundation will award 12 scholarships for the 2022-2023 academic year. The application period ends on April 1 and winners will be notified and announced in the upcoming weeks. RIC Save 10 discount To help Retailers Insurance Company policyholders save money on their workers’ compensation insurance, we introduced a 10% discount for policyholders that enroll in another MRA service, such as our credit card processing. Consider it our version of a multi-policy discount.
Every Monday, the Michigan Retailers Association management team meets to collectively review all our corporate activities and prioritize our work for the upcoming week. It’s a great opportunity to get everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction. We quickly bounce from one topic to the next and a fly on the wall might be challenged to keep up. While our pace is fast, our intention is deliberate. Our guiding purpose is to always determine how best we can serve our members, policyholders and merchants. In this article, I thought I’d give our members a look under the hood at some of the topics that were on our agenda at a recent meeting.
Credit card programs With the costs to operate a business increasing, we’ve developed new pricing options for our credit card merchants. Merchants now have the opportunity to pass credit card fees onto their customers through our surcharge program. Contact Darcy Gates, our Director of Sales, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.366.3699 ext. 374 if you’re interested. Labor Law Poster MRA members can request a free labor law poster at shop.retailers.com. Simply visit our website and we’ll mail one to your business. Organized retail crime The pandemic has exacerbated organized retail crime. As a result, we’re working on three legislative solutions to protect retailers: 1) $1.1M has been earmarked in the Governor’s proposed budget to develop an ORC task force within the Attorney General’s office; 2) Senate
Bill 691 would add organized retail crime as a predicate offense of racketeering; and 3) House Bills 5485-5487 would create new verification rules for third-party vendors that sell retail items via online marketplaces to prevent the sale of suspicious and fraudulent items. Retail’s Night Out Mark your calendars for Thursday, June 9 for a new member event. Retailers will gather in Lansing for an educational agenda followed by an evening reception at the Lansing Brewing Company. See Amy Drumm’s column on page 9 for more information. Most often our management discussions center on how best we can tell our members and prospective members about our services. We want our members to find value in their membership whether that is through our legislative advocacy, workers’ compensation program, or our merchant processing. We don’t always solve all of our problems on Mondays, but our purpose to serve our members is unwavering.
WILLIAM J. HALLAN MRA President and Chief Executive Officer
BY: JENNIFER ROOK
MRA Vice President, Communications & Marketing
Since I wasn’t around for the roaring 1920s, I was hoping that now as we are entering a postpandemic period (did I just jinx us by saying that?) that I’ll be able to experience the good times of the roaring 2020s. Unfortunately, as my son likes to say, “…and the hits just keep on coming.” As I write this, Ukraine is under siege and Russia is not backing off. I just paid $4.50 a gallon to fill up my husband’s car. And it looks like supply chain issues haven’t worked themselves out yet based on the limited quantities of items I saw on the shelves at my local grocery store.
“...it appears that patience may be defining the new period we’re in. That and trying to stay in the moment. Why? Because who knows what will happen next week?”
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
So Where Are the Roaring 20s I’ve Been Hearing About?
During a recent conversation I had with a business owner, I lamented about all these things. She just shrugged and said, “It’s just one more thing.” It wasn’t what she said that got my attention. It’s how she said it. Her tone was light, and her attitude was very “Dory” (as in Dory from Disney’s Finding Nemo). To elaborate, Dory’s attitude when chaos erupts around her is to calmly sing, “Just keep swimming. Keep swimming.” Whereas Nemo’s dad, who is in a perpetual state of panic, finds Dory’s attitude maddening. I realized that in my rush to see life get back to normal, that perhaps my attitude lately is more in line with Nemo’s dad. With everything roaring around us, maybe just accepting things as they come seem to be normal now. When I think about the conversation I had with the business owner, I picked up on another characteristic that seems to be taking shape – patience.
Because who knows what will happen next week? Maybe that’s what the 2020s have in common with the 1920s – living in the moment. Honestly, with everything that’s happening in the world, the moment is the best place to be. In this month’s issue… It’s hard not to talk about spring without mentioning landscaping. That seems to be the theme among our featured members – landscaping and flowers – (pages 6 and 10). We also reached out to our favorite retail consultant to get her take on the state of retail (page 14). In our tip areas, we discuss the art of copywriting (page 12), John Mayleben discusses how to identify credit card fraud on ecommerce sites (page 16), Donald Shampine covers policies for remote workers (page 15), and Tom Clement covers workers’ compensation coverage for independent contractors (page 8). Mark your calendar – Retail’s Night Out – June 9, 2022 in downtown Lansing We’re happy to bring you a new event this summer. This is your opportunity to network with other business owners to discuss the state of retail in our fair state. Amy covers the details in her column on page 9. Reserve your seat for this half-day event.
When I think about what retailers around Michigan have had to endure over the past two years – and their customers – it appears that patience may be defining the new period we’re in. That and trying to stay in the moment. Why?
Apr 2022 / May 2022 – 5
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
North Coast Landscaping Specialties – Landscaping, Lawn maintenance, Mowing, Tree care, Excavation Owner: Blake Tuttle Founded: 2006
Any new landscaping trends worth noting? Incoming trends include accent borders to patios and walls, landscape lighting, and outdoor kitchens.
Any trends on their way out? Trends going out of style are square 4” x 8” pavers and high maintenance garden beds.
Who is your biggest inspiration? My parents. The both pushed me and helped me become the man I am today.
What are you listening to lately? Industry professionals Keith Kalfas and Brandon Vaughn’s Map to a Million.
After working part-time for minimum wage at a local restaurant, Blake Tuttle did the math: work for an hour for minimum wage, or cut grass for an hour and make at least triple that. The choice was clear, he wanted to mow. By the time Tuttle headed to Michigan State University to study agriculture, he had nearly 60 loyal customers. Many more customers later, Tuttle shares what he anticipates will be a historical year.
get the materials and plan out everything. There were some materials that we just couldn’t get last year, like certain stones. Scheduling was tough, especially when a customer paid us in the spring and had to be scheduled later than anticipated because of material delays. Some customers opted to go with natural stone or their second or third choices just to get the project done. We had to compromise and improvise.
Working in Northeast Michigan
Cause for concern
Our area is special. We get more tourism traffic in the summer as people come to spend time on Lake Huron. Our population during the summer is around 6,000. In the winter it’s closer to 1,000. We have a lot of snowbirds that go south to get out of the cold. We do more commercial snow-plowing then.
The labor shortage was worse in 2021 than in 2020. We don’t anticipate it being an issue this year. I have a core group of full-time workers out in the field and Missy Pehrson, my designer and sales associate, in-office. We typically have some part-timers or college students help during the summer as well. This year, we believe we have what we need to get the jobs completed.
As far as our most requested service, landscaping is number one. That includes mowing, tree care, and upkeep. We recently expanded into excavation projects around Lake Huron where 90% of our customers live. Because erosion and high-water levels continue to impact the lakeshore, we’re doing more shoreline projects that involve placing two- to four-thousand pound limestone boulders to protect the homes. No slowing in 2020 At the start of the pandemic shutdown in 2020, the local police allowed us to continue working on the lakeshore homes because some of the houses were being undermined and washing out. We stayed busy placing rocks to protect homes from being damaged or washed away. Plus, with more people staying home and wanting to enjoy their own homes, we’ve seen an increase to create new outdoor living spaces or tidy up the space they currently have. Booking up and planning ahead This is the first year in the history of our business that we have jobs booked through spring that were contracted last fall. Most people when they call you, they know it’s not going to happen in the next few weeks. It takes time to
3266 E. Huron Rd., Au Gres, MI 48703
At the moment, I’m very concerned about the soaring price of gasoline. At $4.00 a gallon, that’s double what we were paying a couple years ago. Just last year, I spent nearly $40,000 more on gas alone because we have eight trucks. On top of that, we have maintenance costs like oil changes and tire replacements. In the end, the people paying for it is the customer. It all adds up. It’s tough on all of us.
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Apr 2022 / May 2022 – 7
Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Independant Contractors CONTACT THOMAS
Appropriate insurance coverage and the associated premium are calculated risks for both consumer and insurer. Life insurance is the best example. As a consumer, we try to determine what our family will need without knowing the critical variables of when the proceeds will be needed and what our financial condition will be at the time. The insurance company, on the other hand, needs to assess risk by considering factors such as life expectancy and pre-existing health, while also establishing a premium that is competitive. Workers’ comp. has comparable, but not identical considerations. Workers’ comp. is a legal requirement for many business owners and premium is based largely off of employee count and claims history. Therefore, the focus of a business owner is on managing premium based upon existing variables they can control. In its basic form, the underwriting process for a workers’ comp. policy considers the number of employees, type of business, risks associated with the work performed and company claim history. A business owner may see the underwriting process as simple enough in that all they can control is the number of employees they have and the safety measures put in place. In a way this is true. Although not the subject of this article, safety measures are critical to avoiding injury, thereby keeping claims, and ultimately premiums, down. Employee count, however, is not quite as simple as it appears. Michigan Compiled Law 418.171(1) requires any employer (or “principal”) who contracts with someone who is not subject to the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act (the “WDCA”) or is subject to the WDCA and fails to comply, to pay for an injury compensable under the Act as if that person was an employee. Stated differently, if you hire independent contractors www.retailers.com
BY: THOMAS CLEMENT
MRA Vice President, Operations & General Counsel
(or their subcontractors) who are either not subject to the Act or not in compliance with it, and they suffer a workplace injury, you may be on the hook, the same as if they were your employee.
“...the focus of a business owner is on managing premium based upon existing variables they can control.” While this seems unfair, it is not without public policy value. It is important that those injured on the job are fairly compensated as the Act intended. Under the factual scenarios contemplated by the Act, the employer or principal, and their insurance company, have been determined to be the ones best in position to do so. The employer does, however, receive some legal protection. MCL 418.171(2) provides that the employer is entitled to indemnification from the contractor (or subcontractor). While this provides a path to recovery, it can require costly litigation and you may be pursuing someone who is uncollectible. Additionally, the employee cannot double dip and is barred from a common law action against the contractor if benefits are accepted from the
principal. This leaves open the possibility that a suit against the contractor may be more inviting than workers’ comp. benefits. With MCL 418.171 in play, your actual employee count becomes more difficult to ascertain. On a day-to-day basis, the number of contractors coming through most businesses can be significant and, if a claim is made pursuant to this statute, it will likely have a negative impact on your future premiums. A best practice to avoid this scenario is entering into agreements with contractors, prior to the start of the relationship, that include a provision on workers’ comp. coverage. Ideally, that agreement should include a copy of the declaration page of the contractor’s workers’ comp. policy. If, for some reason, the declaration page cannot be provided, the contractor should be required to expressly affirm that they are subject to the WDCA and that they have coverage in place. In the event you do elect to hire a contractor without coverage, thereby exposing your business to additional risk, this should be disclosed to your insurer. While this may increase premium in the short term, your coverage will be based on actual risk and avoid future premium spikes due to unanticipated exposure. Ensuring adequate coverage and managing premiums across various lines of insurance is complicated. Fortunately, the variables in workers’ comp. coverage are fairly straight forward. When it comes to independent contractors, however, it is not as cut and dry as it first appears. Determining workers’ comp. coverage status for independent contractors will help you to properly assess your risk exposure and manage premium in the long run.
BY: AMY DRUMM
MRA Senior Vice President, Government Affairs
make it worthwhile – and let’s be honest, it’s far from the same if we host a Zoom webinar. While technology is great and has allowed for creative workarounds when we couldn’t be together, we’re all a bit Zoom-ed out lately. The educational session Our keynote presentation will be on how retailers can take advantage of “The Roaring Twenties: Better Sales & Marketing in a Post-Pandemic Decade” presented by buyer behavior expert Shawna Suckow, CSP, CVP, CMP. Shawna will share her latest findings on where we are and what’s next including case studies to give you the relevant steps you can take now to be successful.
Join us June 9 for Retail’s Night Out How long has it been since you’ve been able to connect with fellow retailers, share insights, hear from experts, and network? Probably too long – which is why MRA is excited to be hosting our June 9 Retail’s Night Out event. Check out our inside cover on how to register for our early-bird pricing – just $50 a person – available until May 1. After May 1, individual tickets will be $75. We know your time is valuable, so we’ve condensed the event and program into a half-day educational session packed with interesting topics and panels, followed by games, networking, and dinner in a casual setting. You deserve a night out and we want to
The Power of Connecting
Attendees will learn how customers have evolved as a result of the pandemic, and what businesses need to do to adapt. She’ll share up-to-the-minute insight into the best ways to connect with buyers of all kinds. Discover what tools are working right now to break through the noise and stand out in this changed economy and world. Can’t wait for the presentation? Pick up a copy of her latest book by the same title but you’ll want to join us for her Michiganspecific insights. To break the formatting up we’ll have two panel discussions, one on organized retail crime (ORC) – it’s more than just shoplifting, and a legislative panel with leaders from the Michigan House and Senate.
partner with law enforcement to curb ORC activity. For the Legislative Panel, we’ve invited leaders from each party and each legislative chamber to share highlights of recent legislation and how an election year and redistricting chaos may impact the process and makeup next term. Senator Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) and House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) are both confirmed to join us on the panel with more to come. The panel will be moderated by Kyle Melinn, Editor and Co-owner of MIRS, Michigan Information and Research Service Inc, which has been voted Best Capitol News Coverage by Insiders. After 5 p.m. networking and takeaways After 5:00 p.m. we move the party over to Lansing Brewing Company for a cocktail hour, strolling dinner, and games with opportunities to win prizes. This is where we’ll focus on connecting and networking. We’ve got some fun ideas up our sleeve on how to break the ice. If the promise of networking and hanging out with your fellow retailers isn’t enough, you’ll want to stick around to play games to win prizes ranging from gift cards, to discounts, or free services. We’ll also have some additional attendee-only educational content shared after the event on hot topics like addressing the current labor shortage.
Attorney General Dana Nessel has confirmed she will be joining us on the Organized Retail Crime Panel to talk about her work creating an Organized Retail Crime Taskforce and Business Protection Unit at the state level. She will be joined by federal, state, and local law enforcement representatives to discuss what’s happening with ORC and how retailers can Apr 2022 / May 2022 – 9
FEATURE • B/A FLORIST Pictured left to right: Cheryl Fountain, Barbara Ann Hollowick, Laurie Van Ark
FLOWER SHOP FLOURISHES UNDER DAUGHTERS’ CARE, 43 YEARS AFTER MOM PLANTED SEEDS BY: SHANDRA MARTINEZ
The flower shop Barbara Hollowick started in 1979 has put down deep roots in East Lansing. Her daughters, who run the shop now, say their mom’s “titanium backbone” helped them weather the challenges of the pandemic. Barbara Ann “B/A” Hollowick was a divorced mom of three in her early 40s in 1979 when she decided to turn her love of plants into a business. Not only did she largely develop her business without family support, but she did it at a time when women had little access to capital. It would be nearly a decade before the passage of the federal law — the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 — that allowed women to get a business loan without a male co-signer. www.retailers.com
“I was fortunate that I never had to borrow money, so I never owed anyone any money,” said Hollowick, who started the business, B/A Florist, with about $300 in savings, a few vases, and flowers. In those early years, one wholesaler wouldn’t deliver flowers for big holiday orders, arguing it didn’t think the business had a chance of succeeding. The irony is that the male-owned, family-owned wholesale business closed more than two decades ago, while Hollowick’s East Lansing flower shop continues to flourish more than 40 years later. Daughter and owner Laurie Van Ark attributes the store’s resilience to her mother’s determination. “I always tell my mother that she has a titanium backbone. There are days where I might be whimpering about this or that, but I don’t have anywhere near the struggles she had,” Van Ark said. She and her older sister, Cheryl Fountain, still joke about Hollowick’s coffee mug that summed up her mantra: “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” Although Hollowick earned her business degree from Michigan State University right before she opened the store, she says she benefited from being the daughter of a retailer. Her dad, Harry Raskin, sold auto parts. Flower sales bloom During the Great Recession in the late aughts, Van Ark asked her mom how she put up with the stress of the economic uncertainty. “She said, ‘At the end of the day, I know I still have a roof over my head and food to eat, and this will pass.’ It makes me take one step back and really look at the bigger picture,” Van Ark said. “I’m sure she thought for many years that I wasn’t listening, but I did. I hear her voice all
the time when I struggle with this issue or that issue, and the past two years were definitely a challenge.” Hollowick began by selling plants and lean-to greenhouses. A few years later, she added a flower cooler. Soon, flower sales blossomed and the business shifted to serve that demand. Van Ark was a high school junior when the store opened in Okemos. She helped out after school and on the weekends before heading to nearby Michigan State University to study merchandise management and textiles with a plan to find a job designing car interiors. When she graduated in 1984, her mother made her an offer: join her for five years to see if she liked the family business. That year, the store relocated to an iconic house on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Hagadorn Road in East Lansing. Sister act Hollowick retired a decade ago after 33 years at the helm. At that point, Van Ark considered doing the same, but says B/A Florist not only gives her a livelihood, it also offers her a sense of purpose and community. “It’s really wonderful the bonds that we have created with so many people in the community,” Van Ark said. “We’ve seen families from one end to the other: when they’re getting married, when they’re having babies, when their babies grow up. It’s neat to be included in people’s lives like that.” Her sister returned to Lansing in 2013 after raising children and retiring from a career as an elementary school teacher in Arizona. “I really do enjoy the customer interaction,” Fountain said. Listening to customers about why they are sending the flowers is an essential part of
website help from college. Younger staff members also assist by taking photos and putting short videos on social media so people can get a peek at what’s available in the store. Most of the walk-in traffic at the store, at 1424 E. Grand River Ave., on a busy corner near MSU, is from students. MEMBER
“We have orders from all over the world, largely due to our proximity to MSU,” said Van Ark, adding there also are people locally who still prefer not to come into the store. “A lot of people would get on the website and they still call us because they want to talk about why they’re sending flowers.
online, searching for trends, and I’m very colormotivated,” said Van Ark. “I like to keep things fresh, while keeping in mind that we have many customers that like traditional styles and colors, so we don’t do away with that. We like to have both.” Wedding orders return As a florist, she has experienced her customers’ emotional low points during the pandemic, which have brought an increase in arrangements for funerals and flowers for elderly relatives who have been isolated in retirement or care facilities. Being close to that pain has been heartbreaking, Van Ark said.
the job, and no one on staff does it as well as Fountain, her sister says. “I’m always saying she is making us friends again. It’s really beautiful, the thank-you notes and emails, and the things people post on our Facebook page or Yelp reviews, about how nice we are to work with,” Van Ark said. “My sister is never too busy to listen.” Fountain’s decision to return to Michigan evolved out of the sisters’ habit of talking daily. “She’d call me on her way home from work, and we’d just problem-solve and laugh. We’d always end the conversation by saying, ‘Oh, if only we could work together.’ Then I retired, and one day it was like a light went on. I thought I could make that happen,” said Fountain, who was divorced with grown kids. She decided to put her house on the market and see what happened. When it sold instantly, she saw it as a sign and made plans to join the family business. “I love being with my family. My mom is very happy. We’re all very close, so it worked out nice for everybody.” Hollowick adds that she appreciates the family atmosphere her daughters have created for both longtime staff and customers. Emphasis on the website The sisters have appreciated having each other during the struggles of the past two years. The pandemic taught Van Ark to look at her business differently. She now puts a bigger emphasis on the company’s website, even though most orders come by phone. More time was devoted to creating packages and adding better descriptions. The updates were designed to make the website as helpful as possible for those who couldn’t come into the store. Van Ark credits her children — daughter Olivia and son David — for providing a lot of remote
Those little changes to our website had a fairly significant impact on sales.” The pandemic began with a forced closure after a major order of merchandise arrived at the warehouse. In recent months, the pendulum has swung. Supply chain shortages have driven up costs between 25% and 75%. For example, a funeral easel has doubled in price. With oil prices soaring, triggered in part by the RussiaUkraine conflict, Van Ark recently heard from a wholesaler that surcharges are now in effect in addition to price increases. When possible, she tries to work with local artisans. She has one who makes boxes out of planks from an old barn being taken down nearby. Part of the appeal for customers is that each box is unique and comes with a bit of Michigan history. As she has navigated the business challenges of the pandemic, she has also watched how the past two years have changed customers’ taste for floral designs. As people have embraced the outdoors during a time of isolation and remote work, there are more requests for designs that imbue elements of nature. There’s also been a significant uptick in plant sales.
“There’s a saying in our industry, ‘Say it with flowers.’ It’s so true, because people use flowers to express their sentiments, whether they’re happy or sad or trying to pick someone up or celebrate something,” she said. She knows her customers appreciate that extra level of service that comes with their commitment to supporting locally-owned independent retailers like hers. Wedding orders are returning. Brides are shifting away from traditional bouquets that are tightly constructed to a more loose and natural look. Van Ark couldn’t be happier to see this part of her business return after so many weddings were postponed or scaled back dramatically during the pandemic because of restrictions on large gatherings. “Now that people are getting married again, it’s like the sun finally came out,” she said. “It’s so nice to see people living their life again.”
“My goal is to continually bring fresh, new ideas, and color to the business. I am constantly Apr 2022 / May 2022 – 11
Copywriting: Real is Good, Interesting is Better BY: MIGUEL FERREIRA
MIGUEL FERREIRA, ENTREPRENEUR, PROLIFIC WRITER, FOUNDER OF THE NEWSLETTER, CREATIVE SAMBA, AND CEO OF TWO COPYWRITING AGENCIES – TEARDWN AND GREAT LANDING PAGE COPY – WROTE A FANTASTIC PIECE THAT MAKES THE CASE FOR WHAT MAKES GOOD ADVERTISING COPY MORE THAN JUST GOOD. THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON SUBSTACK.COM ON MARCH 4, 2022.
If you watch Kubrick’s movies, you’ll notice that he built his career based on this principle.
How it works. What motivates people to buy it. What makes people notice.
“Interesting” for Kubrick consisted of a distinct cocktail of ingredients. A nice blend of disturbing character relationships, obsession for details, a dramatic visual stye and a sarcastic, often pessimist perspective of life.
Facts alone don’t persuade. But storytelling based on facts can be very persuasive.
You see, Kubrick wasn’t interested in filming reality. Kubrick was more interested in gifting his fans with emotionally pleasing stories – and a rewarding aesthetic experience. Kubrick wanted to tell stories, but not any stories. Provocative stories.
Vintage Chemstrand ad, copy written by Judy Protas
Facts are facts, but facts alone aren’t enough to persuade people. “Full Metal Jacket” is considered by many as the greatest war film of all time. In 1985 when Stanley Kubrick was filming “Full Metal Jacket,” Actor Matthew Modene (playing Private James T. “Joker” Davis) finishes a take. Then he proudly says. “That felt pretty real.” Kubrick stares at Matthew. Then Kubrick replies, “Real is good. Interesting is better.” www.retailers.com
Stories that strike the right balance between communicating ideas and appealing to emotions. So, Kubrick could tap into people’s unconscious minds. That’s how Kubrick became one of the world’s most admired movie directors. Not because he created good films. But because he created totally new, artful, and raw worlds on film – like no other filmmaker could. If you think about it, good copywriters think a lot like Kubrick. Good copywriters know that anyone can state facts about a product. But making those facts come alive in an interesting and dramatic way is harder. That’s why good copywriters are obsessed with details. Like all the silly little facts and information behind a product. How it’s made.
Vintage Ohrbach’s ad, copy written by Judy Protas
No matter what you’re selling, writing good copy is essential to capturing your readers’ attention.
Takeaways for Your Business
1. Using real product facts is good. Dramatizing facts and making them interesting is even better. 2. Copy that states facts without any imagination runs the risk of being perceived as mere exhibitionism. And exhibitionism won’t impact the customer. Or, as copywriting legend Judy Protas once said, “Copy is not a question of writing cute stuff, but of selling hard and being fresh while you sell.”
Here are the top 10 best copywriting books that will change the way you think about writing: 1. Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz
6. Finding the Right Message by Jennifer Havice
2. Made to Stick by Dan and Chip Heath
7. Never Split the Difference by Tal Rahz and Chris Voss
3. The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert
8. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
4. Influence by Robert Cialdini
9. Building Distinctive Brand Assets by Jen Romaniuk
5. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
10. How to Write a Good Advertisement by Vic Schwab
3. People buy emotion, then justify with facts. So, use style elements to write more vividly. Vivid language makes your copy more persuasive. 4. How do you make facts come alive and present them dramatically and in a memorable way? Learn from the world’s best copywriters. Copywriter Tony Brignull has a tip for this: “Treat adjectives and adverbs as if they cost $500 each, but verbs are free.” 5. Hard facts are always, always more effective than making vague claims. But learn how to present them persuasively.
Apr 2022 / May 2022 – 13
FEATURE • SARAH DONNELLY
How Retailers Can Thrive as PostPandemic Shopping Habits Evolve implemented Facebook live events had a leg up because their customers knew exactly where to go. Many retailers continue to have live events on the same days each week so they have their audience trained. Consider sharing a preview of things to come. If you’re not sure if it’s worth your time, consider this: Large conglomerates like QVC are doing livestreaming in addition to their cable channels, which shows the power of the streaming audience.
BY: SHANDRA MARTINEZ
As more shoppers turn online for their shopping, Retail Reality’s Sarah Donnelly gives tips about how independent retailers can continue to build a loyal customer base. Behaviors changed during the pandemic, especially when it came to shopping. So the million-dollar question is: what will stick and what will revert as fears of COVID fade away? “I don’t see any of the buying habits going away for customers, meaning they want what they want, when they want it, and how they want to get it,” said Sarah Donnelly, former director of retail at TechTown in Detroit and now a consultant with her business, Retail Reality, a consulting firm dedicated to supporting independent retailers seeking to remain relevant in an always-changing commerce environment. Donnelly has helped hundreds of retail entrepreneurs develop their brands, launch their locations, and grow their sales and operations.
experience feel personal by greeting people by name and remembering their preferences. If they are in your store, there is a reason. It is more productive to nurture your repeat customers, rather than spend time recruiting new ones. Value loyalty While the way you care for shoppers in your store is key to creating this bond, you can do the same with virtual interactions. Make it easy for customers to be loyal in the way that makes the most sense for their lifestyle by offering as many options as possible to buy things from you, whether that’s via a social media link, email or phone. If a customer cannot come into the store, try offering a video chat appointment.
In a world where people can get anything from anywhere, the only differentiator that retailers have is the service they provide and the experiences they offer. The 20-year retail veteran thinks the retailers that are going to transition successfully from surviving to thriving will master these five areas:
Embracing technology Shoppers have embraced the efficiencies of ordering online over the past two years. While shipping can be expensive, the key is to roll the cost into the price or try a flat fee service. Another option is the now-ubiquitous hybrid model of buying online and using curbside pick-up.
Back to basics Clientele remains foundational. Long before there were customer relationship management systems to track frequent shoppers’ data, retailers knew how to make the shopping
Streaming events Livestreaming sales events were one of the big retail successes during the pandemic when many retailers were forced to close their doors or limit foot traffic. Those who had already
Engaging on social media Savvy retailers are engaging with customers on social media, whether that’s hosting events or answering questions, or even asking questions such as what products customers would like to see in livestreaming. Be willing to experiment. It might take some trial and error to figure out what channels work best for your customers. Once those are identified, consistency is key. Consider having a set schedule. It takes time to figure out where your customers follow you and where the sales actually happen. The benefit of online and social media is that you can make sales even when your store is closed or traffic is slow. “The goal is to make your sales even if there is a snowstorm or whatever happens that shakes up the day to cause your walk-in traffic to shrink,” Donnelly said. “Then you already have your book of business because you have your clientele. It’s about not counting on one path for sales, but having multiple channels operating to service your customers - be it in-store, online, or livestream, just to name a few.” If you have questions for Sarah Donnelly, you can reach her at email@example.com.
Are My Remote Workers Covered on My Workers’ Comp. Policy? BY: DONALD SHAMPINE, CIC, CKM
President & CEO, Michigan Insurance Group Independent Agent of Retailers Insurance Company Are your remote workers covered under your workers’ compensation policy? Unfortunately, the answer is - sometimes. Much depends on the nature of the injury, as well as the details of the policy. Workers’ compensation is meant to provide benefits to employees whose injuries “arise out of and in the course of employment.” “Arising out of” means there must be a connection between the accident and the employment. “In the course of employment” means that the injury occurred while the employee engaged in a business activity. Often this is very clear when at your place of business but might begin to blur when employees are working remotely. In fact, it is common for employers to assume they don’t need workers’ compensation for their remote workers. Yet, claims history does not support this and although each case is unique, based on the specific circumstances of the claim, most have found that workers’ compensation was not only needed but legally mandated. To help protect yourself, you should have a remote working policy. This policy should include what positions are eligible for remote work, what the expected availability and responsiveness of the employee is, should include a method for time tracking, and have a clarification of duties and responsibilities while operating remotely. There should also be clarification about working from home versus working from anywhere. Can they work at the local coffee shop, at a friend’s house, or out of town? Can the employee move out of the area or out of state? Careful consideration should be given before allowing a remote employee to move as it may have implications to both you and your
employees with respects to local and state taxing authorities. Another issue is workers’ compensation laws change from state to state. You should establish a set of office standards for your remote workers. These standards should include your approved remote work hours. It is a good idea to invest in a time tracking tool that allows for clocking in and out. You should define the scope of work that can be done remotely and provide training and the tools necessary to properly execute their remote duties. Your remote working policy should include a process on how to file a claim if an accident or injury should occur and make certain the employee understands that they must notify you immediately. Failure to file a claim timely could jeopardize coverage and expose the business to potential fines and penalties. Maybe the most important thing you should do to ensure you have proper coverage is disclose the remote working positions to your insurance carrier. Disclosure to your carrier is going to be key to having coverage in place. Don’t assume your workers’ compensation policy will adjust to your changing business practices. Communicate with your agent about all business operational changes to ensure that your insurance carrier is aware, and the risks are still acceptable. Remote workers are likely here to stay, and if they’re part of your new way of doing business, you must make adjustments to ensure your insurance program supports you if you incur a loss.
Apr 2022 / May 2022 – 15
Ways to Monitor Your Ecommerce Site for Credit Card Fraud BY: JOHN MAYLEBEN
Owner, Next Corner Consulting Former Senior VP at MRA According to Michigan Retailer Association’s study of retail sales presented in its 2021 Buy Nearby Study, national ecommerce sales grew from 8.8 percent of total retail sales in 2017 to 10.7 percent in 2019, and then jumped again to 13.6 percent in 2020. Although this information is hard to delineate at a state-level, there’s no doubt that Michigan’s retail sector has likely undergone a similar transformation. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, adding ecommerce as a mode for selling has been critical for many Michigan retailers. Without it, more retailers would not have survived the pandemic. As online sales grow, so does fraud. As much as retailers have benefited from ecommerce sales, online credit card fraud has jumped significantly across the United States. According to LexisNexis, United States ecommerce merchants reported a 140 percent increase in fraud attacks since 2020. Furthermore, according to a recent article in Business Insider, card-not-present (CNP) fraud is predicted to grow by 14 percent in the next four years. One of the most common ways cyber criminals get stolen credit card numbers is through the dark web. Most visit a website on the dark web and buy stolen credit cards in bulk with the goal of testing them to find the ones that work. In 2019, there were at least 23 million stolen credit card numbers for sale on the dark web. That number has only increased since then. What does this fraud mean to your business? Think more chargebacks, penalties, lost revenue, and a new reputation among criminals that your business is an easy target. I say this often: fraud prevention is a journey, not a destination. Cyber criminals are very sophisticated and they change methods frequently and often. There are, however, three actions you can take that will help you prevent fraud during a transaction. They can expose a potential credit card theft in the making. www.retailers.com
1. Do you take notice if your terminal experiences an EMV chip malfunction?
2. Does your website require a three-digit security code for all online transactions?
While most of this article is related to ecommerce, one of the ways that bad guys use stolen card numbers is via a face-to-face transaction that is not “dipped” into the chip reader.
According to a 2021 Nilson Report on credit card fraud, the amount of money lost to card-not-present fraud in 2020 was six times greater than what merchants lost just one year earlier. Hence the need to make sure that any purchases made on your website require a security code.
Although most merchants use an EMV chip reader, terminals are set up to allow for transactions to be processed using a magnetic strip to accommodate older cards without chips, or cards with malfunctioning chips. This is the loophole that criminals are now exploiting. If a bad guy has a good card number (and the associated information from the mag stripe), they can encode that on a legitimate card and then damage the card’s EMV chip. This will force your terminal to accept a swipe (with the stolen card number on the mag stripe, instead of the legitimate card number). When they make a purchase, they insert the card in the chip reader, which will report an error because the chip cannot be read. Then, they will tell the clerk that they’re having problems with the EMV chip on their card and ask if they can complete the transaction by either swiping the magnetic strip or having the clerk key in the account number, bypassing the EMV chip reader all together. Take note, you need to be vigilant with your staff about always using an EMV chip reader. The major card networks have clear rules about this. If a merchant allows a customer with an EMV chip credit card to make a purchase by swiping the card in lieu of using the chip reader, any chargebacks filed against the transaction will automatically be found in the cardholder’s favor. Alert your staff to take note when this happens, especially if it is a high-ticket number such as jewelry, appliances, or a computer. If your EMV chip reader continues to fail, it may be time to upgrade your system.
A credit card security code, commonly known as the card verification value 2 (or CVV2) is the three or four -digit code usually found on the back of a credit card. The CVV2 provides an added layer of security by verifying that the purchaser is in possession of the card. To stay PCI compliant, you are not allowed to store CVV2 codes on your system. This helps in protecting customers from a data breach and makes it difficult for cyber criminals to get a customer’s CVV2. Not complying with global PCI Data Security Standards could result in hefty fines or even worse - the cancellation of your merchant processing access by the payment processor. 3. Does your website include a CAPTCHA as part of the checkout process? One of the problems that bad guys have is figuring out if the card numbers that they bought on the dark web are still active and “good.” A common online technique used by criminals is to access websites to test a group of stolen cards by conducting low-amount transactions, usually $1 or $2 to find the cards that are still active. This type of account testing is known as “card tumbling.” One of the major consequences of being a victim of a card tumbling attack like this is the substantial fees your account can occur if the scale of the attack is significant. Some examples of fees include authorization, clearing and settlement, interchange, and gateway transactions.
Anything you can do to slow down the process of getting an authorization attempt on a transaction keeps card tumblers at bay. This is where including a CAPTCHA as part of your online checkout process plays a critical role. According to Dictionary.com, the origin of CAPTCHA stands for “completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart.” It is a type of challenge-response test used to determine whether the user is a human or a bot. To pass the test, users must interpret distorted text by typing in correct letters into
a form field. In the case of a re-CAPTCHA, the user is required to identify a set of objects in a photo. Although CAPTCHAs receive their fair share of critics, they’ve done a tremendous job in protecting ecommerce sites from brute force attacks.
not a destination. It is something that you should be paying attention to regularly. As always, if you have questions about this issue or any other merchant processing issue, please don’t hesitate to contact our customer service team at 800.563.5981.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, this process of protecting yourself is a journey,
Halt Ecommerce Fraud
Beyond the obvious fraud attempts that are easy to spot, the rest require intuition. Here’s a guide to help you and your staff spot suspicious transactions.
New customer or repeat customer?
Should you limit IP ranges to only the U.S.?
Review new customers more aggressively than repeat ones.
Is there any reason to allow someone from overseas access to your website?
Are the billing and shipping addresses different?
Perform address verification (AVS). Only good for U.S. & Canada addresses
Consider prohibiting international sales. The opportunity for bad behavior is just too great.
Develop a plan for purchases that don’t match addresses. • Small purchase - no issue. • Medium purchase - no issue, but dig deeper if the transaction seems questionable.
• Large purchase - don’t ship to any address if you don’t get a positive match on the billing address.
Small-, medium-, or large-ticket purchase? Develop a plan for purchase thresholds.
• Small purchases - not worth spending the time to check. • Medium purchases - have a few touchpoints that you can easily validate, if not, then decide if you want to dig deeper. • Large purchases - spend the time to do a deep dive on them.
• Extra-large purchase - only ship to billing address, and require a signature.
Perform a search on Google Maps to confirm location. Does it seem to fit the order?
Does the purchase look unusual? (If so, don’t believe it.) • 3,000 Caesar salads with money wired to a shipping company.
Do you have an established shipping policy? • Are you willing to ship overseas? • To a U.S. territory? • To a P.O. Box?
Is the purchase a popular item or is it something with little resale value?
Ask “Why me?” and not someone who is closer to the consumer/more well known than you...
• Racing tires to Africa with money wired to a shipping company. • Granite gravestone with money wired to a shipping company.
Never wire money or cut a check for an overpayment or refund.
Apr 2022 / May 2022 – 17
THE CATCH-ALL DRAWER
The Catch-all Drawer GENERAL TIPS FOR CREDIT CARD PROCESSING •
• • •
Ingenico iCT220 terminals are no longer compliant. The terminal will display a “GeoTrust Certificate Expiring” alert which indicates the terminal must be upgraded. We have additional processing options available such as gateway, integration, mobile, contactless, wireless, etc. Call to discuss compatibility. To avoid duplicate processing, call customer service if you receive any type of error message when processing transaction. Key-entered transactions must also be imprinted to remedy a customer dispute. Pin-based debit transactions cannot be voided or reversed. Once the sale is entered, you must process a credit card refund to the cardholder. Please notify us of any business changes such as tax ID, ownership, email, or bank account. You may receive a call from our risk team requesting verification of the following transactions: -Amount is larger than your normal sale amount; -Key-entered sale; -Sale is missing address verification (AVS) or security code (CVV). Contact customer service at 800.563.5981, option 2, with any questions.
Pictured left to right: Kate Fabi, Customer Service Rep., Penny Sierakowski, Manager, Customer Service Dept., Tamara Baker, Senior Customer Service Rep., and Mari Aguilar, Customer Service Rep.
A NEW FACE AT MRA
Congratulations to our Customer Service team on reaching five years of 5-star customer survey ratings.
We welcomed Josh Delany as Graphic Designer in late February. He comes from Kalsec in Kalamazoo where he was a Graphic Designer within their marketing team. In his current role, Delany will head the design and layout of all print and digital materials for the MRA entities, including the Michigan Retailer magazine.
SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION PERIOD ENDS The annual scholarship application period closed April 1. Winners of the 12 one-year academic scholarships will be notified in mid-May. If you have questions regarding your application, contact Rachel Schrauben at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.366.3699, ext. 346.
DATA SECURITY COMPLIANCE Data security compliance is mandatory. You must complete an annual PCI Self-Assessment Questionnaire to verify your business is PCI compliant. You’ll receive an email via SecureEdge and ControlScan, or you can visit Compliance101.com to get started.
“I’m excited to join a team that provides the tools necessary for Michigan retailers to succeed and I look forward to being a part of the MRA story,” Delany said. Delany is a graduate of Williamston High School and has a Graphic Design degree from Lansing Community College.
Enjoy even better savings Members now save 40% on FedEx Express and 30% on FedEx Ground with the MRA Shipping Program. PartnerShip.com/41MRA 800-599-2902 • sales@PartnerShip.com
Swing by our booth at the Northern Michigan Gift Show for a demo of our new Retailers Point-of-Sale system conducted by Lindsey Tuggle, one of our Business Development Representatives.
Apr 2022 / May 2022 – 19
Milestone Members MEMBER
Hogan’s Jewelers Gaylord Becky Thatcher Designs Glen Arbor Playmakers Inc. Okemos (Left to Right) Laura Sabo, Nathan Sabo, Richard Sabo
Andy’s Tackle Box Melvindale
Grace Christian University Grand Rapids
Changeover Integration LLC Ludington
Grand Rapids Christian Schools Grand Rapids
Kassel’s Korner Inc. Marquette
Olree Chiropractic Inc. Hillman
Marquette Automotive Marquette
EPI PC Holland
Willson’s Flower & Garden Center Petoskey
Reader’s World Holland
New Heights Fitness Studio LLC Trenton
Holland Community Theatre Inc. Holland Washtenaw Dairy Ann Arbor Sugar & Spice Child Care Center Battle Creek Family Tavern Caledonia First Presbyterian Church of Caro MI Caro Self Lube Inc. Coopersville www.retailers.com
Kenya Hope Hudsonville Michigan Sheriff’s Assn Edu Svcs Inc. Lansing West Michigan Physical Therapy Ludington Ludington Daily News Ludington
Premier Components Inc. Alma
Hennessey’s Kitchen & Pub Clinton Township
Brian A Noonan DDS PLL Ann Arbor
College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving Clinton Township
A2 Auto Image LLC Ann Arbor Toni & Trish House for the cure of the Terminally Il Auburn Axiom Wiring Services LLC Beaverton Bryant’s Trucking & Excavating Bellevue Kalaj Construction Company LLC Bloomfield Hills FMFL Facilities LLC Buchanan S Custom Welds LLC Burtchville Center Line Auto Repair Inc. Center Line
New Members Andrea Bell dba First Choice Painting Clinton Township Westborn Fuels LLC Dearborn Zimba Dairy Inc. Deford Grandy’s Coney Island Detroit Louie’s Ham & Corned Beef Shop Inc. Detroit Zak Welding & Custom Work LLC Detroit Vander Haar Auto Repair Service Dorr Dairy Ranch Dorr C & K Heating & Cooling LLC East China Prime Cabinets LLC Farmington Hills
Bright Color Painting Rochester
MamaEatz Inc. dba Mama Eatz Farmington Hills
Skimmer Inc. Romulus
Superior Groundcover Inc. Grand Rapids J & B Cleaning Services Inc. Grand Rapids Brown’s Funeral Home Ltd. Grand Rapids
Puzzles That Rock Charlevoix
Original Soo Lock Boat Tours Sault Sainte Marie
Michigan Tech Fund Houghton
Bread & Roses LLC Shelby Twp.
Range Ltd. Inc. dba Jim’s Food Mart Houghton
Vartani Jewelers Inc. Southfield
Dutch Farms Illinois
Northline Dental Southgate
Mimi’s Taqueria LLC Interlochen
Pheasants Forever Chapter 549 St Paul
C2 Machining LLC Kentwood
Sturgis MI Lodge No1381 BPOE of USA Sturgis
St Simon Church Ludington Robert Hasbany MD PLLC Madison Heights
Year opened/started: 2009
Home Builders Association of the UP Marquette
Best business advice given or received: Do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.
Kerber Rose Wealth Management LLC Marquette
Favorite thing about Charlevoix: Spring & fall Recent book, show or podcast you binged: Chop Wood, Carry Water Dimitries Town & Country Restaurant Cherfield Lelantos Transport Chesaning
Vineyard & Brew Shoppe dba Penny’s Kitchen Sault Sainte Marie
Ice Diamond Pawn Shop Hamtramck
Owners: Lisa & Matt Claflin Specialties: Made in the USA
Paint Bull International Inc. Saginaw
HNS Diamond Co Southfield
B2C2E LLC dba Riviera Theater Bar Three Rivers Nature’s Edge Fine Stone Products Traverse City NAAMS LLC Troy
Superior Asthetics Marquette
MD Painting LLC Troy
Wolverine Buckeye Ent LLC Morenci
Macomb Logistics LLC Warren
Architectural Iron & Aluminum Mount Clemens
The Mehr Group LLC Washington
Gilboe’s Lock & Safe LLC Mount Pleasant
Austin Jordan Engines Wyoming
P&L Coney Island dba Big Nick’s Coney Island Pontiac
Roodbergen Pools & Spas -Kalamazoo Inc. Portage
Royal Granite Inc. Ypsilanti
MI Local Hops LLC Williamsburg
InterClean Equipment LLC Ypsilanti
Robert B Corp dba Marko’s Cozy Diner Redford Apr 2022 / May 2022 – 21
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Michigan Retailer (May 1962) Vol. 8 Issue 1 Every now and then, we stumble upon gems from our archives. With summer hiring season nearing and the current labor shortage affecting retailers, here’s a throwback ad on hiring in Michigan.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MICHIGAN RETAILERS SERVICES, INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS
603 South Washington Avenue Lansing, Michigan 48933
Bo Brines Chair Little Forks Outfitters, Midland
William J. Hallan President & CEO
Phone: 517.372.5656 or 800.366.3699
William J. Hallan President & CEO Michigan Retailers Association
Bill Golden Vice Chair Golden Shoes, Traverse City Peter R. Sobelton Treasurer Mondial Properties, Birmingham
ABOUT US Michigan Retailer (USPS 345-780, ISSN 0889-0439) is published in February, April, June, August, October, & December by Michigan Retailers Association. 603 South Washington Avenue Lansing, Michigan 48933 Periodical postage paid at Lansing, Michigan Postmaster: Send address changes to 603 South Washington Ave., Lansing MI 48933. This publiction may be recycled with white office paper.
Rachel Hurst Kroger Co. of Michigan, Novi John Leppink Leppink’s Food Centers, Belding Joe Swanson Target, Retired
Becky Beauchine Kulka Past Chair Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Okemos Kim Edsenga Meijer, Inc., Grand Rapids
Dan Marshall Marshall Music Company, Lansing
William J. Hallan Publisher
Orin Mazzoni, Jr. Orin Jewelers, Northville
Jennifer Rook Editor
Joseph McCurry Credit Card Group
Rachel Schrauben Copy Editor and Content Manager
Bryan Neiman Neiman’s Family Market, St. Clair
Josh Delany Design and Layout
Barb Stein Great Northern Trading Co., Rockford
Shandra Martinez Contributor
Thomas Ungrodt TDU Consulting, LLC, Ann Arbor
Steve Jessmore, Josh Delany and Lisa Reibsome Photographers
D. Larry Sherman Board Member Emeritus
Chad Ayers Allendale True Value, Allendale
With every issue, we reach retail owners, managers, and executives who make spending decisions for 15,000 stores and websites across the state. To request a media kit, email Rachel Schrauben at email@example.com
R E TA I L E R 603 South Washington Avenue Lansing, Michigan 48933 Phone: 517.372.5656 or 800.366.3699 Fax: 517.372.1303
Look For Your 2021 Annual Report Coming in April