Los Angeles Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect
As of January 1, Los Angeles will become the largest city in the United States to implement a ban on plastic bags. Read Article
Consumers shopping in supermarkets and stores in Los Angeles that are larger than 10,000 square feet or have more than $2 million in annual sales will have to bring their own reusable bags or pay 10 cents for each paper bag they need. Beginning July 1, the bag law will apply to smaller stores such as mini-marts, as well.
“I think we have all seen a push throughout the world to get rid of disposable items like these plastic bags,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian. “We use them for about 15 minutes and then it takes hundreds of years for them to break down. In the United States, we use about 200,000 plastic bags every hour. And the city has to spend millions to clean up the damage caused by the bags through litter or clogging up storm drains or in the water. We shouldn't be squandering that money, which can be spent on other things.”
Los Angeles, which is one of about 90 cities or counties in California alone that have passed plastic bag ordinances, has also been working to educate residents of the coming changes. The city's Bureau of Sanitation has been handing out nearly 500,000 reusable bags and hosting a series of events leading up to the January 1 change. “There is a need for education and we know there are going to be people who come into the stores who will be caught by surprise,” said Enrique Zaldivar, head of Los Angeles' sanitation department. “There are always going to be people who have not heard about it or thought it was coming later.”
Holiday Sales Rise On Discounts
More promotions and heavy discounting pushed holiday retail sales higher this year, according to data from the most recent MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse report. Read Article
Between November 1 and December 24, sales increased 3.5%, which is a significant rise over the 0.7% gain recorded during the holiday season in 2012. The 2013 growth was the biggest jump in the last three years.
“Holiday sales were a clear improvement over last year's weaker numbers,” said Sarah Quinlan, a senior vice president at MasterCard Advisors. “One clear bright spot is that many consumers who were stuck indoors turned to online shopping to check items off their list and that helped drive e-commerce growth.”
Jewelry was the best-performing category, while apparel sales grew modestly. Consumers spent less than forecasted, though, on electronics and luxury items, the report showed. MasterCard Advisors also said larger retailers performed slightly better than smaller companies this holiday season.
In separate findings released by tracking firm comScore, online holiday sales increased 10% this season, led by Amazon, which sold more than 36.8 million items worldwide on Cyber Monday alone. Across all retail websites, mobile devices made up a record 48% of online traffic this year – a 28.3% rise over 2012. Tablet users, on average, spent $98.61 per order, while smartphone users spent $85.11.
Meanwhile, brick and mortar stores were hurt by less customer traffic, as U.S. store visits dropped 21% through December 21, ShopperTrak reported. RetailNext estimated that in-store holiday sales declined the weekend before Christmas, leading analysts to predict retailers will continue discounting into the New Year.
Companies To Increase Content Marketing Investments
A new survey from research company NewsReach reports that companies will increase their spending on content marketing in 2014 as they look to appeal even closer to their customers. Read Article
Using venues ranging from blogs and web postings to a variety of social media outlets, companies are intensifying their focus on content marketing so they can engage their intended audiences as closely as possible.
Content marketing has become so vital to many companies that they're increasingly outsourcing the creation of it. In 2012, 58% of companies did not outsource at all, but that figure decreased this year to 50% of companies that create content solely in-house. In addition to spending more on developing clear strategies and creating compelling content, brands may also look to invest more in testing and analysis, content seeding and paid content discovery, according to respondents. “You will see more brands buying actual media companies in 2014,” said Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute.
With content marketing becoming a full-blown strategy for many companies, automation and technology are also playing an increasing role in the administration of the process. “The more sophisticated content marketing becomes, the more difficult and labor-intensive it is to manage, and we're at the stage now where a lot of marketers are going to be looking to technology to make their lives easier,” said Chris Trimble, director of content at NewsReach parent company Axonn Media. “Currently there's little in the way of quality tech designed specifically to help with content marketing. This will certainly change.”
The Joe Show: Products For The New Year
In this episode of The Joe Show, Managing Editor Joe Haley shows off a variety of products perfect for upcoming client campaigns. Read Article
Looking for some items that are sure to liven up any party or celebration? How about a product that would appeal to on-the-go consumers or commuters? Watch The Joe Show for new product and promotional ideas.
Click here to watch this new-products episode of The Joe Show.
Podcast: Are You A Top-Notch Entrepreneur?
The hosts of the Tuesday Morning Show on ASI Radio recently interviewed special guests Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O'Leary, stars of the ABC business reality show Shark Tank, to find out their secrets of entrepreneurial success.
The duo discussed business ideas and execution, the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make and how to reduce risk. Plus, Corcoran and O'Leary explained exactly what they look for when deciding whether to invest in a business or not.
Click here to listen to the complete interview. Also, don't forget that Corcoran and O'Leary will be keynoters at ASI Orlando on Tuesday, January 7. Go to www.asishow.com for more information.
ASI Radio: New Year's Resolutions On today's Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts offered up some of their own New Year's resolutions and provided advice for business resolutions that listeners should implement immediately. Plus, we revealed our Favorite Things, detailed five ways to be a better salesperson in 2014, and debated why so many companies are using failed business plans.
If you missed the show, a recording is now available at www.asicentral.com/radio. And, don't forget to join us for our next broadcast – Tuesday, January 7. Log on at 10:30 a.m. ET to listen to the show – and give us a call at (215) 953-4979 to hear your voice on the air.
CounselorUnveils Best Places To Work
At the inaugural Counselor Best Places to Work Conference, held recently in Santa Barbara, CA, Counselor magazine announced its 2013 ranking of the best workplaces in the industry. With a list of 85 distributors and suppliers, the Counselor Best Places to Work this year is headed up by supplier firm Crystal Impressions by Seaena (asi/47782). "It's truly a great honor to be number-one on the list," said Allison Robbins, one of the company's owners, upon finding out about the ranking. "We're a fun company that we all love spending time at."
Rounding out the top five on the 2013 Best Places to Work list are: Proforma Albrecht & Co. (asi/116308), Beehive Specialty (asi/135780), Royal Crest Promotions (asi/83740), and Clean Fun Promotional Marketing (asi/162979). Click here to view the complete ranking of the 2013 Counselor Best Places to Work list.
Vote In The Wearables Apparel Design Awards
Each year, Wearables names the best apparel and accessories in the industry – and we can't do it without your help. Your votes will determine the winners of our annual Wearables Apparel Design Awards. Choose the products you think are the best, considering design appeal, wearability and overall look.
Click here to vote. Voting will take place throughout December. And be sure to check out the February issue of Wearables to find out the winners.
In The News
Oraline (asi/75205) has announced that as of December 30 each of its divisions has been rebranded with its own unique logo and identity. The company will immediately begin the use of the new promotional division branding across all platforms including catalogs and a new website: www.brandedbrushes.com.
Proforma (asi/300171) Printing & Promotion announced that it is celebrating 15 years of being a family-owned business since its founding in 1999. Barry Resnick, and his two sons, Bill and John Resnick, have gotten their company recognition as a fastest-growing business by Boston Business Journal and Inc. magazine.
Starline (asi/89213) has announced the launch of the 2014 Full Line catalog and a New and Best Products edition where the supplier will be introducing new products totaling over 170 in all. Visit www.starline.com for additional information and to view the full list of products.
The Premier Promotional Group announced the addition of SanMar (asi/84863), Cutter & Buck (asi/52315), Norwood/Bic (asi/74400) and World Wide Line (asi/98290) to its supplier network.
People On The Move
Jetline (asi/63344) announced that it has hired Megan Zezzo as its regional sales manager for the Midwest. She will be responsible for representing the supplier in ND, SD, NE, MN, IA, MO, WI, IL, MI, IN, OH, and KY.
Thousands of distributors are headed to ASI Orlando for the first show of 2014 taking place Sunday, January 5, through Tuesday, January 7, in the North Hall of the Orange County Convention Center. Register today and plan to take advantage of everything that ASI Orlando has to offer!
The following are the dates and locations for The ASI Show in 2013 and 2014:
Orlando, January 5-7, 2014
Dallas, February 4-6, 2014
Long Beach, March 25-27, 2014
New York, April 3-4, 2014
Chicago, July 15-17, 2014