Canada's business magazine for traditional natural health retailers

The Decision Matrix

When an organization is going through rapid change, roles within the organization change, too, and not always  in a consciously thought-through manner. Expansions can result in forming new layers of positions.

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What is CASL and why do I need to comply with it

 casl lawa wendy hulton(CASL) came into effect back on July 1, 2014 and while Canada was late to the anti-spam movement, it caught up fast with one of the toughest and widest reaching anti-spam regimes to date.  


 

(CASL) came into effect back on July 1, 2014 and while Canada was late to the anti-spam movement, it caught up fast with one of the toughest and widest reaching anti-spam regimes to date.  

But CASL applies to much more than traditional “spam.”   CASL applies to all your electronic messages (think email, text, SMS, etc.) that you are sending in Canada, if any aspect of the message encourages participation in any kind of commercial activity.  You can stop reading this article now, if you already know that CASL (with a few exceptions) essentially prohibits sending commercial electronic messages (aka CEMs) to anyone in Canada without their consent.

 Under CASL, consent can either be “express” or “implied.”  Express consent is preferable because it remains valid until it is revoked.  In order to obtain express consent, you must clearly disclose: (1) what you are seeking consent to send (promotions, sales, etc.), (2) information identifying the sender, and (3) mention that the party may unsubscribe at any time.

Implied consent, for example, is valid for six  months from the date the recipient sent a request for a quote to the sender, unless withdrawn sooner.  Implied consent also applies if there is an “existing business relationship” between the sender and the recipient, based on the purchase of products or services between the parties within the past two year period preceding the date the CEM was sent.

CASL’s provisions allow CEM type messages to be sent without full CASL compliance in a B2B context such as messages sent within an organization, or by an employee, representative, consultant or franchisee to another employee, representative, consultant or franchisee of that organization, in connection with the activities of that organization or to another organization, if the organizations “have a relationship” and the message concerns the activities of the recipient organization.

Messages sent in the context of a “Family Relationship” or “Personal Relationship,” are also exempt.  In this case, “family” means individuals related by marriage, common-law partnership or a legal parent-child relationship and a personal relationship typically means individuals who have had in-person, voluntary, two-way communications where it would be reasonable to conclude that they have a personal relationship.

CASL also contains provisions that permit one commercial electronic message to be sent following a referral by any individual who has an “existing business” or “non-business relationship,” family or personal relationship with the person who sent the message and that discloses the name of individual that made the referral and the fact that the message is sent as a result of the referral.

So, what happens if you don’t comply with CASL?

You run the risk of potential significant penalties and lawsuits.  CASL provides for either actual damages or statutory damages of $200 for each violation, up to a maximum of C$ one million/day for individuals and C$10 million/day for corporate entities.  In determining the final amount of damages to award, courts analyze the personal/corporate history of the violator(s), the financial benefit obtained and the nature and scope of the violation(s).  Considering that marketing campaigns may involve millions of CEMs, potential damages under CASL may escalate very quickly. A person can seek to avoid liability for a violation by showing that it/he/she exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of the violation, among other common law principles. 

Examples CASL enforcement action over the last couple of years:

  • Compu-Finder

The first notice of a CASL violation involved 3510395 Canada Inc. (doing business as Compu-Finder), which was slapped with an administrative monetary penalty of $1,100,000 for repeatedly sending CEMs without recipients’ consent, as well as sending CEMs without a properly functioning unsubscribe mechanism.

  • PlentyofFish
  • In the second CASL case, PlentyofFish Media Inc. (PoF), the operator of the online dating web site Plenty of Fish, voluntarily entered into an undertaking with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in order to settle several alleged violations of CASL.  These included sending CEMs to registered users of its own web site that contained an unsubscribe mechanism that was not set out “clearly and prominently” and was not able to be “readily performed.”  PoF’s penalty was only $48,000.
  • Porter Airlines

In the third public CASL case, Porter also entered into a voluntary undertaking with the CRTC after Porter was found to have sent CEMs to email addresses for which it was not able to provide proof of consent, as well as sending CEMs that did not provide complete contact information required by CASL. Other CEMs sent by Porter either contained no unsubscribe mechanism or one that was not set out “clearly and prominently”, and there was at least one instance where the unsubscribe mechanism was not given effect within 10 business days as required by CASL. Porter’s penalty was $150,000 and Porter was obliged to take corrective measures such as updating its mailing list and ensuring that its CEMs met form requirements, as well as implementing a compliance program.

Rogers Media Inc.

Rogers Media paid $200,000 as part of an undertaking to resolve alleged violations of CASL. The CRTC’s investigation alleged that Rogers Media failed to comply with various CASL requirements between July 2014 and July 2015.  During this period, the company allegedly sent commercial emails containing an unsubscribe mechanism that did not function properly or which could not be readily performed by the recipient.  In addition, in some instances, the electronic address used to unsubscribe was allegedly not valid for the required minimum of 60 days following the sent message.  Rogers Media also allegedly failed to honour, within 10 business days, requests from some recipients to unsubscribe from receiving future commercial emails. 

Why should you be more concerned about CASL after Canada Day?

As of July 1 of this year, Canadians will also be able to launch private and class action lawsuits to collect damages for violations of CASL.  Because the CASL requirements are so broad, so strict and so easily violated, most people expect to see a flood of CASL-specific class action lawsuits.  The private right of action allows parties to sue for actual and statutory damages. Statutory damages could prove to be quite significant.  If your organization has cyber / privacy liability policies, you may want to determine whether they cover third-party claims, class actions and penalties arising out of privacy/CASL violations.   You may also want to check any applicable directors’ and officers’ liability policies, as they may exclude marketing or privacy violations.

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Why a project manager?

why a project managerWho is your project manager?” is one of the first questions I ask when I start working with a store on a design project. I’m often given a look that says, “What do you mean?

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Five things you can do to get your customers to buy more often 

dave fuller 1articleMy friend Aaron likes to tell the story about how he arrived at a hotel and how they greeted him at the car. Shortly after, a staff member said, “Aaron, you’re a Manchester United  fan, aren’t you?

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Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

The concept of emotional intelligence is now part of popular culture. Just as we each have an IQ or intelligence quotient that measures cognitive ability, some social scientists say we have an EQ or emotional quotient.

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Mixing marketing with interior design

Mixing marketing with interior design

Walking into a Whole Foods or a Loblaw’s is exciting for most people for so many reasons: the food smells simply incredible, the atmosphere is electric with the chatter of happy shoppers and the ring of the registers is almost soothing. These aren’t just circumstance - they are planned. Just like the floor you walk on and the perfectly lit product you race to.

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The price of survival

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of running a retail operation in the wellness industry in Canada is working with suppliers who have inconsistent or unsustainable pricing strategies.

The result is that retailers are left between a rock and a hard place and have to be very adept when setting their retail price.  Just high enough to maintain margins, but low enough to retain credibility.   Due to market conditions, online sales, and industry consolidation, this balance is and will become increasingly difficult.

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Building a sales system

Building a sales system

One of the keys to a business’s success, and a factor that needs to be paramount in the success of many small businesses, is the ability to relate to customers and sell his products and services.  While selling seems to come natural to a few people, to most of us entrepreneurs, it takes work and we need to understand that there is a science to it.  Below are the steps to being successful in selling.

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The Recommender

Perhaps the most important role in natural retailing is the role of the recommender... the person who helps choose which product will bring the greatest benefit and value to the end user, the consumer.

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Creating accountability

A manager of an independent natural food store, when her store was smaller, met individually with her department managers every week to talk about how things were going in the department. If this GM noted any performance issues in the department, she would bring them up in this meeting. She would ask if the manager wanted any help in strategizing how to address the issues. Sometimes they would go over “talking points” for the manager to use in a conversation with an employee.

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Capital budgeting without the headaches

For entrepreneurs without a strong financial background, the job of capital budgeting can seem overwhelming.  Capital budgeting – essentially the process of deciding how to invest excess cash within a company on items that are not regular “operational” items – covers a wide range of activities, and can include everything from purchasing a new piece of equipment to making a substantial investment in capital assets for a new location. 

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The Core Shopper

I believe the core shoppers of health food stores amount to about 15 per cent of Canadians.  The core shoppers are fully engaged with the natural health food store lifestyle.

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Running an impeccable front-end

Running an impeccable front-end

You can have great merchandising, selection and product knowledge. But customers’ experience checking out through your front-end can make or break your store. How people feel after that interaction determines how they feel about your company.

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Sales. profit, inventory

The three key areas to focus on in order to thrive are sales, profit and inventory.  Sales is generally the first focus of a business because without sales, there is no business. 

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Post-Expansion Burnout

Post-Expansion Burnout

You’ve been working on this project for several years. After overcoming every obstacle, putting up with countless delays, raising hundreds of thousands in financing, moving all your inventory, and staying up all night, you open the doors in your beautiful new store.

While the big push to get the new store open may seem like the hardest work you’ve ever done, a harder job lies ahead of you – getting through the next year or even two years. As a colleague of mine says, “You open the doors and then the hard work really begins.

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The advertising mix

The advertising mix

In the world of retail marketing, there is a huge choice of media, strategies and techniques that a retailer has at his or her disposal to promote their store.  Whether the objective is to create traffic with point-of-sale promotions, build the store brand or promote specific events… no matter the type of promotion, the tools available to reach the desired audience are collectively known as “the advertising mix.”

The concept of the advertising mix was developed in the early 1950’s. It is essentially a toolbox of different media and promotional techniques that a retailer chooses to fit the needs of their specific marketing objectives. For example, a retailer that has identified that their clientele are highly mobile, may decide to invest a portion of their marketing dollars into radio. It’s a great way to reach travellers – particularly to and from work – and it is an ideal media for high frequency and saturation. It is a very good fit for reaching this demographic.

Conversely, retailers drawing from a large geographic area may choose television for its vast coverage and multi-demographic reach. Retailers focused on specific age-groups or demographics may choose media or promotional techniques that are particular to those potential customers.  Trying to reach seniors?  Sponsor the weekly bingo or perhaps place ads in the senior’s newsletter. Promoting all-natural acne cream for teenagers? Try social media or on-line promotions. Over-stocked on protein powders and L-glutamine?  Try a coupon campaign in conjunction with your local fitness club.  Melatonin sales plateauing? Why not run ads after midnight on the local radio station? Trying to boost your cold and flu remedy sales? Perhaps a few well-placed ads on the Weather Channel will do the trick.

Each of these examples utilizes a specific advertising technique (or media) that is best suited to reach the desired audience. And each offers the optimum chance of capturing the attention of that market.

Since its inception, the advertising mix has evolved as the sophistication of the markets has intensified and as the number of promotional ‘tools’ has increased. For many years, newspaper, radio and television advertising were the stalwarts of the mix. Nowadays, a retailer can also utilize direct mail, couponing (with instant gratification via UPC scanning), live and video in-store marketing concepts, outdoor advertising, transit advertising, google ads, facebook, instagram, twitter and the whole realm of social media,  websites, web sales and webinars, guerrilla marketing (flashmobs to promote your new location?), product placements, email campaigns, public relations (a column in your local newspaper is unbeatable), community outreach programs, award, team and event sponsorships, QR codes, branded store promotional items, free samples, and so on and so on.

Your ability to reach your market(s) – those groups of customers that make up the largest percentage of potential customers – will ultimately determine the techniques that will give you the best return on your investment. Choose wisely. But take note, everything you do to promote your store is a really good thing. Just do it, do it well and do it often.  •  by Doug Muldoon

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Mission-driven employees

Mission-driven employees

It’s fair to say that most employees of natural food retailers choose to work there because they believe in what the store does.

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Lead with your heart, manage with your head.

Lead with your heart, manage with your head.

While shopping at my local health food store not so long ago, I struck up a conversation with a fairly shy young woman about what she was demoing. 

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Remember your first time?

Remember your first time?

That first taste of delectable cherries, sugary baby watermelon, or ripe fully flavoured summer tomatoes?

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Choose structured interviews to make better hires

Extensive research on job interviews shows that structured interviews are more accurate than unstructured ones in predicting which applicants will make good employees. By “structured,” researchers mean that the interviewer uses a consistent format with all candidates, asking the same questions in the same order.

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CNHR News Podcast

cnhr radio hour

News, Views and Happenings in the world of Canadian Natural Health.

Check out this month's podcast here

Next Issue

Annual Supplier Profile issue.  FREE full page ad

Open doors for your sales team.       

A Supplier Profile in CNHR will help in other ways, including opening doors for your sales team and introducing yourself and your products to the more remote retail stores that can’t be visited on a regular basis.

Here’s how it works: It’s basically a two-for-one – when you buy a full page ad, you get a second full page for free to tell retailers about your products, your staff, what makes you different from your competitor. The same applies if you buy a half-page ad: you get the second half page for free to tell your story. It’s the chance for you to give store owners, managers and buyers an inside look at your company, and help them to get to know you a bit better. 

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