We look forward to the DIRECT Conference each year, however, this year’s conference promises to be the most exciting yet! Here are some reasons we are excited.
1. Our amazing keynote speaker, Zingerman’s Co-Owner & Founding Partner, Ari Weinzweig
What can a deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan teach the world about building a business that is both culture-driven and wildly profitable? Plenty, as it turns out, and Ari Weinzweig, Co-Owner and Founding Partner of the acclaimed Zingerman’s Delicatessen is on a mission to do just that.
In his keynote presentation at DIRECT, Weinzweig will share his visionary approach, which has propelled the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (ZCoB) to success, including the “natural laws of business” as introduced in his book, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading: Part 1, A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business. He is known for his engaging and eclectic public speaking style, which fuses humor with practical instruction.
In addition to writing a series of books, Weinzweig has translated his model into a program dubbed Zingtrain, which facilitates training for diverse companies around the country, including Domaine Carneros Winery. “We have used the Zingtrain model to revolutionize our business,” said Eileen Crane, Domaine Carneros’ CEO. Weinzweig’s speech promises to be an unforgettable start to DIRECT 2014; you won’t want to miss it!
2. New two day format = more time for ShipCompliant University!
For the first time, the DIRECT Conference will be spread throughout the course of two days, May 8 and 9, in order to deliver more content and value to participants than in previous years.
Day 1 will be focused on Strategies for Wine Sales Success, filled with valuable information for winery executives and anyone interested in shipping wine, including winery owners, tasting room managers, compliance professionals, financial teams, shipping managers and more. In addition to Weinzweig’s keynote presentation, the agenda will include a look at the changing industry with ShipCompliant CEO Jason Eckenroth, state-by-state legislative updates with Steve Gross (Vice President, State Relations, Wine Institute), a panel of leaders in the industry, and an exhibitor showcase. Check out the full line-up of industry focused breakout sessions and speakers.
Day 2 will be fully centered around ShipCompliant University, a series of offerings focused on delivering education that enables users to make the most of ShipCompliant software. Not only will clients have a first look to explore the brand new features announced, they will also get hands-on training, and one-on-one sessions with the ShipCompliant Client Services team. Additionally, Client Services will address any questions specific to your business or workflow right there in person!
3. Most importantly, the opportunity to spend time with YOU!
In all honesty, what we’re most excited about is being able to connect with clients and industry friends in person! While we build relationships with you all year long, we count down the days until we can put faces to names and learn more about your needs. We strive to make DIRECT the best possible experience for all those who come. “Those who attend DIRECT will take a giant step forward with their business and leadership skills. We can’t wait!” said Sam Straka, a member of our Client Services team. Learn more and register today to confirm your spot for DIRECT 2014. DIRECT is happening May 8th and 9th!
Special offer for ShipComplaint Blog subscribers: Save 10% on your DIRECT registration with discount code SCBLOG10.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released their fourth study on efforts to prevent marketing to minors, and the results are positive. The study shows the self-policing efforts by members of the wine, beer, and spirits industries continue to demonstrate responsible advertising. The 2014 FTC Study found a more than 93% compliance rate with industry guidelines for advertising placement, a 1% increase from the 2008 Study. The other three studies were conducted in 1999, 2003, and 2008.
The most notable difference of the latest study from past studies is the considerable increase in information gathered on digital and online marketing efforts and expenditures. Online social media usage, a new and common platform for information distribution, adds data that keeps the study contemporary with today’s current marketing field. The study focuses on:
- Advertising placements
- Online and other digital marketing
- Product placement in entertainment media
- External reviews of complaints regarding code compliance
- Alcohol marketing expenditures
The FTC study delivered a number of conclusions for alcohol marketers to keep in mind:
- Adherence to Industry marketing codes are encouraged
- Advocated use of “age-gating” technology (requiring the user/consumer to enter a birth date, rather than simply acknowledging they are over 21 before entering a producer’s website or social media site.
- Producers should be pro-active in removing code violations that are user-generated on producer websites or social media sites.
- Participation in industries’ external compliant review systems is necessary to continue to improve voluntary advertising and marketing standards
A summary of the 2014 FTC study can be read in this press release, or in full here. You may also review the respective codes of advertising and marketing developed by each of the following industries, as well as the previous three studies:
In May of 2012, Governor Jan Brewer established the Transaction Privilege Tax Simplification Task Force in order to identify ways the current complex sales tax code could be simplified in the hopes of reducing tax filer stress and increasing tax-filer compliance. The conclusions of this task force, available in full in the Final Report, led to the creation and subsequent passage of HB 2111. HB 2111, which goes into effect January 1, 2015, calls for all licensing and taxes to be paid and reported through a single online portal.
This change, outlined in more detail in Section 42-5015 of the bill, will be an especially welcomed change to how Transaction Privilege Taxes (TPT) are reported. Currently cities are split between 73 “program” cities, where the state collects the tax, and 18 “non-program” cities, where cities are responsible for collecting the tax. For licensed wine direct shippers who remit applicable taxes to several locations, this can result in an overwhelming set of tax filing requirements. The state will release more information regarding the new online platform throughout 2014. ShipCompliant clients should stay tuned for announcements that will further outline the changes as well as subsequent updates that will ease the transition in their account to the new “one-stop-shop” process. All updates to clients will take place well in advance of the January 1, 2015 effective date.
You asked for it, you got it! Driven by client requests from our Ideas Forum, ShipCompliant recently implemented reporting options to allow clients to take advantage of Michigan’s early and timely filing discounts.
Michigan licensees who file the Combined 160 return monthly or quarterly, on or before the 20th of the month, are eligible to take advantage of filing discounts based on submission date. Most licensees fall into the standard discount amounts of $6/month, $18/quarter, or $72/year but there is a formula for those who fall above or below the standard discount threshold, dependent on tax liability.
Learn more about Michigan’s filing discounts (Note: Access available only to ShipCompliant clients)
Early and Timely Filing
The Early Filer option in ShipCompliant was created for those who file quarterly or monthly returns, on or before the 12th of the month in which the report is due. For those who file on or before the 20th (but after the 12th) are eligible for a discount by selecting the Timely Filer option. Both frequencies automatically calculate the discount on the Michigan Combined 160 return and are available within the ShipCompliant Reports Settings page.
For all of you annual filers, do not feel alone. You too are entitled to a discount. Keep an eye out for an email alert notifying you when the Early and Timely Filer frequency options are available to select in your ShipCompliant account.
Don’t forget to submit your Michigan returns by the early or timely deadlines in order to secure your discount!
Learn more about Michigan’s filing discounts (Note: Access available only to ShipCompliant clients)
The beauty of ShipCompliant and other software as a service products is that they are cloud based, which allows them to be ever-changing and always improving. We have a responsibility to fix things that are broken and maintain upkeep, but more important and far more interesting in our eyes, is the usability and deliverability of our software. Whether you are a power user or just getting started with ShipCompliant, we want to hear how we can make it better for you.
That’s why we developed the Ideas Forum.
In the Ideas Forum you can post your feedback for both the ShipCompliant team and all ShipCompliant users to see. When someone posts to the forum, you’ll see a button to vote for that suggestion. By voting for an idea, you are voicing your thoughts that this idea is important to you and your workflow. We internally review all of your suggestions and pay especially close attention if an idea has been voted up the chart. You can monitor your idea and other ideas by clicking on the links below where a new idea can be added.
- Click Hot to see trending ideas.
- Click Top to see the ideas that have the most votes.
- Click New to see the newest ideas.
- Click Status to keep an eye on what we are reviewing, what we are planning on working on, and what has been declined. (If an idea is declined, it is most likely that the feature exists and we just need to show you where or make it easier to find.)
To date, we have implemented over sixty of your amazing suggestions! Visit the Ideas Forum by clicking here, or click on the lightbulb in the upper right corner of any ShipCompliant screen. Can’t wait to hear more of your thoughts!
You may not have heard much about the subject of “Growlers” in association with wine in the past. While beer lovers are far more commonly attracted to these types of containers and their purchase, it’s just not yet that common with wine. However, with a recent ruling by TTB, “Wine Growlers” will likely be a subject of conversation among wine lovers, wineries and wine retailers.
First, what is a “Growler? According to the TTB definition a Wine Growler “is any container that is designed to be securely covered and is intended to be filled (or refilled) with wine for purposes of off-premises consumption, as well as any similar container designed to facilitate the secure transportation of the wine for later consumption off of the premises.” In other words, imagine a consumer coming to your winery and rather than buying a few bottles of wine, they bring a three liter container, have it filled from a barrel of your tax-paid wine, and then take it home to enjoy.
Many years ago the concept of the “wine growler” was not uncommon. Consumers would often bring large containers to wineries or retailers, have them filled up with their favorite wine, which they would then bring home and use as their source of wine. Both before Prohibition and after its repeal, it was not uncommon for consumers living in wine country to obtain their supply of wine in this way. Today, however, this practice has been largely a relic of the past.
Now, in response to a few inquiries from wineries and retailers as to the legality under federal law of filling up wine growlers for consumers, TTB issued a ruling that this practice is in fact legal under certain specific circumstances. According to TTB, federal law allows the filling of growlers with wine under the following conditions for wineries or retailers:
1. Receive a permit from TTB to operate as a “taxpaid wine bottling house”
2. The Growler to be filled may be no larger in capacity than four liters
3. The Growler may be brought by the customer or purchased on-premise before filling
4. The filling of the Growler must be for the purpose of off-premise consumption.
5. The winery or retailer must keep specific records concerning tax paid wine, received, dispensed and removed from the premises.
Currently, only Washington (assuming Governor Inslee signs the bill today to allow growler refills by wineries only) and Oregon allow the sale of wine in growlers in one form or another. However, with this ruling, the attention it brings to the idea of selling wine in growlers and given the entrepreneurial times in which we live, we expect to see wineries and retailers in other states begin to explore the idea of selling wine in growlers.
It’s worth noting that while wineries are required to hold a “basic permit” with TTB and obtain Certificates of Label Approval (COLAs) for labels that they produce, retailers are not required to hold a TTB license. A retailer that applies to be a taxpaid bottling house would then be subject to TTB jurisdiction and record-keeping requirements. It appears that wineries or retailers that obtain the additional TTB permit would not need to obtain COLAs for growlers that are filled, at least as long as they are not pre-packaged for the consumers.
Here is a link to the recent TTB ruling on Wine Growlers: http://www.ttb.gov/rulings/2014-3.pdf