TECHNOLOGY

Report: Amazon eyeing credit card for small businesses

BY CSA Staff

Amazon is pursuing a new way to connect with business customers.

The online giant is planning to offer a credit card to small-business customers in the United States. The card will make it easier for companies to purchase office supplies from Amazon, from reams of paper to factory parts, according to Bloomberg.

Sources told Bloomberg that Amazon has been in talks with banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., about launching a co-branded credit card for small-business owners who shop on its website.

The move coincides with Amazon’s introduction of a Prime membership for businesses. The program, which launched in October, offering fast free delivery of office supplies.

An Amazon spokesman declined to comment, according to the report.

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TECHNOLOGY

Walmart expands grocery delivery in a big way

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart is giving Amazon and its newest acquisition a run for its money in the online grocery delivery war.

Walmart is expanding its online grocery delivery service to 800 stores by the end of the year, a move that will serve more than 40% of U.S. households. The program, which is currently available in six markets, will grow to serve more than 100 metro areas across the country.

Customers can place orders online or through the Walmart Grocery app. Both options enable shoppers to purchase fresh produce, meat, seafood and bakery items, along with pantry staples, consumables and seasonal general merchandise. All items feature the same prices found in Walmart stores, Tom Ward, VP, digital operations, Walmart U.S., said in a blog on the company’s website.

Personal shoppers and crowd-sourced delivery services are used to shop for and deliver fresh groceries to customers’ doorsteps. More than 18,000 personal shoppers are involved in the program, and “thousands more” will be added this year, according to Walmart.

To participate in the program, associates must complete a three week training program that teaches them how to pick merchandise, including selecting the freshest produce, and the best cuts of meat. More than 800 Walmart stores will be used to fulfill orders, the discounter reported.

The Groceries Delivery service costs $9.95, and requires a $30 minimum order. Orders can also be delivered the same day.

The service is augmented by Walmart’s Online Grocery Pickup service that allows online customers to pick up orders at stores without ever getting out of their cars. The service is now available in 1,200 stores. Another 1,000 locations will be added this year, according to Walmart.

Walmart’s decision to expand its grocery delivery service takes a swing at Amazon as it expands its own grocery delivery service. The online giant announced last month that it launched free, two-hour deliveries of natural and organic products from Whole Foods through its Prime Now program in Atlanta and San Francisco. The service initially launched in January in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach, with plans for continued expansion across the U.S. throughout 2018.

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Kohl’s to manage omnichannel operations in the cloud

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Kohl’s is modernizing its technology so it can better compete in a digital marketplace.

The department store chain made a multi-year investment to fund the migration of its omnichannel systems and applications to the cloud. The move will modernize the company’s technology footprint, which will help Kohl’s to deliver a seamless, best-in-class omnichannel customer experience.

The technology investment will enable the company to replace legacy systems with those in the cloud. These are more flexible systems designed to enhance operational efficiencies and reduce long-term costs. The migration includes solutions connected with e-commerce, mobile, and business operations.

Kohl’s has already transitioned its website to the cloud, which already delivers customers a faster digital experience. As Kohl’s continues migrating systems and applications to the cloud, the company can focus on how to use its IT operations to further drive efficiencies and business value.

“Kohl’s is uniquely positioned at the forefront of retail’s cloud computing capabilities to transform our operations and equip our team to meet short- and long-term technology needs,” said Ratnakar Lavu, Kohl’s executive VP and CTO. “Cloud has become the foundation for this transformation and brings our teams greater flexibility to scale resources, react quickly and more cost effectively, and in turn, deliver a great experience to our customers.”

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