TECHNOLOGY

Study: ‘Sofa Sunday’ to influence Cyber Monday shoppers

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

An often-overlooked shopping day is finding its niche amid the highly-anticipated Black Friday weekend.

While holiday retail buzz has primarily revolved around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, “Sofa Sunday” — the day before Cyber Monday —plays an essential role shaping U.S. consumer purchase plans for “the longest shopping day of the year.” In fact, on Sofa Sunday, nearly three-quarters (71%) of respondents will spend time deal-searching — and many will do so from the comfort of their homes, according to a new study from Valassis.

Two-thirds of shoppers will spend the same or more time researching savings on Sofa Sunday than actually shopping on Cyber Monday. Specifically, 45% of shoppers will spend two or more hours researching deals on Sunday. These deal seekers are most likely to do so via their desktop/laptop computers (52%) and mobile phones (36%).

Meanwhile, 58% will complete their Cyber Monday preparation/research by 9 p.m., providing a narrow window for retailers to make an impression before the lucrative online shopping day commences.

“With so much attention focused on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many retailers may overlook Sofa Sunday – an influential shopping day,” said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer, Valassis. “Brands and retailers that develop their holiday media strategies with the full consumer decision journey in mind are more likely to reach shoppers with relevant, timely messages and will ultimately secure a bigger piece of the retail pie during this critical shopping season.”

Clearly, consumers are looking to save big on Cyber Monday this year, as 67% are expecting to save more than $100; 15% are hoping for discounts between $300 – $500; and 12% want more than $500 off their purchases. With consumers’ expectations running high this year, retailers should be pricing products accordingly, while offering competitive discounts to capture and retain their target audiences, the study revealed.

Electronics, clothing/accessories and toys will also be at the top of shoppers’ Sofa Sunday to-do lists and Cyber Monday wish lists. On Sofa Sunday, shoppers plan to spend the most time hunting for consumer electronics (52%), followed by clothing/accessories (45%) and toys (27%). Home décor was next (23%), followed by health & beauty products (16%) and pet supplies (12%).

Mobile optimization is key for retailers this holiday season. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of shoppers are planning to use their mobile devices to search for deals on Sofa Sunday while at home, at work or on-the-go.

Come Cyber Monday, a whopping 60% of respondents are planning to visit Amazon’s website first to begin their Cyber Monday shopping research.

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TECHNOLOGY

Kroger Co. goes all in on its cloud strategy

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A strategic partnership will help the nation’s largest supermarket operator expand its cloud strategy — and accelerate its digital initiatives.

The Kroger Co. is expanding its cloud computing portfolio with Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The partnership gives the supermarket retailer access to products, services and tools that will help Kroger modernize its operations.

Specifically, the grocer will use the portfolio to support is Kroger Restock Plan, a strategy that leverages the company’s food expertise and data analytics to create new and highly-relevant customer experiences delivered both digitally and in stores. By merging GCP with agreements with Microsoft and Pivotal, the portfolio provides a new level of capability that will help the grocer’s tech lab, Kroger Technology, accelerate delivery of new technology-based innovations to better serve customers and grow the business.

All tools will be available for Kroger and its subsidiaries, the company said.

“The adoption of Google Cloud Platform signals our commitment to positioning Kroger as an industry leader for digital programs such as ship-to-home and home delivery,” said Chris Hjelm, Kroger’s CIO.

“Kroger Technology has been working to accelerate our ability to deliver our business the tools and technology-enabled services that support growth as outlined in our Restock Kroger Plan,” he added. “The expansion of our cloud computing portfolio will be a foundational cornerstone to current and future initiatives that will drive measurable business value by advancing Kroger’s ability to offer the digital and e-commerce services our customers want most.”

To manage the portfolio, Kroger is creating a cloud enablement team comprised of specialized talent, including Kroger Technology associates and external recruits. The group will focus on different aspects of cloud computing, including product management; private and public cloud engineering and operations; cloud architecture; code infrastructure; automation; and security architecture, according to the grocer.

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TECHNOLOGY

Report: Walmart Pay primed to surpass Apple Pay mobile payments in U.S.

BY CSA STAFF

When it comes to mobile payments, Walmart is giving Apple a run for its money — and momentum continues to build.

The discount giant’s mobile app is gaining such traction among shoppers that it is close to surpassing Apple Pay among mobile payments usage in the United States. Walmart Pay is available for use in 4,774 stores, according to Bloomberg Technology.

Daniel Eckert, senior VP, Walmart Services and Digital Acceleration — and who heads up the business — told Bloomberg that Walmart Pay is enrolling tens of thousands of new users a day, up from thousands four or five months ago. Two-thirds of the customers who try it also use it a second time within 21 days.

These statistics are making Eckert bullish that Walmart Pay will surpass Apple Pay in the U.S. in terms of shopper usage in stores where they’re both accepted.

The retailer initially announced its digital wallet service, which works through the Walmart mobile shopping app, in December 2015. This was more than a year after Apple’s service debuted, the report said.

To read more, click here.

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