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Adobe: Online holiday shopping surpasses expectations

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Between Nov. 1-11, ending on Veteran’s Day, online spend surpassed $1 billion in online spend (compared to only nine of 11 days in 2016). This puts spending on pace to hit a total of $13.9 billion, according to data from Adobe Analytics, part of Adobe Experience Cloud.

Besides tracking 1.8% higher than predicted, November’s online spend to date is at a 19.8% year-over-year (YoY) increase, compared to a 4.8% YoY increase in 2016. This was likely due to last year’s presidential election and steeper product discounts in 2017, according to data.

Specific to Veteran’s Day, total online sales came in at $1.3 billion, 9.1% growth YoY. While mobile traffic and revenue on the rise, desktop sales are slowing. When looking at traffic share by device, smartphones are at 44% (28% YoY), desktop is 46% (-19.1% YoY), and tablets are 10% (15% YoY). When considering share of revenue by device, smartphones encompass 24% (40% YoY), desktop has 64% (-13% YoY), and tablets are 12% (12% YoY).

Meanwhile, conversion rates across all devices saw double digit growth. Desktop hit 4.6% (21.7% YoY), tablet comprised 4.1% (12.3% YoY), and smartphones encompassed 1.8% (16.2% YoY).

Regardless of the channel customers use to place orders, deep discounts are likely motivating shoppers early in the season. The top selling kids toys include Spin Master Hatchimals, PJ Masks branded items, Hasbro Baby Alive, Nintendo’s Switch and Super Mario Odyssey, Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation 4.

Top selling electronics include Apple AirPods and laptops, Samsung tablets, as well as Lenovo, Dell and HP laptops. Revenue from smartphones is on the rise at 24% of purchases, up 40% YoY; while conversion rates for smartphones also saw double digit growth at 1.9% (up 16.2% YoY).

However, these discounts are impacting sales volume. Specifically, sales of TVs are down 10.8% since Oct. 1; computers dropped 5%, and toys are down 9.8%, according to data.

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Walmart’s Hurd discusses role retail can play in health on Kantar podcast

BY David Salazar

Kantar Retail projects that by 2025, stores will be the site of more general practice medicine than a doctor’s office, and that CPG companies and retailers who position themselves for this will come out ahead. In an effort to understand how retailers are responding to the shift in setting for health-and-wellness, Kantar Retail vice president of retail insights Brian Owens spoke with Alex Hurd, Walmart’s senior director of health and wellness on the latest episode of the Kantar Retail Sound Bites podcast.

The conversation, which also included Kantar chief knowledge officer Bryan Gildenberg, focused on how Walmart is addressing lack of healthcare access in underserved areas, suggestions the retailer makes to help manage health-related expenses, how Walmart is adapting to a changing health landscape and how its pharmacies meet the needs of an aging patient population. Hurd also looks forwards, highlighting the services and future investments Walmart will need to make healthcare delivery frictionless.

Ultimately, Hurd noted that patients are having difficulty managing recent increases in out-of-pocket healthcare expenses while acknowledging that despite the United States spending nearly a fifth of its gross domestic product on healthcare, outcomes haven’t been improving. In this light, Hurd said that Walmart would be focused on putting patients first — which he said requires some imagination on the part of the industry if it wants to truly focus on patient needs, particularly with regard to where care takes place.

“There’s a lot of talk in the industry about wanting to put the patient first and patient-centric healthcare. And when you listen closely, it’s always within the existing framework of the healthcare system,” Hurd said. “We leave those conversations feeling that they’re just a little bit disingenuous, because if you really want to put the patient first, why would you do it within a venue that a patient might frequent once or twice a year?

Hurd noted that the frequency with which patients visit a grocery store positions retail as well for health-and-wellness offerings.

“If we really want to focus on the patient, then I think what we need is a fundamental paradigm shift and let’s actually go as an industry to places where people are congregating with great frequency,” he said. “Honestly, retail is one of those few places where people are spending a large chunk of their time.”

To listen to the full podcast, click here

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Kroger uploads Google Cloud Platform to maintain digital edge

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Wednesday announced its cloud computing portfolio is expanding with Google Cloud Platform.

"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," stated Chris Hjelm, Kroger chief information officer. "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. 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."

GCP's portfolio of products, services and tools enables its customers to modernize their operations for today's digital world. The addition of GCP provides a new pattern that will be available for Kroger and its subsidiaries. Kroger now operates agreements with Google, Microsoft and Pivotal. This portfolio brings a new level of capability that will help Kroger Technology accelerate delivery of new technology-based innovations to better serve customers and to grow the business.

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

In 2016, Computerworld named Kroger Technology as one of the "100 best places to work in IT."
 

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