December 20, 2014

Holiday help from Kennesaw State faculty experts

Shelves are stocked and the holiday season is here! Kennesaw State University faculty experts are available to discuss a range of topics from holiday shopping to celebrations.

Retail Trends: Click & Brick options
With more retailers open on Thanksgiving, retail expert Randy Stuart says "nothing is sacred; it's about the almighty dollar" and strong past sales are driving the earlier openings. Stuart, a marketing professor, says there will be more "click & brick" options - shopping online with in-store pickup - as well as price matching capabilities to reduce "showrooming" - talking to a sales person to acquire information but then buying online.

Big Data for the Big Holiday
Are you a Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopper? Retailers already know because they are tracking your preferences and purchases, and using that information to reel in customers. Jennifer Priestley can discuss what data is gathered, where it goes and how it is used. Using just a couple of pieces of your online information, Priestley says your purchasing profile and shopping habits can be established and targeted. Priestley is a professor of statistics and a big data researcher who previously worked as a vice president for MasterCard.

Curbing Holiday Enthusiasm
Strong self-control, self-talk and self-management skills are the keys to staying healthy during the holiday season, says Jim Annesi, a professor of health promotion and a researcher in combating obesity. He says it's OK to use the "it's a special occasion" once or twice when indulging in decadent meals, desserts and drinks, but using it too often means it's probably not all that special.

The Holiday Meal
Most mistakes and bad holiday meals are made because of stress and the lack of preparation, says Master Chef Thor Erlingssen, an instructor at KSU's Institute for Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality. His tips for the holidays involve planning ahead at the grocery, moving the holiday meal time and tossing the traditional turkey if your family doesn't care to eat the poultry main dish.

Cyber Security & Attacks during the Holidays
Security breaches at major retailers like Target and Home Depot could have been prevented, says Herb Mattord, associate professor of information security and assurance. From password protection to malicious malware, Mattord can discuss the ins and outs of cyber security, retailer mishaps and how consumers can best protect themselves.