University of ArizonaNorton School of Family and Consumer Sciences

E-Commerce Means Business

E-commerce is a fast-growing revenue channel and a key asset for building and maintaining customer loyalty. Most successful retailers have ‘online’ at the center of their corporate agenda.

> E-Commerce came to the runway at Fall 2010 Fashion Week in Milan when a designer allowed anyone with a credit card to order online as models walked the runway!
> A recent full-page top retailer’s print ad directs consumers to “discover more online.”
> Mobile commerce (m-commerce) helps consumers find, compare and purchase products, offer personalized coupons and more and drives foot traffic to retail outlets as well.

Forrester estimates that $917 billion worth of retail sales last year were “Webinfluenced,” which means online direct e-commerce or offline sales tied to Web activity. E-commerce sales in the U.S. are projected to keep growing at a 10% compound annual growth rate, and Europe’s at 11% through 2014.

Our RCSC Professional Program students have the option to add e-commerce from business, consumers and societal perspectives to their portfolio via an elective, RCSC360 E-Commerce. This course covers business practices and technology concepts, opportunities, challenges and decisions and requires students to demonstrate what they have learned. Working in teams, students research and assess a public retailing company’s e-business and e-commerce B2C model, analyze their website and provide a critique and actionable recommendations.

Students may also choose a concentration of courses with a business/e-commerce and technology focus. Upon successful completion of three courses--E-Commerce, Global Supply Chain Management and either Marketing Strategy or Services Retailing and an eligible internship, independent study or practicum, they may apply for a Certificate in E-Commerce and Retail Technology.

Two of our professional program students--Garrett Joviak and Melissa Homa received competitive 2010 Ray M. Greenly Scholarship awards from Shop.org last spring. Applicants were required to be part of the RCSC major, and have a strong interest in e-commerce or online retailing demonstrated through coursework and/or work experience. Winning this competition provided resources to help both Garrett and Melissa advance their knowledge and experience of E-Commerce.

For Melissa, the scholarship opened her eyes to new opportunities in the e-commerce field. During her summer 2010 internship at Collective Brand’s Performance and Lifestyle Group--Stride Rite, Saucony, Sperry Topsider and Keds, in Lexington, MA, she worked under the Director of E-Commerce. Her internship gave her hands-on experience and reinforced E-Commerce’s value-add for retailers.

Garrett’s internship with JCPenney as a merchandising intern gave him insights into successful operations of online as well as direct to consumer catalog businesses and challenged his knowledge in both e-commerce and supply chain processes. Garrett details his internship elsewhere in this issue.
Students: Consider e-commerce – course or certificate, as a strategic advantage as you prepare for internships and your future retail leadership jobs!



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