Business, Academics Unite at CALS Global Retailing Conference

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

In the past, shopping almost always involved loading up the car, heading to the store and scouring racks and shelves for hours.

Today's shopping experience, however, often looks quite different. Many consumers do research online and know exactly what they want before ever setting foot in a store. Others forgo brick-and-mortar locations altogether, preferring to make their purchase with the click of a mouse instead.

The changing face of retail – and the growing convergence of the digital and physical shopping experience – was among the major topics of discussion at the University of Arizona's 18th annual Global Retailing Conference, held Thursday and Friday at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson.

Presenters included Terry J. Lundgren, president and CEO of Macy's and a UA alumnus; Bobbi Brown, founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics; and other industry professionals who spoke on a variety of topics including brand management, customer service and relationship building, appealing to the millennial consumer, and integrating technology into the shopping experience.

The event, themed "Igniting the Customer Experience," was hosted by the UA's Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing, part of the John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The annual conference aims to bring together industry and academic professionals in retail to network and exchange ideas. About 300 people from across the nation and the world, as well as a number of UA students studying business or retailing and consumer sciences, attended.

"Many people do not understand how different retail is from the old staid images of retail, and one of the things we are committed to at the University of Arizona is the recognition of the importance of the business of retail, and the reconceptualization of that business in ways that are always forward-looking and revolutionary," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart, who offered welcoming remarks at the event.

Hart applauded the UA's Center for Retailing for preparing students to work in the evolving industry by engaging them in hands-on opportunities, like industry internships, before they graduate.

Read more from this April 14 UANews article at the link below.

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