Global Digital Retailing Research Center


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The global Digital Retailing Research Center at University of North Texas, an innovative institution that differentiates from other university centers in the U.S. and abroad by its vision, mission and four goals:
No other university center is applying global and consumer perspectives to discourse, discovery, knowledge transfer and innovation regarding the current and future states of digital retailing. No other center includes a university research cluster focused on “consumer experiences in digital environments. No other center seeks to advance global digital retailing through academic-industry, interdisciplinary, and inter-institutional collaborations in research and innovation and then convey these advances through knowledge transfer, talent development, and recognition of excellence. The collaborative efforts of the gDRRC support an active community of discovery at local, national, and international levels.

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Global Digital Retailing Research Center

  2. 2. 2global Digital Retailing Research Center Uniqueness –A Community of DiscoveryThe UNT global Digital Retailing Research Center (gDRRC) is differentiatedfrom other university centers in the U.S. and abroad by its vision, mission and fourgoals. No other university center is applying global and consumer perspectives todiscovery, innovation, discourse, and knowledge transfer regarding the current andfuture states of digital retailing. No other center includes an interdisciplinaryuniversity research cluster focused on “consumer experiences in digitalenvironments.” No other center seeks to advance global digital retailing throughacademic-industry, interdisciplinary, and inter-institutional collaborations inresearch and innovation and then convey these advances through knowledgetransfer, talent development, and recognition of excellence. And, no other centeris being led by a pioneer in digital retailing. The collaborative efforts of thegDRRC support an active community of discovery at local, national, andinternational levels.
  3. 3. 3A Proposal in Support of theglobal Digital Retailing Research CenterInterdisciplinary, inter-institutional and industry collaborations can bring together the best minds,ideas, and creativity to shape the necessary dialogue for objective inquiry regarding the currentand future states of digital retailing. The College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism(CMHT) at the University of North Texas (UNT) advances interdisciplinary perspectives onconsumer experiences in digital environments. Our interdisciplinary focus offers a unique andfertile ground for cross-collaboration, not only with other colleges and disciplines at UNT, theUnited States and worldwide, but also with global corporations. A CMHT strategic goal is tofoster the trajectory of collaborative dialogue among universities, faculty, students and industrythrough its global Digital Retailing Research Center.The global Digital Retailing Research Center (The Center) will lead academic-industryresearch in global digital retailing. No other known research center in the United States or worldapplies global and consumer perspectives to the social, economic and cultural paradigm shiftbeing created by digital retailing and its impact on consumers and marketspaces. Recognizing theimportance of the consumer’s voice as well as the consumer’s growing influence in shapingmarketspace interactions, the Center’s activities are framed by consumer experiences in digitalenvironments. By doing so, insights regarding consumer demand for products, services, brandsand experiences are interpreted and applied to actions that can strengthen consumer-businessrelationships and transactions.The Center goals include advancing collaborative academic – industry inquiry, knowledgedissemination, workforce development, and recognition of excellence in global digital retailingleadership and research. The Center will operate as an “open” model where interdisciplinary,inter-institutional and industry collaborations support discovery, understanding, learning andinnovation with direct applications to consumer experiences with digital retailing. Thus, theCenter has global reach and focuses on a global phenomenon.
  4. 4. 4The Center’s initial research will address current challenges facing digital retailing andconsumers including “solomo” (social, local, mobile), digital platforms, data analytics, omni-channel, and cyber security and trustworthiness. The Center includes the successfulinterdisciplinary UNT CEDE Research Cluster (Consumer Experiences in Digital Environments)that was established in April 2011 to support and grow interdisciplinary research in this area. Italso supports the annual Consumer Experience Symposium which brings thought leaders andnational and international companies together to address the current and future states of digitalretailing. The Center also includes the Digital Executive Education Program (DEEP) whichoffers a five-day intensive learning experience for digital retailing and eCommerce managersfrom around the world who want to stay abreast of best practices and current trends ineCommerce and omnichannel retailing.The Center is located on the UNT’s flagship campus in Denton, Texas, 30 minutes north of theDallas/ Fort Worth International Airport, which is the only inland port in the United States.Denton is a comfortable driving distance from Austin, Texas, the third coast of digitalinnovation.
  5. 5. 5Merchandising & Digital Retailing at UNTThe Department of Merchandising and Digital Retailing, located within the College ofMerchandising, Hospitality and Tourism, offers one of the most comprehensive arrays ofprograms associated with retail in the nation. As the nation’s first digital retailing program, andto date, only program of its kind currently available to educate the digital retailing leaders oftomorrow, students are challenged to develop the analytical thinking and skills demanded forsuccessful digital businesses. CMHT’s Department of Merchandising and Digital Retailing hasgrown to over 750 majors. The B.S. with a major in Digital Retailing (DRTL) has exploded witha five-year growth from 9 to 85 majors, many of whom are double majors in aligned programs.We ensure DRTL graduates are prepared to enter the workforce by requiring all students tocomplete a junior pre-internship seminar and a senior internship experience in their field ofstudy. CMHT also offers DRTL students competitive travel grants to attend the annual NRF(National Retail Federation) Big Show and Summit. In 2011, UNT students formedone of the first student chapters of the NRF which now has nearly 100 student members.The Merchandising and Digital Retailing Department boasts a full-time faculty of 12 highlyproductive and innovative scholars and teachers. This strong team includes faculty who bringreal world experiences to our digital retailing classes. Foremost among the digital retailingfaculty is Richard E. Last who in 1994 founded, the first on-line retailer to dotransactional business and the first on-line retailer to reach one billion dollars in sales. Inaddition, Mr. Last is a two-term Chair Emeritus and current member of, the world’slargest industry association for digital retailing. Mr. Last serves as Senior Director of the Centeras well as program coordinator and lecturer for the digital retailing major at UNT.Our DRTL students are learning from some of the best minds in academia and industry, peoplewho are helping shape the state of global digital retailing into the future. In addition to ourfaculty, our Merchandising Board of Governors (BOG) members, representing well-knownnational and international retail and digital brands, are active participants in classrooms, giveexecutive lectures, and connect digital retailing to an extensive network of industry professionalswho support faculty and students with real-time information and experiences in digital retailing.
  6. 6. 6About the global Digital Retailing Research CenterVISIONBe the global thought leader in digital retailing research, innovation and knowledge transfer.MISSIONAdvance global digital retailing knowledge through academic – industry collaborations indiscovery, innovation, knowledge transfer, talent development, and excellence awards.GOAL 1 – Global DiscoveryCreate global academic – industry collaborations through discovery and innovation. Open-Model Research Consortium UNT Research Cluster – Consumer Experiences in Digital Environments (CEDE) Research and Innovation Lab Research Grants Research Travel Grants Collegiate Case Competition Collegiate Innovation CompetitionGOAL 2 – Objective ThoughtGenerate global and consumer perspectives of the current and future states of digitalretailing through discourse and knowledge transfer. Think Tank White Papers Consumer Experience Symposium Executive + Scholar Lecture Series Member Password-Protected WebsiteGOAL 3 – Talent DevelopmentDevelop digital retailing talent through discovery, innovation, discourse and knowledgetransfer. Scholars in Residence Executives in Residence Research and Innovation Lab Internships Digital Executive Education Program (DEEP) Digital Retailing Student, Alumni and Industry Network
  7. 7. 7GOAL 4 – Excellence AwardsRecognize distinguished digital retailing leaders and researchers through awards forexcellence. Digital Retailing Pioneer Award Competitive Research Fellows Competitive Research AwardsFounding MembershipsWe are currently seeking individuals and companies who see our vision, believe in our missionand want to collaborate with us in creating this unique and dynamic research center. Foundingmembers will help shape the future of digital retailing as an industry and as a field of studythrough your support of and participation in discovery, innovation, knowledge transfer, andtalent development. Yours will be a voice in the digital revolution that is transforming theeconomic and social fabric of the world. Founding memberships are being offered throughDecember 31, 2013. Founding members will help structure future memberships. Please notethat more detailed proposals are available for various naming rights and capital funding for theCenter upon confirmation of interest.Exclusive Benefits for Founding MembersInvolvement Benefit Shape the path and priorities of the Center Advisory Board Member Collaborate with fellow innovators Think Tank Member Engage with researchers on relevant research High academic rigor Access digital retailing expertise Senior Director/Researchers Enhance organization’s talent Professional development Access student talent Future industry leaders
  8. 8. 8Founding Member Annual BenefitsAcknowledgement of Founding Member Center web site home page Center marketing materials Sponsor listing – Consumer Experience Symposium Sponsor listing – Executive + Scholar Lecturer Series Sponsor listing – Career ExpoParticipation in Center One seat in the Digital Executive Education Program (DEEP) One Employee-In-Residence (1to 3 days) Up to four scheduled phone inquiries with Senior Director and/or Researcher One Company Strategic Brainstorming Session Password-protected Center web site Resource one of the largest digital archives in the U.S. One Company Campus DayThe OpportunityUNT’s unique location within the heart of the DFW-based retailing mecca has helped drive theevolution of retail merchandising as a key area of higher education study as well as theadvancement of the University and the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism. Yoursupport of the global Digital Retailing Research Center will assist in strengthening a programthat is truly ahead of the curve and is preparing students for proficiency in the latest trends andindustry standards in digital retailing. To that end, UNT proposes a commitment of $30,000,payable over three years, to become a “Founding Member” of the global Digital RetailingResearch Center.
  9. 9. 9ConclusionA partnership between a digitally-focused corporation such as yours, and a forward-thinkinguniversity, will foster the collaborative dialogue and actions needed to address the current andfuture states of digital retailing. As you consider this request, please know that we stand ready toassist in answering questions that might arise.For further information contact:Richard Last, Senior Director, global Digital Retailing Research Center940.565.2433Rich.Last@unt.eduLisa Wallace, Director of Development, College of Merchandising, Hospitality and