Holiday shopping is increasingly migrating online, according to the 2017 C-CUBES™ Benchmark Retail Study. This is the first consumer holiday report conducted by Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

In 2016, about half of the participants (52 percent) did more than 40 percent of their holiday shopping online. This year, 62 percent plan to do more than 40 percent of their holiday shopping online. The vast majority of all consumers intended on shopping both store aisles and via digitally engaged devices, with fewer than 10 percent of respondents planning to only patronize physical stores.

This shift in consumer buying behavior is most affecting fashion products such as clothes and shoes, which top many wish list items at Christmas. About one in three respondents (34 percent) shop for these goods online.

The study is based on a nationally representative online survey of 5,881 adults conducted during October through November 2017. The margin of error is +/- 1 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

“Shoppers are the most clear about their shopping preferences during the holidays because of the planning it requires. These changes are here to stay,” said Shrihari Sridhar, Center for Executive Development Professor of Marketing at Mays Business School. Particularly retailers dealing in trend-influenced goods – like apparel, shoes, and jewelry – need to develop stronger digital options, because customers find online shopping to be a time saver and value generator.”

The 2017 C-CUBES™ Benchmark Retail Study was conducted by the Collaborative for Customer Based Execution and Strategy. Mays’ Center for Retailing Studies and the R.C. Barclay Endowed Library Fund sponsored the research, which analyzed shopping preferences across several consumer categories including fashion merchandise, grocery, health/beauty, office supplies, and pharmaceuticals. The goal of the study is to provide an evidence-based approach to incorporate the customer’s perspective in strategic planning and execution for retailers. “The report confirms that consumers are rapidly transitioning their holiday shopping from brick-and-mortar stores to online purchasing. The findings should guide retailers to invest in omnichannel capabilities, such as in-store apps, social media platforms, and efficient product search,” added Sridhar.

This is the first of five planned trend reports based on the survey. On April 11, 2018, the Center for Retailing Studies will host a half-day seminar in Houston for business executives to explore the findings in-depth.

The research team for the Benchmark Retail Study includes Vikas Mittal and Kyuhong Han at Rice University along with Biwong Im, a doctoral student at Texas A&M.

For more information, contact:
Kelli Hollinger, Director, Center for Retailing Studies
khollinger@tamu.edu; 979-845-5898

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Research, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

“Imagine that it is a Friday night, you’re tired from a long week, and you just do not want to do much,” freshman Daniel Shulkin said to the crowd. Shulkin added to the narrative by mentioning how the weekend flies by, then Sunday rolls around and suddenly, “It’s 7 p.m. and you have economics homework due at midnight and two tests coming up.”

To help the average college student, a group of Mays Business School freshmen have come up with a nearly foolproof framework for beating procrastination.

Procrastination is something most students have struggled with at some point in their college years. Most college students become stressed, and force themselves to stay up late getting school work and studying done at the last minute. Daniel Shulkin, Allison Kaczynski, Hannah McNease, Tanner Malone, and Zoher Darugar from Richard Johnson’s Freshman Business Initiative (BUSN 101) class were competing against 5 other groups which had developed mental frameworks for tackling college’s challenges. These freshmen were chosen amongst six other groups to give a presentation on Nov. 13 introducing a plan for procrastination, a GAME Plan to be exact.

Out of the entire class, 35 students were chosen to be apart of the Freshman Excellence Initiative (FEI), which is a more exclusive branch of the Freshman Business Initiative that included an intense application process. Students who were chosen exemplify not only the Mays Business School core competencies, but also have the skills and the drive to make a difference in the business world. Jack Youngblood, a BUSN 101 peer leader, came up with the idea to split the students up into groups of five, and then have them come up with a framework in just one week to present to all the BUSN 101 peer leaders. After this, one group was chosen to present in front of the entire class.  

The group presented to their 200-person class a four-step plan for beating procrastination, which consists of:

  • The Gathering stage. In this step, students are to write down dates for everything they need to do or might do in a planner or in their phones.
  • The Assigning stage.This is when students sort all their gathered information and prioritize each event, giving each activity a time slot.
  • The Making stage. Once students sort through their gathered information, they should make a concrete schedule of what they need to do during the day.
  • The Execution stage. This final step is when students actually put their plans into action.

Gathering, Assigning, Making, and Execution make up the acronym GAME, which is an almost foolproof way to beat procrastination, if implemented correctly. Darugar said “the acronym made [their] presentation stand out amongst the other groups, because it is so memorable.” He also mentioned that he thinks their group was chosen over all the other groups because their plan was the most applicable to students, since every student has procrastinated at some point.

McNease added that she now knows how to manage her time better, because she has actually started using The GAME Plan in her everyday life. “Once you get used to the process, it is really easy to implement” McNease said.

“This process has really helped me improve my presentation skills and increase my confidence, considering I have presented more in this one semester than I have in my life” Kaczynski exclaimed. “As a freshman, getting up in front of so many people is intimidating, but now that I have done it, I am ready to take on any other presentation in the future.”

Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

For this season’s #GivingTuesday, Jon and Debbie Bethancourt have generously committed to a $10,000 matching gift if current and former students from the Strategic Philanthropy course raise $10,000 in additional funding for future grant making. The gift and the match will go straight to nonprofit organizations in the form of grant funding in the 2018-2019 school year.

The Strategic Philanthropy course at Mays Business School is heavily oriented toward the sustainable, responsible, and measurable ways in which nonprofits address and solve problems in local, national, and global communities. This course provides opportunities for students to practice strategic giving as a group while also developing a personal approach to philanthropy to carry forward into their personal and professional lives.

Donations to this initiative not only fund other nonprofits, but also provide a unique learning experience for students to learn how to “give well.”

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Programs, Selfless service, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

The Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) at Mays Business School welcomed new CRS board member and partner Jeff Mooney to campus on November 15. Mooney serves as Divisional Vice President for Dollar General, overseeing 1,800 stores in Texas and Oklahoma.

Speaking to students in three marketing classes and the Student Retailing Association, Mooney highlighted Dollar General’s rapid expansion, impressive shareholder returns, and humble company culture.

Dollar General is ranked #128 on Fortune 500, with 127,000 employees in over 14,000 stores across the U.S. Mooney’s territory alone recorded sales exceeding $2 billion. Dollar General has more stores nation-wide than any retailer outside of the food industry. In an era of store closure, Dollar General accounts for 80 percent of net new store openings in the U.S. since 2008.

Because of this growth and strong brand, Mooney stated “We cannot hire enough talent, we have to grow it.” Texas A&M is the first university to partner with the Nashville based retailer to launch an accelerated district manager career program. Recent graduates would start as store managers and progress to district supervisors with responsibility for 18 stores averaging $30 million in sales within two years.

To take care of its customers, Dollar General takes care of its employees. “The customer experience will never be better than the employee experience,” Mooney explained. Dollar General’s friendly employees are willing to make things more efficient for the customer. According to Mooney, it is easier to teach skills than to teach others how to connect with people.

Mooney also emphasized Dollar General’s culture of serving others. The company understands its customers, who are largely value-conscious consumers living paycheck to paycheck. Many rely on government assistance. He pointed out that delivering on the promise to serve others is crucial.

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

The world of 3D printing is no longer an unattainable dream; 3D printers have been set up in Startup Aggieland, a facility operated by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School. These 3D printers can be used by any students who want to print out their innovative new ideas, but as a 3D model and not just as a 2D image.

Charles Hinton, I-Corps Director and Startup Aggieland veteran, is facilitating the startup process for these new 3D printers. As a Texas A&M graduate, Hinton understands the importance of students expressing their ideas in creative ways. According to Hinton, these printers will serve as the beginning of the development of a makerspace in Startup Aggieland, where students and faculty can come to design, experiment, and learn.

These 3D printers will give students the opportunity to build a touchable “first look” at the ideas and gadgets they have created in their head or on paper. This is an incredible feat for students who are looking to become entrepreneurs or students who just want to know if their idea could have any commercial value.

Users of the printer must first generate a model of the product they want to manufacture, which they can do on a 3D modeling software called Solid Works that can be acquired for free from the university. The students then bring their design to Startup Aggieland, where a different software will slice and convert the design to a printable format. The 3D printer can then get to work by adding layer upon layer of raw material fed into the printer to create a final product. …Read more

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, I-Corps, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Startup Aggieland, Students, Texas A&M

Giving Tuesday – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – has become an international day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. The movement, which started in 2012, kicks off the charitable giving season.

Occurring this year on Nov. 28, Giving Tuesday is held annually after the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

The movement has gained in popularity over the last five years and points to recent shifts in philanthropy for both individuals and nonprofit organizations. Promoted as the hashtag #GivingTuesday for purposes of activism on social media, nonprofit organizations around the country will be making appeals for supporters to contribute to their causes.

Giving Tuesday provides nonprofits with an opportunities to attract new sponsors, donors, and volunteers, according to Kyle Gammenthaler, Coordinator of Social Impact Initiatives and instructor of the Strategic Philanthropy course at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. For nonprofit organizations looking to maximize their donations and support Gammenthaler offers the following tips:

  1. Tell your story: People are naturally drawn to stories and examples of impact. Do not simply rely on the generosity of people, but make a compelling case for why your organization is making a strategic difference in this world. Telling the community how many meals you distributed is one thing. However, it would be more advantageous to tell a story about “John Doe” and how his interactions with your organization not only filled his stomach but helped give him tools to improve his overall well-being.
  2. Develop a strategy that cultivates online and one-time givers: Year-end and online gifts can be the beginning of a long-term relationship. Figuring out a way to engage these givers is paramount to an organization’s long-term viability.
  3. Keep it simple: Make it easy for people to give. In our fast-paced world, it shouldn’t take more than one or two clicks on a website for someone to give. Make the process to give obvious, simple, and quick.
  4. Mind your manners: Follow up with givers, no matter the size, to appreciate the gift. Thank you goes a long way in developing long-term relationships with donors.
  5. It’s not all about the money: Of course, nonprofits need funds to operate, but so many people have skills, knowledge, and abilities that can drastically impact your organization and your beneficiaries. Find ways to engage and appreciate the individuals that give the “gift” of time or service.

…Read more

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Alex CabanasFinding passion in leading and growing a company that makes a profound difference in the lives of employees, guests, owners, industry partners, and the community, Alex Cabanas ’98 exemplifies what it means to be a Mays Transformational Leader.

Cabanas graduated from Texas A&M University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance, and went on to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School. He currently serves as the CEO of global hospitality company Benchmark. To Cabanas, speaking to business honors students at Mays Business School was “a huge privilege.”

Cabanas kicked his session off by emphasizing the main theme he was discussing, that “it all starts with culture.” Cabanas said that “everything we do is about culture. Culture eats strategy for breakfast; culture is a lot of things to a lot of people.” Culture drives how his company behaves and what motivates them.

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Finance, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

The new Mays Innovation Research Center has an inaugural director: Mays Business School professor Korok Ray, who conceptualized the center as a place to discover how and when innovation occurs, then transfer that knowledge to Texas A&M University students.

Ray, an associate professor of accounting, will lead the center to provide research support to existing and new faculty members across the Texas A&M campus. It will bridge the research at Mays with that occurring in engineering, business, liberal arts, and other academic disciplines. The center will also fund Ph.D. fellowships and undergraduate research opportunities, and award prizes for outstanding research that advances the center’s mission.

Ray’s research interests are performance measurement, compensation, corporate governance, and cost allocation. He has taught accounting at Texas A&M University, the University of Chicago and Georgetown University, and earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University. He also served as the senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers in the White House from 2007 to 2009.

Ray said he has experienced strong support for the concept. “Dean (Eli) Jones, The Texas A&M Foundation, and our donors have been outstanding in their support of this vision from the beginning,” he said. “I’m thrilled and honored to lead this center into new and uncharted territory, as the conversation on innovation unfolds both on our campus and nationally.  The center will engage students in research, support faculty, and pursue opportunities unique to Texas A&M, with its special combination of first-tier research and first-class values.”

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Entrepreneurship, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Mays Innovation Research Center, News, Research, Texas A&M

Store brands, often called “own brands,” have certainly come into their own. Some retailers, like Trader Joe’s, almost exclusively sell private label products. Overall, this category of manufactured goods represents about 20 percent of all products sold at grocery, drug chain, and mass merchant stores. Yielding a higher margin compared to national brands, like Tide or Doritos, the industry is poised only to grow and offer lesser-known, but highly successful, career paths.

In November, seven Texas A&M University students became the first Aggies to attend the Private Label Trade Show and University Outreach program in Chicago. The event attracts 2,800 booths exhibitors from 70 countries with over 5,000 buyers and visitors’ eager to discover innovative new products catering to modern consumer taste pallets, from organic spices, gourmet baked cheeses, to mango Sriracha beef jerky. Some of the attendees included companies partnered with the Center for Retailing Studies in Mays Business School.

Supply chain major and M.B. Zale Leadership Scholar Allison McGraw ’18 said, “I loved this experience! The opportunity to shadow a supplier on day one and then a retailer on day two allowed me to build a more complete understanding of the grocery business.” McGraw will intern next summer with PepsiCo/Frito Lay.

…Read more

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

The Mays Full-Time MBA Program at Mays Business School was the #1 SEC school, 7th among public schools, and 22nd overall in the “Best full-time MBA programs” rankings by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The three-semester Mays Full-Time MBA program focuses on high-impact experiences, with an emphasis on leadership and self-awareness, supported by strong academics.

The rankings of the 85 full-time U.S. MBA programs were based on data for the class that graduated in December 2016 and from feedback from students who graduated between 2009 and 2011. Former students ranked the Mays program favorably – 15th out of 85 programs ranked.

Increases in the employer survey, starting salary, and job placement categories indicate improved outcomes for Mays students in the employer area. These improvements align with the program’s increased attention to executive problem-solving and functional area knowledge. In the Mays MBA program, students gain a holistic experience targeting their professional development and job preparedness through the functional area-specific Career Accelerator Program (CAPs).

The CAPs also align with the program’s new functional area-specific tracks for each student to specialize in during the duration of their MBA experience. The tracks include finance, marketing, data analytics, supply chain and operations, healthcare, and entrepreneurship.  Each track serves to help students take a deeper dive into a functional area in order to bridge their coursework to their post-MBA career. The courses that the students take are incorporated into their 18-month MBA curriculum, which does not require a fourth semester to complete. CAPs and the associated tracks are especially helpful for career switchers creating a narrative about transitioning their prior experience, foundational course knowledge, and functional area learning into a new career.

Arvind Mahajan, associate dean for graduate programs at Mays, said he was pleased with the program’s standing among the Top 25 “in an incredibly competitive market.” He added: “We try to imbue the foundational values of Texas A&M University into our programs – values like excellence and integrity and respect – to enhance our development of transformational leaders.”

In other recent rankings, the Mays Full-Time MBA program ranked 7th  among U.S. public (20thoverall) in the Forbes “Best Business Schools” ranking, and 31st nationally and 12th among public in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report “Best Graduate Schools” ranking. Texas A&M also has the most graduates serving as CEOs in the top 100 Fortune 500 companies, according to a Fortune magazine study.

The print issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, available Friday, will highlight the top 30 full‐time U.S. MBA programs.

 

Categories: Mays Business, MBA, News, Rankings, Texas A&M