If you entered the Grand Stafford Theater on the evening of August 13, you would have been surrounded by some of the biggest proponents of entrepreneurship in Bryan/College Station. Business owners, Texas A&M University faculty, and members of local agencies such as the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation came together around one common interest: Startup Aggieland.

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted the Startup Aggieland Reveal Party after hinting that those in attendance would have a chance to “meet the new Startup Aggieland.” Attendees were treated to canapés provided by Chef Tai Lee and enjoyed the industrial-chic atmosphere of the historic downtown Bryan concert venue. Conversations drifted among clusters of attendees, each of them buzzing about what exciting new plans the McFerrin Center had in store for Startup Aggieland. …Read more

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Spotlights, Staff, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Categories: Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Entrepreneurship, Faculty, Mays Business, Mays Innovation Research Center, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, Selfless service, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Janet Parish Headshot

Janet Parish has been honored with a University Professorship for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence (UPUTE) and was recognized as part of the Transformational Teaching and Learning Conference on April 18. She is a clinical professor and associate department head in the Department of Marketing in Mays. In addition, she is the director of the department’s Professional Selling Initiative.

The award is conferred only upon the university’s most distinguished teachers of undergraduates. The faculty members selected to receive past awards have exhibited uncommon excellence and devotion to the education of undergraduate students of Texas A&M University, according to university officials.

“I am very honored by this recognition,” said Parish. “The administrative and service roles in which I serve have given me a great platform to influence undergraduate education outside of my own classrooms.” 

These professors are not only exceptional classroom teachers, but are also innovators in pedagogy, exploring new teaching methods and seeking engagement with other educators in pursuit of excellence.

“Texas A&M University strives to meet our unique mission for Texas by supporting and recognizing our faculty’s outstanding efforts in teaching, research, and service,” said Carol A. Fierke, provost and executive vice president of Texas A&M. “These University Professorships acknowledge the particular expertise these faculty hold in working with our undergraduate students, as they become the future productive citizens of Texas and beyond.”

Yadav Manjit, interim department head of the Department of Marketing, said he is pleased Parish was selected for the award. “Over the years, Dr. Parish has shown considerable leadership in developing initiatives that have significantly impacted undergraduate education in Mays Business School,” he said.

The professorships are made possible through endowments by George and Irma Eppright, and Arthur J. and Wilhelmina Doré Thaman.

About Parish:

Janet Parish is a Clinical Professor and Associate Department Head in the Department of Marketing in Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. In addition, she is the director of the department’s Professional Selling Initiative, which is aimed at creating new opportunities for students in sales-related careers. Parish is a Mays Teaching Fellow and a recipient of the Association of Former Students College-Level Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching and the Mays Business School Faculty Service Excellence Award.

Categories: Alumni, Departments, Faculty, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Staff, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Positive economic trends – including lower interest rates, high consumer confidence, and low unemployment at 4.1 percent – continue the encouraging pace as we enter the spring shopping season.

Chocolate bunnies and baskets are just around the corner
According to a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosperity Insights & Analytics, Americans spent a record $18.4 billion on Easter in 2017, an average of $152 per person, with estimates expected to nearly match those numbers this year. Of all planned Easter purchases, 89 percent involve candy. Traditional treats like chocolate bunnies, cream-filled eggs, jellybeans, and marshmallow chicks will continue to top shopping lists.

Toys and crafts are still a hit
There are plenty of basket stuffers for the little ones, and you don’t have to spend much. Discount stores like Dollar General offer a wide variety of Easter gifts. In fact, consumers will look to discount stores more than online or traditional department stores this year. For special surprises, Personal Creations offers customized toys and accessories for your child’s Easter basket. For convenience, Amazon features an assortment of toy-filled plastic eggs in bulk, delivered to your doorstep in two days or less.

Dining
Easter Sunday is a time for gathering with family over a special meal. Shared experiences are highly valued. This year, 60 percent of Americans will visit family and friends, and 58 percent will cook at home. Southern Living and Tablespoon offer a wide variety of recipes, along with special treats for the kids. If you don’t feel like spending time in the kitchen, there are thousands of restaurants with special Easter brunch hours for April 1st.

Passover
The Jewish holiday of Passover will be celebrated from March 30 through April 7. Consumers seeking kosher-friendly items is a major focus this time of year. Not only are kosher foods more easily available today, but they have become increasingly popular because of the high demand for gluten-free and all-natural products. Since 2012, the number of Passover food products has more than doubled to over 53,000. Special culinary creativity is important, since the absence of leavening is a central practice of this tradition. There are numerous Passover recipes and a variety of products ranging from the primary food of matzah to special meats and kosher wines.

Time for home repairs?
Spring is the time of year for consumers to spend more on home improvements and new appliances. The Home Depot and Lowe’s recently announced they would hire around 130,000 temporary workers for the peak season of spring. In addition, Lowe’s also announced that the company will pay employees up to $1,000 in bonuses and expand benefits in 2018 as a result of the recent tax reform.

Goodbye to another historical brand
While the macro-trends for 2018 are positive, Toys “R” Us recently announced the company will close or sell all of its U.S. stores. Liquidation sales have already started. The retailing giant known for the jingle “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us kid” filed for bankruptcy in late 2017. Declining sales, burdensome debt, and heavy competition from both digital players and big-box stores proved to be too much for the once iconic brand.

“Retailers are still adjusting to changed consumer habits. There will be more store closing this year from retailers who haven’t evolved their business models enough,” says Kelli Hollinger, director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School. “But, 2017 predictions of the ‘death of retail’ or the click-bait phrase of ‘retail-apocalypse’ are wrong. Retail is very much alive.”

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

The Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) proudly announces its partnership with the (R)Tech Center for Innovation. Texas A&M becomes one of 10 inaugural affiliate universities to align with the (R)Tech Center, organized by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), and create a retail-tech talent pipeline.

RILA is the trade association for America’s largest and most respected retailers, representing more than 200 members. The partnership between Texas A&M and RILA strengthens corporate relationships with current CRS partners like H-E-B and Dollar General, while connecting CRS with other top retailers such as Best Buy, The Home Depot, and Apple.

The (R)Tech Center for Innovation, launched by RILA in 2017, focuses on helping retailers navigate the industry’s transformation through research, innovative technologies, and creating a culture of innovation – exposing retailers to the technologies and innovations driving change in retail.

“For 35 years, Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School has promoted retailing as an aspirational career choice. Our graduates possess the business acumen to drive sales at America’s largest companies. The partnership with RILA enhances our ability to train students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and build essential technical skills so they can become transformational leaders in retailing,” said Kelli Hollinger, director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M.

The (R)Tech Talent Pipeline will attract and expose young graduates with tech backgrounds to opportunities in the industry, helping shape a 21st-century retail workforce as retailers continue to innovate.

“We are excited to bring innovation to the forefront of retail and provide a test bed for new concepts, technologies, and user experiences. Supported by strong research in the area of design, augmented reality and consumer behavior, we expect this will lead to significant new insights into today’s consumer, and what retail of the future will hold,” said Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Hillman was among the Outstanding Doctoral Alumni from Mays Business School in 2008.

Beginning this year, RILA and the (R)Tech Center for Innovation will address the need for recruiting employees with technical skills in three phases. Phase one will focus on four strategies that initiate the talent pipeline: hosting hackathons that expose students to retail challenges, facilitating a global case competition for creative student ideas, creating multi-use experimental stores with physical locations on select campuses, and launching an online certification specifically for mid-to-senior-level retail executives to educate them on innovative trends. Phases two and three will involve a program to recruit new talent into the industry and help retailers build tech skills in-house.

For more on this announcement, visit www.rila.org.

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

When 54 business undergraduate students got on a bus, filled mostly with strangers, and traveled to Stoney Creek Ranch for a three-day retreat in late February, building lasting friendships wasn’t what most of them expected. But through speaker sessions, small group discussions, and personal reflection time, the SUMMIT conference communicated one thing consistently: people matter to your story, and you matter to other people’s stories.

In the words of one delegate, “I think this really came out of the social impact mindset. You really think more about other people’s stories. Step into someone else’s shoes, you know?”

Several delegates said the conference pushed them to think differently about creating opportunities, using their unique strengths and valuing the strengths of others. “I can more comfortably find ways to learn from others, and maybe even let them learn from me, too.”

The purpose of SUMMIT (Students Understanding, Maximizing, and Mentoring Individual Talent) is to empower students as developing leaders through purposeful reflection and honest self-awareness. Whether students participate as freshmen or seniors, SUMMIT challenges students to think about how they can intentionally shape their own story and influence the people and organizations to which they are connected.

“Smile more,” said Alec Calvillo ’19. “The people around you matter, and sometimes all it takes to let them know that is to smile.”

Lauren Secrest wrapped it up perfectly. “The SUMMIT experience changes who you are and what you think based on what you are going through right now. I’m not sure you can say this is what SUMMIT is about or that is what SUMMIT is about. Just go and find out!”

SUMMIT accomplishes this by:

  • Equipping student facilitators to lead small group discussions with conference delegates on topics such as values, resilience, dreams and goals, and personality assessments
  • Challenging student participants (delegates, facilitators, and executive team) to think intentionally about choices they make and the habits they build
  • Offering a model for meaningful dialogue about difficult topics using productive vulnerability
  • By Jeana Guillory

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

Students from Mays Business School recently participated in the annual YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) case study competition. Sixty of the top business, retail, and fashion design programs from universities around the country were represented – including Parsons School of Design, Harvard, Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute, and Academy of Art University.

As the premier educational fashion non-profit in the U.S, FSF seeks to identify and create career opportunities for students worldwide. FSF grants the largest sum of money and total number of scholarships in the entire fashion community. It also offers hands-on experience via internships with the world’s top fashion companies and most influential leaders – such as Nordstrom, Ulta, and Lululemon.

For the 2018 FSF case study, students were asked to explore a retailer of their choice regarding how the integration of digital technology with offline shopping can improve performance. They spent an entire semester developing a business plan, promotional campaign, and financial analysis.

“My project primarily focused on transforming the fitting room at and allowing customers to ‘virtually immerse’ themselves into an environment of their choice. They can see how they really look beyond the blank-space fitting room when trying on clothes,” explained marketing major Payton Cupstid ’19.

Eight Aggie students were awarded $5,000 each in scholarship funds. Cupstid received an award of $15,000 for a perfect score on her case study paper. Texas A&M was the only university in the competition to have a student that finished with a perfect score.

Students received their awards in New York City on Jan. 9 at a gala featuring special guests such as style icon Martha Stewart and fashion model Coco Rocha.

“It was a challenge, but a fun challenge. The ten-page business plan required a lot of work and many hours of my time, but I enjoyed every minute I devoted to it,” said Cupstid. “I was able to utilize my skills and passions, while also creating something that resembled the abstract thinking and hard work that I am willing to take on to succeed.”

Cheryl Bridges, Executive Professor of Marketing at Mays and mentor to the eight winners, reflected on the trip. “This whole process takes a tremendous amount of work and effort outside the classroom,” she said. “The idea is to get them excited about the industry, and prepare them to hit the ground running when they start their career.”

Students like Payton Cupstid understand the importance of transformational learning opportunities like the FSF case study competition.

“If you’re applying for an internship or full-time job, you’re already ahead of other candidates because you get to showcase your work,” she added. “Mays and the Center for Retailing Studies do a wonderful job of providing students with learning opportunities.”

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

An important aspect of the Mays Business School Strategic Plan is connecting Texas A&M students to former students, industry partners, and employers. The M.B. Zale Leadership Scholar program is shining example of this vision.

Named for the innovative merchant M.B. Zale, the founder of Zale Jewelry Company, the program emphasizes professional development for top retailing students at Mays. The Zales Scholars program is open to all business majors, with a highly competitive application process.

Through hands-on learning experiences that span two semesters, Zale Scholars build industry knowledge through interaction with retailing executives from across the state and country. Some of these experiences include a trip to New York City over Spring Break to tour retail flagship stores and buying offices. Monthly Friday seminars teach negotiation, effective communication, and professional presence.

“I encourage all business students to apply to the M.B. Zale Scholar program. This program will give you the necessary tools that will launch you to success, and finding your dream job,” said Supply Chain Management student Allison McGraw ’19, who just completed her final semester in the program.

Students attend the annual Retailing Summit, an executive education conference in Dallas, hearing case studies from top 100 retailers to startups.

“As a Zale Scholar, I view all of the program’s experiences as professional development opportunities to gain a better understanding, and evolve my personal career mission. From executive coaching, lunches, and coffee chats, I have networked with numerous professionals and gained multiple perspectives on how to deliver value beyond the ‘perfect product’ and discover new methods to interact with customers in a relevant way,” explained Marketing student Aricka Anderson ’18.

Zale Scholars also participate in on-site visits where they can observe the workplace environment. In October, the group visited the headquarters of Francesca’s in Houston.

“I researched Francesca’s as a high schooler, and it was studying this company that I decided I wanted to study retailing. Being a member of the Zale Scholar Program has given me numerous opportunities for face-to-face interaction with Francesca’s recruiters and internship coordinators,” added Business Honors student Caren Valenciano ’20.

The M.B. Zale Scholar program provides impactful learning experiences for students, and helps develop transformational leaders for tomorrow.

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

Shifting consumer attitudes are favoring online shopping more and more compared to brick-and-mortar stores, according to the 2017 C-CUBES™ Benchmark Retail Study released by Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

Even with traditional stores adding more convenience services such as curbside delivery and in-store pickup, the shift toward online shopping has remained steady.

Four out of five consumers (81 percent) agreed with the statement that they “love the convenience of online shopping,” while 78 percent agree that “online shopping saves time and money.” Relative to physical stores, 62 percent agree that “online stores offer better value.”

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

“Our study identifies the two big drivers of retail—convenience and value—that are fuelling online growth. Yet, physical stores will not vanish,” said Shrihari Sridhar, Center for Executive Development Professor of Marketing at Mays Business School. “Results show that 69 percent really enjoy going to a store and window shopping. There is also some backlash against online shopping, with 38 percent agreeing that e-commerce has taken out all the pleasure from shopping. Traditional retailers are at a critical strategic juncture. They need to balance the value and convenience of online shopping with the pleasure of in-store browsing.”

To challenge Amazon’s dominance in online sales, traditional retailers are responding to these elevated consumer expectations for convenience.

Retail giant Walmart announced that it will offer same-day store pick up for a greater variety of hot products ranging from the iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum and Xbox One S gaming system, to a 70-inch Vizio 4K television. Not only does Walmart provide the option for customers to receive a text alert once an order is ready, they will also have the ability to collect items in-store as late as 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Target, with 1,834 stores, recently acquired grocery delivery startup, Shipt. The acquisition builds an important same-day delivery network for Target.

“Brick-and-mortar retailers can leverage their physical store locations to get products to customers as quickly as possible,” added Kelli Hollinger, Director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School.

The 2017 C-CUBES™ Benchmark Retail Study is conducted by the Collaborative for Customer Based Execution and Strategy, sponsored by the Center for Retailing Studies, and underwritten by the R.C. Barclay Endowed Library Fund. 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 research team for the Retail Study includes Vikas Mittal and Kyuhong Han at Rice University, along with Biwong Im at Texas A&M University.

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

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

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