Strategic Planning and Management in Retailing Begins its 31st Year with 2013 Program in Williamsburg, Virginia
The Strategic Planning and Management in Retailing Program was conducted in Williamsburg, Virginia, at the Mason School of Business of the College of William and Mary in May 2013. This year represents the 31st year the program has been offered since it was begun in 1983.
This program is currently offered twice in North America (at Babson College and at William and Mary), once in Australia (hosted by Mt. Eliza Melbourne Business School), and once in Singapore (hosted by the Retail Academy of Singapore). The program is next scheduled to be offered September 14–20, 2013, at Babson College. Those interested are encouraged to apply early. For more information, please visit the Strategic Planning and Management in Retailing program page. You also may email Dayle Lipsky, assistant manager, business development, or call 781-239-3915.
The program kicked off with The Eight Ways to Win in Retailing, and featured cases on Target Stores, Zappos, Home Depot, Tesco, and Meijer. In addition, the faculty delivered lectures and exercises on financial and productivity analysis, strategic thinking and planning, category scorecards, customer relationship management, and customer and associate satisfaction.
On Wednesday afternoon, the group participated in a store tour with visits to the Patrick Henry Mall, Wal-Mart Supercenter, Target Greatlands, Costco, Lowe’s, Home Depot, World Market, Fresh Market, Best Buy, hhgregg, PetSmart, Toys R Us, T.J.Maxx, and others. The group also visited the Williamsburg Prime Outlets to end the store visits. In addition, they were given a guided tour of Colonial Williamsburg, followed by dinner at Shields Tavern in the restored colonial area.
We introduced a new feature to the program in September 2012 and continued it in 2013: that was our multichannel shoe shopping exercise. It was incorporated into our store tour activities, described above. This exercise was designed to analyze shopping experiences in different channels. Participants compared the following shopping channels in the footwear category:
- Shopping through search engines (Google)
- Shopping via retail websites
- Shopping via Zappos
- Shopping via traditional bricks and mortar stores
Participants visited several sites online, including Payless, Finish Line, Athlete’s Foot, Shoe Department, Macy’s, Dillard’s, Dicks, and Zappos. They evaluated the online sites on a variety of criteria, and then visited the bricks and mortar stores and compared the clicks with the bricks for each. This exercise was followed by a visit to Zappos, and a lengthy case discussion of the Zappos model.
As the program enters what we hope will be its second 30 years, we anticipate that our content will begin to feature more multichannel or omni-channel cases, lectures, and exercises. The shoe shopping exercise was a major step in that direction.
Participants in the program represented 11 countries: the United States, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and Venezuela. The participants came from companies in a wide variety of retail sectors, and the class was composed of senior-level executives representing all the functions of a retail organization. Professors Larry Ring, John Strong, and Ron Hess were the primary faculty for the program. Ellen Sutton served as program manager and housemother, and looked after all members of the diverse group of participants at William and Mary.