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Strategic Planning and Management in Retailing Begins its Fourth Decade with Another Program at Babson College - winter 2014 update

The Strategic Planning and Management in Retailing Program was conducted in Wellesley, Massachusetts, at Babson College in September 2013. This year represents the beginning of the fourth decade for the program which has been offered since 1983.

This program is currently offered annually twice in North America (at Babson College and at the College of William and Mary), once in Australia (hosted by Melbourne Business School Mt. Eliza), and once in Singapore (hosted by the Retail Academy of Singapore). The program is next scheduled to be offered April 26 to May 2, 2014, at the College of William and Mary. Those interested are encouraged to apply early. For more information, please visit the Strategic Planning and Management in Retailing program page. You may also email Dayle Lipsky, or call 781-239-4354.

The program kicked off with “The Eight Ways to Win in Retailing,” and featured cases on Target Stores (2006, 2009, and 2013), Midwest Markets, T. J. Maxx, Zappos, Sephora, and Zara versus H&M. The T. J. Maxx case was a new addition to the program and was paired with a new article on store positioning using perceptual mapping. The Sephora case also was new to the program and focused on the use and evaluation of social media in retailing. The Zara versus H&M case also was new and featured the “Fashion Wars” between the two iconic fast fashion retailers as well as Uniqlo and Gap. 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, September 18, the group participated in a store tour with visits to BJ’s Wholesale Club, Target, Walgreen’s, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Staples, Shopper’s World Power Center (including Best Buy, DSW, Toys “R” Us, Barnes & Noble, T.J. Maxx, Sports Authority, and others), and the newly reconstructed Natick Mall, now called the Natick Collection (Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Sears, JCPenney, and numerous specialty stores). The highlight of the trip was our visit and guided tour of Jordan’s Furniture, including a viewing of its Mardi Gras show and its IMAX Theater.

We introduced a new feature to the program in September 2012 and continued it in 2013: 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:

  1. Shopping through search engines (Google)
  2. Shopping via retail websites
  3. Shopping via Zappos
  4. Shopping via traditional bricks and mortar stores

Participants visited several sites online including Nordstrom, Macy, DSW, Clarks, Footlocker, and Payless. 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.Program participants represented 11 countries: the United States, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, and South Africa. 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 program faculty for each of the programs. Janet Dewsnap served as program manager, and looked after all members of the diverse group of participants.