Intercollegiate Retail Challenge 2010-2011
The mission of the aspire2retail Intercollegiate Retail Challenge is to build awareness of diverse career paths in retail by engaging university students in a competitive, collaborative role play with support from retail executive mentors to implement a multi-tiered business strategy. Read more.
The Winning Team
Clements led by Jerry O'Brien of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, delivered the winning solution to the panel of judges on December 8, 2010. The team is made up of students representing six universities as follows:
- Lisa Duckrow, University of Florida
- Caitlin Clements, Florida State University
- Sara Beth Sullivan, Georgia Southern University
- Michael Stallsmith, University of Wisconsin
- Timo Trumpp, University of Michigan
- Trevor Hinske, University of Arizona
And celebrating the winners are...
American Express and NRF Foundation, the creators of and partners in this exciting program, wish to thank all who made the third aspire2retail student challenge a great success. In an exciting new addition to the program, American Express and NRF Foundation welcomed Sponsoring Retail Partners to this year's challenge. JCPenney, Macy's, Sears Holding Corporation, Toys "R" Us and NRF division, Shop.org, provided a combination of judges, mentors and generous scholarships to the six winning students. The companies' enthusiasm for this project is very rewarding and greatly appreciated.
- University of Arizona, Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing
- University of Florida, Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research, Warrington College of Business
- Georgia Southern University, Center for Retail Studies
- University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kohl’s Center for Retailing Excellence
- Florida State University, The Center for Retail Merchandising and Product Development
- University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
2010-2011 Challenge OverviewThe Scenario: You are an executive with a major U.S.-based cross-channel general merchandise retailer. Your core customers are suburban and ex-urban women, 20 - 45, with two children and family income of $45,000 - $80,000. A recent NRF consumer survey came to your CEO’s attention. The survey found that an increasing number of shoppers consider the quality of a retailer’s customer service as the most important factor in determining where and how they shop.
Your CEO has also been watching the success of mobile strategies, as this medium has rapidly been embraced by the public and utilized successfully by other retailers. S/he feels that your typical shopper already has or will embrace this medium, and it could be a method to reach new consumers. S/he has charged a team of executives, including you, to examine and evaluate keeping, changing or discontinuing the company’s current customer service procedures and offerings. You are also charged with evaluating mobile as a means of enhancing the customer experience and increasing sales among existing and new target consumer groups.
Your team will work as a cross-functional unit and will have access to other company personnel and information. You will evaluate all current and proposed customer enhancements in all aspects of the customer engagement, (i.e., from the time she leaves home until she leaves the parking lot), and propose a customer service approach that will resonate with your core customer, while exciting a larger consumer demographic. You will present a plan to market your new customer-centric campaign in all media and across all formats, including evaluating whether and how mobile technology can drive greater traffic and results. Your plan will evaluate the financial and technological impact and will defend the decision to implement your recommendations.
- Clearly describe your core customer. Define your company’s customer service commitment and procedures and evaluate why and how they continue to draw her to your company’s various formats.
- Define and suggest new customer service offerings, policies, procedures and design elements across all channels that will further enhance your core customers’ shopping engagements and also attract non-traditional shoppers to your company.
- Determine whether mobile technologies can enhance your company’s service to drive traffic and sales and, if they can, describe why you have employed this feature, how it will be used across all channels in an integrated, comprehensive and cost-effective way and how it will impact traffic and sales in each channel.
- Propose a marketing campaign to include all media across all formats of your business that is built on a clear message regarding your company’s customer service commitment.
- Present the financial and technology impact of any new service offerings and demonstrate how your plan will not adversely affect company results, but will drive increased revenue.
The Team Roles: The six team members at each school will role play a different career perspective and will represent one of the careers listed below.
- Store Operations and Design
- Advertising, Marketing and Sales
- Customer Service
- Information Technology
Each career position will have a retail executive from that area of operations in a national retail company who will serve as mentor to the team of six students playing his/her role.Retail Executive Mentors:
- Kristen Malavolta, Mgr. Guest Experience, Toys R Us
- Amy Parker, DVP, CMO, SHC Home, Sears Holdings Corp.
- Matt Stautberg, VP Financial Planning & Analysis, Macys
- Mike Marchetti, EVP, Store Operations & Steve Schreibman, VP Marketing, Finish Line
- Job Kubo, Sr. Vice President and CIO, Wet Seal
- Andrew Koven, President of Ecommerce and Customer Experience, Steve Madden
- Lori Wagner, Director Talent Development, Toys R Us
- Claudine Kourkomelis, Director, College Talent Acquisition, Sears Holdings Corp.
- Blake Witters, Regional Mgr., College Relations, Macy’s
- Eric Hansen, Sr. Director, Marketing, WalMart
- Josh Krepon, Director of Project Management, E-Commerce, Tory Burch
- Kathy Mance, VP, Research and Education, NRFF
- Christopher Hollins, VP, Retail and Emerging Industries, AMEX
Challenge Scenarios and Previous Winners