North Texas Daily

New center studies digital retail issues

New center studies digital retail issues

April 03
22:01 2013

Ben Peyton / Senior Staff Writer

Digital retailing, or e-commerce, has become so prominent that UNT has announced it will create a research center to study the new industry.

The Global Digital Retailing Research Center, housed by the college of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism, is the first interdisciplinary center in the U.S. that will be solely based on solving problems faced in the new digital retailing landscape.

“We really want to help the retail industry solve problems,” said Richard Last, Director of the Global Digital Retailing Research Center.

The center will analyze problems and find solutions and new ideas on how to better develop customer and retailer relationships, said Judith Forney, dean of the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism.

“It is literally changing the whole environment that we live in and how we do business,” Forney said of the digital retailing movement.

Business leaders will fund the center through membership payments, according to a UNT press release. The addition of the center was announced during UNT’s 9th annual Consumer Experience Symposium on March 27.

The addition of the center is backed up by projected statistics. Online retail in Europe and the U.S. is expected to increase by about 10 percent in the next five years and traditional retail is expected to grow only 3 percent, according to 2010 Forrester Research statistics.

Richard Last founded and has numerous connections with online retailers. He is also a board member for, the largest retail industry association in the world.

Researchers from varying fields and businesses from all over the world will be encouraged to participate in the Center, Last said.

The College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism adapts its digital retailing related curriculum each semester, which has proven to be a challenge in the quickly evolving industry, said digital retailing professor Sanjukta Pookulangara.

“Technology is changing super fast,” she said. “There is something new happening every day and you are trying to keep up.”

Consumers have much more power in the age of digital retailing than they would have in a traditional retailing outlet, Pookulangara said.

In traditional retail, retailers would dictate the branding of their businesses for the consumer’s perception, Pookulangara said. Now, because of the ability of digital consumers to comment, rate, and interact more with the open forum retailing process, they are often the ones who do the branding of the companies.

“This was a big shift from traditional marketing where the brand decided who they wanted to be and the consumer followed,” Pookulangara said. “Now consumers decide who they want the brand to be.”

Sometimes the changing landscape of retailing can lead to issues where companies will have to adapt their retail plans.

“If there is a mismatch between what they want and what the brand wants to be there are repercussions,” Pookulangara said.

The Global Digital Retailing Research Center hopes to begin addressing buyer-seller conflicts like these, Last said.

For more information about the Global Digital Retailing Research Center visit,

About Author



Related Articles


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

The Roundup

<script id="mcjs">!function(c,h,i,m,p){m=c.createElement(h),p=c.getElementsByTagName(h)[0],m.async=1,m.src=i,p.parentNode.insertBefore(m,p)}(document,"script","");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad