The changing nature of retail — including the need for more customer-centricity — has had an impact on universities seeking to prepare students for jobs in the field. Recognizing a demand from employers, the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton, Texas, has launched a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Consumer Experience Management within its College of Merchandising, Hospitality & Tourism.
“When I did the workforce analysis, I was astounded by the number of positions for consumer analytics and consumer managers,” said Judith Forney, dean of UNT’s College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism in a statement. “Yet I only found three programs that had consumer experience certificates associated with them. None were degree programs in the United States. Our goal was to be the first.”
That goal was realized when The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the program in January 2018.
The major is available to students pursuing careers in merchandising, home furnishings merchandising and digital retailing, as well as hospitality management. The degree program includes a supervised internship requiring at least 300 hours of work experience.
Courses will be offered in a mix of online and face-to-face classes, covering topics such as:
- Consumer Analytics and Data Visualization: An examination of various consumer research methodologies, including descriptive and predictive analysis;
- Omni Channel Retail Strategy: A framework for omnichannel retailing that covers the wide spectrum of retail channels, with an emphasis on creating seamless customer experiences while developing a competitive edge for the retailer; and
- Consumers in a Global Market: Cross-cultural comparisons integrated with critical, empirical and creative thinking to develop a global perspective that is sensitive to diverse consumers’ needs and preferences for products and services in a global market.