Shop ‘Til You Drop

At the Sam M. Walton College of Business, students take shopping seriously. Especially those with a focus on the retail industry.

To learn more about the latest in shopping trends, 10 business students attended the SHOP.org Summit held Sept. 28 – Oct. 1 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

The 10 participating students are members of Students of Retailing Excellence, an organization of Walton College’s Center for Retailing Excellence, an outreach center dedicated to bridging academics and the retail industry. Each student must achieve specific membership requirements of STORE to receive a conference sponsorship.

While in Seattle, the students attended the student program, a daylong agenda within the summit. The event focused on digital retail and e-commerce, a rapidly growing part of the retail industry.

A highlight of the program was keynote speaker James Nordstrom Jr., executive vice president and president, stores, for Nordstrom department stores, who spoke to students about retailers adapting to a digital world. To stay current and competitive, Nordstrom has blended the online and offline experience.

James Nordstrom Jr.

Students then listened to a panel discussion, Digital Discovery: Cool Jobs in Retail, featuring representatives from Walmart eCommerce, Amazon, REI and Lilly Pulitzer. These leaders discussed their career paths and answered questions from the audience about digital jobs in retail.

Afterward, executive mentors joined students at lunch for targeted conversations about careers and the retail industry. Students then attended a career fair with participating companies such as Amazon, Starbucks, Kohl’s, Walmart, L.L.Bean and Home Shopping Network, among others.

Apart from the conference, Walton STORE members also toured Microsoft’s facilities in Seattle and visited the Microsoft Retail Experience Center. Marty Ramos, chief technology officer, retail, for Microsoft, led the tour and talked about innovation within the company.