Four Walton College students traveled to New York with Center for Retailing Excellence staff members to attend the National Retail Federation 2016 Big Show Student Program Jan. 14-17. They joined nearly 500 students representing more than 50 universities around the country for the retail conference, which provided students opportunities for internships, employment, training programs and networking.
Students Jessica Fuentes, Hoang Le Dang, Kelsey Casey and Jack Scaccia attended the conference with Center for Retailing Excellence staff members Claudia Mobley, director, and Pam Styles, associate director.
Conference attendees heard from senior retail leaders from Belk, HSNi, Nike, Williams-Sonoma, The Home Depot, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Walgreens, Walmart, Kohl’s Corporation and more.
Four years ago there were seven university members of NRF, with the University of Arkansas serving as a founding member of the student program. In 2016, there are now 67 university members.
Fuentes and Dang earned a conference scholarship through participation in STORE, Students in Retailing Excellence, a registered student organization. In addition, Fuentes received a travel sponsorship from National Retail Federation as the University of Arkansas NRF Rising Star; Dang was the NRF Student Ambassador for recruiting more than 25 members.
Fellow students Casey and Scaccia represented Enactus, a registered student organization that promotes entrepreneurship as a way to create a better world. Their travel was sponsored by the Center for Retailing Excellence.
There have been few major changes in the physical retail supply chain that has served big box retailers for more than three decades. But as more consumers shift to online shopping and the “omnichannel” retail model becomes the norm, experts say the old supply chain model is beginning to see fundamental changes.
E-commerce sales are growing at a healthy clip and are expected to account for more than 10% of total retail sales by 2016. As much as 60% of all retail sales originate online even though they may be completed at a brick-and-mortar retail store.
“Changes in retail are being driven by technology advancements and that we can’t control. Retailers, their vendors and third party logistics partners had better be aware of these changes and make better use of technology themselves,” said Anníbal Sodero, assistant professor supply chain management at the University of Arkansas.
Cameron Boyland still has his senior year to get through before graduating from the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Yet he’s already finding ways to give back to a place that has provided direction for his professional aspirations.