MRKT 323 Retailing Course Guide

Course Description

Managing effectively in a constantly changing business environment is an essential requirement for business success. This applies to all businesses, including retailers. Increasingly, retailers are being challenged to develop strategic plans that will guide their businesses to success and profitability. They rely on information and distribution systems to reach their customers and to communicate with suppliers. Their success in the marketplace depends upon a clear understanding of the needs of their customer base and the ability to develop a competitive advantage. This course covers the history and development of retailing, its role in the marketplace and distribution channel, retailing strategy, merchandise management, and store management.

Catalog Description

A systematic and comprehensive coverage of the elements necessary for successful retail store management. These elements include types of retail institutions, and merchandise management: planning and control, pricing, purchasing, location, layout, display, promotion, store organization, and staffing.

Specific, Assessable Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand and discuss the factors that impact a retailer’s retail strategy, including external or environmental forces, customer buying behavior, and organizational characteristics.
  2. Understand and discuss the factors involved in making decisions about the development of retail mix (merchandise and services offered, pricing, advertising and promotions, store design and location, and visual merchandising). This includes a demonstrated understanding of Internet Marketing and Customer Relationship Management, two significant changes to marketing/retailing over the past ten years.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of what a retail career entails at both the store and corporate levels.
  4. Understand and discuss the ethical and social responsibilities of a retailer relative to all stakeholders.
  5. Understand and discuss the economic significance of retailing and the impact of decisions on a retailer’s consumer base and overall profitability. This includes an understanding of retail financial strategy, the strategic profit model, and the measures that retailers use to assess their performance.
  6. Understand and apply the process of analyzing data, communicating recommendations and reasoning in written and oral form, utilizing the capabilities of computer software (where appropriate) for professional looking reports and presentations.
  7. To further develop group interaction skills and the ability to perform effectively in a group context.

Course Content

Overview of the world of Retailing
Types of Retailers
Multichannel Retailing/E-tailing
Customer Buying Behavior
Retail Market Strategy
Financial Strategy and the Economic Impact of Retailing
Retail Locations
Site Selection
Human Resource Management and Careers in Retailing
Information Systems and Supply Chain Management
Customer Relationship Management
Planning Merchandise Assortments
Buying Systems and Buying Merchandise
Retail Communications Mix
Store Management
Store Layout, Design, and Visual Merchandising
Customer Service

Recommended Teaching Methodology


This is a combined case and lecture course, supplemented by a group project and the discussion of readings from the text, the Wall Street Journal, and/or other sources. The primary objectives in this course will be to further develop knowledge and skills from previous marketing courses, expand it into the area of retailing, and to apply learned knowledge and skills to other upper-level marketing courses. Assigned text material will be presented and discussed in class. Case studies will also be assigned and discussed in class with an emphasis on student-professor interaction. Written case analyses are also required. Students will be expected to participate in class discussions of retailing concepts and all case studies, asking and responding to questions, as well as offering their insights to the retailing issues identified in each case analysis.

It is expected that professors teaching this course will provide guidelines and an explanation of case analysis techniques and the written reports to be submitted. Further, the professor will be responsible for guiding case discussions and for recording the level of each student’s participation in class. Finally, the professor will be responsible for evaluating the written analyses submitted by individual students. The professor will respond to each student with feedback regarding the quality of the report, with respect to stated objectives of the course.

Students will be assigned to teams for the completion of a group project and presentation. Students will be expected to meet as a team to assign tasks and complete the group project. Further, they are expected to prepare an oral presentation that summarizes their project for their peers.

Professors teaching this course will be encouraged to work together in the development of syllabi, assignments, and assessment measures. The intent is not that all professors will utilize a common teaching strategy. Collaboration is essential, however, to assure consistency in expectations, content, rigor, and assessment. Teaching faculty will be encouraged to meet and discuss teaching strategies and assessment results. Such meetings will afford professors teaching this course opportunities to exchange ideas, strategies, and innovations that will improve student learning.

Recommended Student Assessment Measures

  1. Exams: Exams covering content areas should be given during the semester.
  2. Individual Case Analyses: Each student will be required to submit at least two individually written case analyses during the course of a semester. The recommendations must be based on the individual’s thorough, critical analysis of case data and an evaluation of reasonable strategic alternatives. The student must explain the rationale that supports the recommendation, and discuss strategic implementation issues. Students are expected to prepare for the in-class discussion of all cases.
  3. Group Project and Presentation: A substantive group project and presentation should be required. Students will be assigned to a group and will work together to complete the project. A written and oral report will be submitted within the guidelines set forth by the instructor.
  4. Individual Class Participation: Students are expected to participate in our discussion of course content, retailing related current events, and all assigned retailing cases. The professor will make an ongoing assessment of each student’s contributions to class discussions. Consideration should be given to the quality of comments and questions, to non-verbal feedback, and to demonstrated listening skills.
  5. Final Exam: A final exam is required for this course.

Statement of Expectations

This upper-level marketing course will delve into the topic of retailing in significant depth. To further the learning experience, students are required to complete two written case analyses and a group project. As such, not all learning will take place in the classroom. Students are required to invest time outside of the classroom to adequately learn the material. It is expected that, in addition to the three hours spent in class, students will invest approximately six hours per week reading, preparing case studies, studying, meeting with their group, and completing assignments.

Academic Integrity

Student-teacher relationships are built on trust. Any student found violating this trust undermines the educational process and is subject to significant disciplinary action.

The concept of academic integrity lies at the very heart of any college. This is particularly true of Siena with its strong Franciscan tradition and its dedication to fostering sound moral growth. In such an environment, academic dishonesty cannot be tolerated. Students who commit such acts expose themselves to punishments as severe as dishonorable dismissal from the college. Academic dishonesty can take different forms, including, but not limited to, cheating (dishonesty in a test situation), plagiarism (dishonesty in the presentation of materials in a paper or report), and computer abuse. In any situation in which a student is unsure of what constitutes academic dishonesty, it is the student's responsibility to raise the question with his or her instructor. It is also the student's responsibility to be familiar with the student guidelines on academic honesty, "Academic Integrity and the Siena Student." Alleging ignorance of what constitutes academic dishonesty or of the College's policy on the subject will not be considered a valid explanation or excuse.

The Siena Committee on Academic Integrity hears cases of alleged academic dishonesty. This student/faculty committee reviews evidence for and against the accused. If the student is found guilty, the committee will determine the appropriate sanction(s), which may include failure of the course, suspension from the College, or permanent dismissal. A statement of the reasons for such sanctions will be placed in the student’s file. Alleging ignorance of what constitutes academic dishonesty or of the College’s policy on the subject will not be considered a valid explanation or excuse.

Although it is presumed that students adhere to all academic integrity guidelines, instructors are to institute specific measures to assure compliance. All submissions will be screened for plagiarism and other violations of academic integrity.

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills

This upper level marketing course can be taken during the third or fourth year of the marketing and management degree program. Students must have attained the learning objectives of MKMG-212, Marketing. Specifically, they must demonstrate an understanding of the core concepts of marketing, verbal, non-verbal, and written communication skills, and a basic understanding of marketing ethics and social responsibility. Further, students should be able to function productively in a team, demonstrating leadership capabilities when appropriate. Students must be able to utilize computer software to prepare professional looking documents and presentations.

Specific Prerequisite Course: MKMG-212 Marketing