DENTON (UNT), Texas — A new degree option at the University of North Texas is giving students the know-how to take on changing consumer trends in retail.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Consumer Experience Management – making UNT the first U.S. university to offer the degree program.
Students will learn to manage consumer expectations in retail, hospitality, tourism and other industries.
Among the latest trends, customers are increasingly driven by 24/7 year-round digital access to products and services. Additionally, retailers are focusing less on direct selling. Many companies are building public, no-pressure environments for visitors to engage with brands. There’s often nothing to buy, and potential shoppers must visit traditional locations for purchases.
At Capital One Cafés, for example, guests can explore banking options, hangout with free Wi-Fi or treat themselves at the café. Earlier this spring, Samsung 837 opened as a “digital playground” featuring community events, a gallery and a broadcast studio in New York City. And the Cadillac House in New York opened this year as a gallery space “where innovators, creators and the curious can find inspiration – and one another.”
“This degree is an important step in making us a national hub for retail education and expertise,” Forney said. “The college now offers five supporting undergraduate degrees – retailing, digital retailing, merchandising, home furnishings merchandising and now consumer experience management. This is the final link as it recognizes the power of 21st century consumers to change marketplace dynamics.”
Online job boards indicate increasing demand for user experience managers, brand managers, consumer experience analysts and thousands of other related, but varied, job titles.
“When I did the workforce analysis, I was astounded by the number of positions for consumer analytics and consumer managers,” Forney said. “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.”
Courses will be offered in a mix of online and face-to-face classes on both the UNT campus in Denton and at UNT’s New College at Frisco. For information, visit https://mdr.unt.edu/content/consumer-experience-management or contact the Department of Merchandising and Digital Retailing at email@example.com or 940-565-4635.