By: Hailey Temple

The electronic commerce industry has expanded, demanding more entrepreneurs and technology professionals. The School of Information Studies (iSchool) and Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University have partnered to create the Digital Retail Strategies Concentration for students interested in studying the intersection of retail management with information technology.

Digital Retail Strategies, an 18-credit concentration, allows students to understand the basic concepts behind retail management and its ties to electric commerce and digital strategies for effective marketing. The six required courses cover topics including social media, website design, electronic retailing and retail buying and planning.

Amanda Nicholson, Ph. D., Professor of Practice at Whitman, sees the advantages for both retail management students and information technology students to understand these fields as they collaborate as future professionals. “Information technology is an integral part of the business world. It’s so important for Whitman and iSchool students to understand the basics of these industries and to understand how they intersect.”

The electronic commerce industry is becoming more popular within retail, with companies like Macy’s and Urban Outfitters create departments specifically for their online retail businesses. With 9% of all retail occurring online, the demand to understand technology and develop these skills becomes more important. For iSchool students interested in retail, the concentration provides an opportunity to explore the business practice of buying and selling retail. Ultimately, this partnership will allow students to add depth and skills to their studies at Syracuse University that large retail companies are seeking in young professionals.

Natasha Olejar, a junior Retail Management and Marketing Management student, decided to take the concentration after seeing how well the two disciplines work together. “Everything from social media as a customer service tool to online shopping is growing rapidly. If a company does not have a solid online presence, that's a serious problem in today's online culture and can hurt sales.”

As the iSchool continues to support entrepreneurship, partnering with the Whitman School of Management is a great way to encourage students to study business while exchanging knowledge between programs. The schools hope that the Digital Retail Strategies concentration is the beginning of a long-standing partnership to help students study this growing relationship between business and technology.

iSchool Dean Liz Liddy sees the potential for growth with this concentration, saying, “for iSchool and Whitman students, this concentration will help them understand how the two worlds are so interconnected. This industry will continue to grow and it will be fascinating to see the fields change and the concentration grow into something more.”