The coordination of different communication and distribution channels has become one of the most important challenges in management. Companies increasingly invest into building up new departments that interlink interdisciplinary managerial functions such as marketing, sales, strategy, and information technologies. The change process in companies is known as “multi-channel”, “cross-channel”, or “omni-channel” management and denotes a) the optimization of the overall channel performance by accounting for potential channel conflicts, b) the seamless channel coordination of retail mix instruments for customer acquisition, retention, and development, and c) the strategic and operational integration of marketing-, sales-, service-, and logistic activities in the physical and digital retail environment. The course will prepare students for managerial positions in this growing field.The course covers cross-channel management topics such as strategy & positioning, segmentation & targeting, experience management, retail mix integration, personalization, behavioral mechanisms, social response, smart applications, and connectivity. The first part of the course takes the managerial perspective on measuring and managing customer equity as the central driver for performance optimization and disentangles potential conflicts in steering customers across channels successfully. Students will learn how to manage relationships with customers by 1) understanding and designing customer journey experiences, 2) integrating and analyzing data from various channel sources, and 3) personalizing digital environments according to individual customer attributes. In the evolving new data-rich retail environment, managers are increasingly challenged to use empirical insights which requires high methodological competences. In this course, students will learn to know and apply experimental research methods to conduct field experiments in companies. The second part of the course will investigate how consumers perceive the use of different channels and how their behavior is influenced by incentives, appeals, and subtle cues. As consumers increasingly spend their time online, their interaction with the digital environment is designed to include a social response – a human touch that makes consumers build up relationships with the company, even if the interaction is only digital. The course outlines future developments in smart applications, artificial intelligence and their implications for retailing. Finally, the course integrates concepts to use social networks in which consumers increasingly gain influence through social media.
Individual decisions by managers and consumers shape the retail environment, but also the daily living in general. This course provides insights into decision-making processes from both a psychological and managerial point-of-view. Specifically, people use different decision-making styles to solve problems that they encounter. The lecture will give insights into the outcomes of different decision-making styles for different types of problems and how coordinated decision-making processes can be optimized under uncertainty. Moreover, decision-making will be analyzed at different levels of the retail environment. On the managerial level, retail managers are required to constantly make decisions with regards to collaboration with suppliers and the coordination of the demand side. This course will give an overview of different instruments that can support decision-making in retail companies. Furthermore, consumers have to make multiple decisions during their information search, purchase and consumption. Students will learn to know how consumer decisions deviate from optimal choices due to irrational decision-making. Finally, an ongoing debate in public policy discusses whether and how consumers should be nudged towards making more sustainable choices. Students will participate in this discussion by exploring how regulatory interventions influence consumers’ choice outcomes. In sum, this course will give insights into decisions and choice biases regarding 1) general psychological mechanisms, 2) outcomes at the managerial level, 3) consumer outcomes, and 4) public policy interventions. The overall aim of this course is to highlight the role of conscious and unconscious information processing for decisions, and how people can make better decisions under uncertainty with coordinated decision-making processes. The course is useful to guide future managers in their daily problem-solving in companies.
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