On December 3, students, faculty, and staff celebrated the official opening of the new Center for Retail Design and Innovation (CRDI).
Housed within the Retail Merchandising Program, CRDI is designed to bridge the gap between the retail industry and academia. “It is exciting to have the center officially open,” said center Co-director Peggy Lord. “Through the center, students and retail professionals will connect with one another and generate solutions to problems facing the retail industry today and in the future.”
As part of the celebration, students presented their research results from the first CRDI research project, a case study on behalf of Macy’s. Working in groups, retail merchandising students in RM 3124: Consumers of Design examined social media content and platforms of Macy’s Style Crew members, Macy’s colleagues passionate about fashion and style who share their favorite Macy’s pieces on their social media accounts. “The new center is a perfect fit for the program, which focuses on providing students with project-based, experiential learning,” said Retail Merchandising Program Chair Hye-Young Kim. “Students bring fresh ideas to the table and can provide different perspectives and solutions.”
Through their research, students identified opportunities for Macy’s Style Crew members to improve their engagement with consumers and presented their recommendations to Macy’s executives. The team with the best presentation was then awarded $200 Macy’s gift cards for each team member and included Marissa Hank, Katerina Friedman, Bee Glur, Morgan Frick, Celena Heng, and Vivian Gross (all Retail Merchandising).
“We were blown away by the presentations,” said Lord. “All of the students should be extremely proud of themselves for the work they did.”
On the second floor of McNeal Hall, a new research center is opening its doors. Designed to connect retail industry professionals with faculty and students, the new Center for Retail Design and Innovation (CRDI) brings a unique design thinking approach to retail industry problems.
The retail merchandising program is proud to share that, as part of its 2020 Retail Connect event, it was able to provide individual scholarships to six current retail students: Courtney Clark, Caroline Geiger, Pei Jet Teh, Olivia Rein, Annie Skogen, and Kersten Wetterstrom.
In partnership with University Extension’s Neil Linscheid, Associate Professors Hye-Young Kim, Hyunjoo Im, and Ph.D. students Claire Whang and Sanga Song have developed the Joint Retail Assistance Program, a project designed to forge connections between retail merchandising students and retailers in rural Minnesota.