E-Retailing Students Develop Online Business for a Local Boutique

In Fall 2014, students in the E-Tailing and Multi-Channel Retailing course (MKTG 325) taught by Dr. Archana Kumar undertook an experiential project as part of the course. Keeping in line with the experiential nature of this course, students obtained a unique opportunity to act as ‘Digital Marketing Consultants’ to an existing brick-and-mortar store. Students developed an e-commerce business from the ground-up for Hip Chic, a Montclair boutique.

Hip Chic, located in Montclair, NJ, is a trendy boutique catering to girls (sizes 7-14) and juniors. Their merchandise selection includes clothing, shoes, accessories, handbags, and gifts. Hip Chic, a successful brick-and-mortar store had a limited online presence. The company wanted to expand by offering a full-fledged online store by offering customers an opportunity to purchase their products online. This is where our students came in.

As part of the learning process, students experienced the various steps that they would go through in order to develop an online business. Prior to developing the website, students visited the store to learn more about the client’s needs and conducted primary and secondary market research to gather information about the target market, assess competition, and consumer trends. Armed with this information, students worked with a web application to develop a website that would meet the needs of the client. After several discussions and modifications, the client approved the website. Along the way, students learnt about the intricacies of online retailing such as web aesthetics, tax structure, shipping and return policies, and customer service. Once the website went live, students learnt about search engine optimization, Google Adwords, and Google Analytics. Students promoted the live-website using Google Adwords, by monitoring the keywords that led to clicks and conversions. Google Analytics was used to build a profile of the visitors to the website. At the end of the semester, students presented a report to Ms. Grace Caravello, the owner of the company and handed over the fully-functional website. To see HipChic’s new website, visit www.hipchicnow.com

Overall, this unique experience provided students the knowledge and confidence to set up their own online retail business and/or to seek employment as a digital marketing consultant.  For information abou the School of Business, please visit the School of Business website.