Gunner, a patron of Dogtopia in Highland Village, Texas, happily attended his first college course at the University of North Texas earlier this week. Other students reported he was friendly, outgoing and engaged in the class. He accompanied Carolyn Greig, owner of the dog daycare, boarding, spa and grooming location, who came to campus for case study presentations on her business.
Each semester, Junior and Senior level students in my Digital Retailing Strategies class work on a semester-long capstone case study project. I select a local company that is experiencing challenges in the digital and online space. Areas students analyze include the website, Yelp, social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, Google maps and search engines. I invite the company owner to class early in the semester and allow them to explain the business and challenges they are encountering. The students are then tasked to work on assigned teams, using all they’ve learned during the semester. Their role is to act as consultants, advising the owner on specific ideas to improve the business and increase customer exposure utilizing digital tools and strategies, while keeping in mind financial constraints of a small business owner.
All teams are required to create a project paper as well as a summary PowerPoint. From the 11 teams, I select the top 4 to present the PowerPoints to the owner during class. Following the presentations, I provide the project outcomes to the owner, to implement as they would like. The projects give students the opportunity to analyze real world business challenges and present actionable solutions.