Honors Theses

Date of Award

4-24-2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Journalism

First Advisor

Cynthia Joyce

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

As ecommerce outlets boom, many brick and mortar stores cannot keep up and are forced to shut their doors. Rural retailers have been hit harder than any other segment by this supposed Retail Apocalypse. In the same vein, many previously online only businesses are opening brick and mortar locations. The purpose of this research is to understand the combined necessity of physical and digital commerce for businesses and lay out an omnichannel strategy, the Clicks and Mortar method, that is tailored directly to the needs of rural boutique clothing retailers. The methods used to gather research and data include primary and secondary research. In depth interviews with six boutique owners, 20 rural citizens, and multiple industry experts were conducted, as well as the retrieval and reading of scholarly journals and relevant news articles. This research concludes that rural boutique retailers who integrate or continue to integrate digital technologies and modernizations into their stores in four categories: online presence, instore experience, customer service, and convenience, will be sustainable as well as help stave the economic backslide in the rural communities in which they exist.

Included in

Communication Commons

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