With more than 2 billion Internet users of digital information and communication in 2011, networks are transforming 21st century consumer-business relationships. Advances in technology, information access, digital engagement, and the infusion of entertainment significantly influence consumer encounters with retail merchandising, hospitality and tourism industries — among the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world. Yet these industry giants confront huge challenges to develop analytical tools to manage, understand, effectively predict, and assess the digital impact on consumer experiences. Understanding the influence of digital information and consumption on consumer decision-making is a critical element for business innovation and economic and societal wellbeing.
The Consumer Experiences in Digital Environments research cluster offers a solid foundation to advance intellectual inquiry and address gaps in understanding these complex network/consumption relationships. The cluster offers faculty expertise in areas such as behavioral economics, digital knowledge analytics, networked information and retrieval, digital and international retailing, and hospitality and tourism. UNT is the first institute of higher learning to focus on the global consumer experience and specifically to conduct interdisciplinary research across retail-merchandising and hospitality-tourism disciplines. An extensive infrastructure promotes cluster research, including an advisory board of distinguished leaders; an internationally recognized visiting scholar’s program; enriched educational and professional development exchange with local, national and international partners; and a commitment on behalf of UNT to substantially grow this area with an investment of innovative technologies, resources, and strategic faculty appointments.
UNT in located just 30 minutes from The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the only inland port in the United States and is just a two hour drive from the third coast of digital innovation in Austin, TX.