Ross Researchers Helping to Figure Out the New World of Retailing


Professors Joline Uichanco and Stefanus Jasin are working to optimize 'omnichannel' strategies.

Illustration of multiple retail channels

Online shopping may be in demand, but don’t count out brick-and-mortar stores just yet. Many retailers have adopted an “omnichannel” model of retailing — combining physical and online stores, with the ability to make purchases and returns at either channel. That approach gives customers expanded options, but at the same time it creates challenges for the business in regards to inventory, fulfillment, and more.

The online magazine Research Features has highlighted the work of Ross Professors Joline Uichanco and Stefanus Jasin to find solutions to some of these challenges. The researchers are developing algorithms and identifying policies that help omnichannel retailers make better decisions on issues like inventory, pricing, and shipping.

As the article describes, the challenges the researchers are addressing include:

  • Fulfillment and split delivery — shipping a product from the nearest warehouse isn’t always best.

  • The interaction of logistics and marketing — inventory decisions become more complex.

  • Price optimization and transparency across mediums.

The researchers have been developing suggested policies and practices to help retailers solve these problems and other related issues. In turn, customers can enjoy added flexibility in where and how they make purchases and returns.

“With their application of modern research methods, and combined experience in operations management and computational and mathematical engineering, it is clear that Joline Uichanco and Stefanus Jasin are making an impressive contribution towards the optimisation of the new omnichannel retail model,” the article concludes.

Joline Uichanco and Stefanus Jasin are assistant professors of technology and operations at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

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