Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Ananda Ganguly

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Rights Information

© 2013 Alec J. Dorman


It is indisputable that the internet has become a necessary component of contemporary multi-channel retail, as more consumers are choosing to purchase goods online each year. As online spending continues to grow, many have called into question the future of brick-and-mortar retail. This thesis seeks to empirically prove that brick-and-mortar retail remains not only relevant, but indispensable in direct-to-consumer business models. The basis of this conjecture is the idea of channel synergism, in which online and brick-and-mortar operations are complementary. This theory is predicated on the emergence of the omni-channel retail, which is characterized by the integration of the various direct-to-consumer (D2C) channels to support cross-channel consumer interaction. To empirically test this hypothesis, key operating metrics were examined over the five year period from 2007 to 2011. By examining profitability trends and several D2C channel relationships, empirical support is developed to substantiate the claim that brick-and-mortar operations are not being driven into obsolescence by the growing prevalence of e-commerce transactions.