Bachelor of Adult Education, course outline – Online Distance Learning degree program for adult students


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Bachelor of Adult Education (BA)

School of Social and Human Studies
Atlantic International University

The Bachelor of Adult Education (BA) program objective is to provide students with technical training necessary to work in the broad field of adult education and training; including community development, training coordination, mentorship, staff development, corporate and career training, adult education, and in-service training. Courses focus on training fundamentals, educational psychology, and adult learning behavior. The Bachelor of Adult Education (BA) program is offered online via distance learning. After evaluating both academic record and life experience, AIU staff working in conjunction with Faculty and Academic Advisors will assist students in setting up a custom-made program, designed on an individual basis. This flexibility to meet student needs is seldom found in other distance learning programs. Our online program does not require all students to take the same subjects/courses, use the same books, or learning materials. Instead, the online Bachelor of Adult Education (BA) curriculum is designed individually by the student and academic advisor. It specifically addresses strengths and weaknesses with respect to market opportunities in the student s major and intended field of work. Understanding that industry and geographic factors should influence the content of the curriculum instead of a standardized one-fits-all design is the hallmark of AIU s unique approach to adult education. This philosophy addresses the dynamic and constantly changing environment of working professionals by helping adult students in reaching their professional and personal goals within the scope of the degree program.

Important: Below is an example of the topics or areas you may develop and work on during your studies. By no means is it a complete or required list as AIU programs do not follow a standardized curriculum. It is meant solely as a reference point and example. Want to learn more about the curriculum design at AIU? (Course and Curriculum )

Core Courses and Topics in Adult Education:

    Interpersonal Communication
    Theory and Motivation
    Adult Education Methods and Procedures
    Adult Education Assessment Strategies
    Effective Verbal Presentations
    Fundamentals of Training
    Educational Psychology
    Adult Learning
    Training Perspectives
    Adult Learning and Development
    Introduction to Sociology
    Cultural Anthropology
    Human Behavior and Development Credits
    Organizational Communication
    Business Mathematics
    Principles of Psychology

Orientation Courses:

  • Communication Investigation (Comprehensive Resume)
  • Organization Theory (Portfolio)
  • Experiential Learning (Autobiography)
  • Seminar Administrative Development (Book Summary)
  • Seminar Cultural Development (Practical Experience)
  • Seminar International Development (Publications)

Research Project in Adult Education:

Bachelor Thesis Project
MBM300 Thesis Proposal
MBM302 Bachelor Thesis (5,000 words)
Publication: Each Bachelor of Adult Education graduate is encouraged to publish their research papers either online in the public domain or through professional journals and periodicals worldwide.

Career Center Bachelor of Adult Education

Job Description Bachelors in Adult Education

Adult education is the practice of teaching and educating adults. This often happens in the workplace, through ‘extension’ or ‘continuing education’ courses at secondary schools, at a college or university. Other learning places include folk high schools, community colleges, and lifelong learning centers. The practice is also often referred to as ‘Training and Development’. It has also been referred to as andragogy (to distinguish it from pedagogy). A difference is made between vocational education, mostly undertaken in workplaces and frequently related to upskilling, and non-formal adult education including learning skills or learning for personal development.

Skills for Success

  • Good communication skills
  • Good presentation skills
  • Good organizational skills
  • Professional and ethical

Employment Opportunities for Adult Education field

  • Adult Education Teacher
  • Adult Education Counselor

Professional Associations

  • American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE )
  • International Council for Adult Education (ICAE )

Resources and Tools

We understand how busy adults do not have time to go back to school. Now, it’s possible to earn your degree in the comfort of your own home and still have time for yourself and your family. The Admissions office is here to help you, for additional information or to see if you qualify for admissions please contact us. If you are ready to apply please submit your Online Application and paste your resume and any additional comments/questions in the area provided.


Atlantic International University: bachelor, master, doctoral degree programs by distance learning, online, correspondence, or home


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Atlantic International University is a unique alternative to the more than 6,700 traditional colleges and universities in the United States, we utilize a sustainable and andragogic approach to learning with an open curriculum design. At AIU you will build your own curriculum from courses that are appropriate for your personal and professional goals.

AIU offers a wide range of majors in areas including the Arts, Business, Science, Technology, Social, and Human studies. More than 120 degrees and programs are available for adult learners at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and post doctorate level.

Distance Learning at AIU is enhanced by vast academic resources and innovative technologies build into the Virtual Campus: Hundreds of self-paced courses with video lectures and step by step lessons, thousands of optional assignments, 140,000 e-books, the Social Media & Networking platform allowing collaboration/chat/communications between students, and MYAIU develop students holistically in 11 areas beyond just academics.

AIU degree programs are designed for professional adults. After evaluating both academic records and life experience, AIU staff working in conjunction with Faculty and Academic Advisors, establishes the student’s Academic Status. The student’s Academic Status defines the number of Credit Hours the student must complete to fulfill the academic guidelines of the institution.

The programs offered at AIU allow for limited Academic or Life-experience. Academic or Life-experience credit is knowledge gained outside of the classroom through work or other professional endeavors. The policy for accepting such credit is limited to one third of the credit requirement for the program and documentation must be provided to confirm such experience.

AIU is accredited by the Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges and Universities (ASIC). ASIC Accreditation is an internationally renowned quality standard for colleges and universities. ASIC is a member of CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG) in the USA and an approved accreditation body by the Ministerial Department of the Home Office in the UK. AIU is not accredited by an agency recognized by the US secretary of education. Read more.

Our founding principles are based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights; per article 26, AIU believes that Higher Education is a Human Right. The University has implemented a paradigm shifting educational model for its academic programs that have allowed it to move closer to this goal through the self-empowerment of its students, decentralization of the learning process, personalized open curriculum design, and a sustainable learning model.

Students and Faculty develop, produce and edit shows, documentaries and other media disseminated via AIUTV and AIU Radio. Creators have a profile page summarizing the show and themselves with a way for viewers to get in contact with them for further collaboration, networking, or other synergistic interactions.

Every hosted your own show? Have a mission or cause you would like to bring awareness to? Are you passionate about something? Any of these can be great topics to be featured on AIUTv ?>

Online Programs #online #programs,online #classes,degree #online,online #college,online #associate #degrees,career #pursuits,online #student,associate #degree,degree #programs #online,medical #assisting


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Online Programs

Earn Your Degree Online in Months!

Do It on Your Own Time at a West Virginia-based Online College

West Virginians have always been proud of their rich history. This West Virginia pride includes everything from Daniel Boone establishing trading posts on our frontiers to the glory of our collegiate sports teams.

Now, West Virginia Junior College is offering West Virginians online associate degrees to enhance their educational and career pursuits, so they can contribute to this cultural history. Whether you are native-born or have moved to our great state, WVJC offers you the same great advantages.

WVJC online student advantages include:

  • An associate degree in months
  • Flexibility
  • West Virginia-based local support
  • 24/7 technical support
  • Nearly 100 years of training West Virginians
  • Extensive experience with West Virginia employers

WVJC currently offers the following degree programs online:

Trying to figure out if online classes are a good fit for you? Below are some of the qualities of a successful online student.

  • Open minded about sharing life, work, and educational experiences as part of the learning process
  • Able to communicate through writing
  • Being an active learner who is highly motivated, self-directed, and self-disciplined
  • Organized, with strong time management skills, and the ability to meet deadlines
  • Committed to setting sufficient hours aside to successfully complete course work
  • Attention to detail and the ability to follow directions
  • Able to think critically
  • Willing to speak up if problems arise
  • Has reliable access to a computer and the internet
  • Comfortable using a computer

Our online campus provides you with the flexibility to go to class any time you want, from anywhere you can access the internet. Through the use of our eCampus, instructors are able to utilize effective teaching practices enhanced with innovative technologies to ensure a rich, dynamic, and interactive educational experience.

Introducing the WVJC Online Programs Now Offered in Pennsylvania

Along with everything WVJC offers for West Virginia-based students, we re also proud to provide numerous programs offered in Pennsylvania for students who are looking to take the next step in their careers.

These programs, and some of their attributes, include:

  • Business Administration With career prospects available following graduation including sales, business management, bookkeeping, accounting assistance and more, this program provides students with a range of skills to aid in their future careers.
  • Business Administration/Accounting If you re looking for a program focusing on financial accounting, tax return and payroll preparation, use of accounting software, business ownership models, along with many other key topics, this is the program for you.
  • Legal Office Assisting Our in-depth legal office assisting program teaches you how to draft legal correspondence, utilize basic investigation techniques, interview clients, plus many more fundamental skills.
  • Clinical Medical Assistant For those looking to apply themselves in the healthcare sector, our clinical medical assistant program can provide training in performing lab tests, giving injections, taking vital signs, performing EKGs and more.
  • Medical Office Administration This program from WVJC Online will teach you the skills of maintaining electronic health records, overseeing billing, conducting basic coding, utilizing administrative software, plus many other abilities valued by the medical field.
  • Medical Coding For training that will prepare you to work in hospitals, wellness centers, clinics, general practitioner offices and other facilities in the healthcare field, choose this fundamental program.
  • Introducing Our Online Programs Offered in Ohio

    In addition to all we offer to West Virginia residents, we re proud to announce the availability of online programs offered in Ohio. These programs include:

    Visit our main link above or the individual program links to find out about these great online programs!

    We’re here for you. Call 877-25ONLINE, visit our Request Information page, or Apply Online today!

    West Virginia Junior College is also enrolling students from Beckley, WV, Martinsburg, WV and surrounding areas! Learn more:


    Welcome – Renault Retail Operations, The Leading Renault Experience #hotel #promo #codes


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  • Retail Buyer Career Profile: Experience, Pay, Duties #cupons


    #retail buyer

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    How to Become a Retail Buyer for Major Stores

    Updated June 20, 2016

    A career as a retail buyer can be rewarding and the day-to-day job requirements diverse and interesting. Retail buyers are responsible for finding, negotiating and purchasing merchandise that will be sold in stores. It is a fast-paced job that requires knowledge of the retail industry as well as the basics of business.

    What Does a Retail Buyer Do?

    A retail buyer (or purchasing agent) selects merchandise and develops product assortments to grow the business and increase its market share.

    Major stores with multiple locations employ many retail buyers and each buyer may have a particular department or segment that they focus on.

    For instance, one buyer may focus on sporting goods for a big-box department store while another concentrates on children s toys. In larger companies, there may be multiple buyers for the same department, each with an even more narrow focus and they will often work as a team to coordinate the entire department s merchandise mix .

    Retail buyers are responsible for developing product assortments by using market trend analysis information. They also monitor and manage sales and margins.

    It is a multi-faceted position that includes:

    Buyers will identify growth opportunities and risks in the assortment as well as develop contingency plans .

    They are expected to build strong vendor relations and put together solid business plans. including strong and detailed promotional programs .

    Some travel may be required and it is not uncommon for retail buyers to work more than 40 hours per week.

    Experience and Qualities Required

    Retail buyers need a sense of retail and product trends and strong analytical experience.

    • Previous retail experience is often required.
    • Buyers will have computer skills and working knowledge of resource planning and forecasting .
    • Excellent leadership, negotiating, and planning skills are also a must.

    Education and Training

    A Bachelor s degree in retail, fashion, marketing or another related field is preferred. Additional computer training may also be required.

    Retail buyers are encouraged to become a member of trade organizations like the National Retail Federation or American Purchasing Society. It is also a good idea to seek continued education periodically to stay on top of the latest trends and market conditions.

    Compensation and Job Outlook

    A retail buyer s salary will vary with the size of the operation and the number of departments the buyer is responsible for.

    Compensation ranges from around $30,000 to $95,000. The median wage for retail buyers in 2015 is $52,620 annually or $28.66 per hour. The job outlook for 2014-2024 is estimated at a 2% growth.*

    • The grocery, electronics and building materials industries employ the most retail buyers.
    • The bookstore, paper product, e-commerce, hardware and apparel industries have the highest concentration of retail buyers.
    • Computer, electric power, telecommunications, industrial machinery and apparel retail buyers are among the highest paid.

    Buyers generally receive a full benefits package and occasionally relocation allocation.


    Retail Manager Salaries by education, experience, location and more #coupons #for #clothing #stores


    #retail manager salary

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    Retail Manager Salary

    Plans and directs the day-to-day operations of a retail store. Develops strategies to improve customer service, drive store sales, and increase profitability. Ensures customer needs are met, complaints are resolved, and service is quick and efficient. Ensures all products and displays are merchandised effectively to maximize sales and profitability. Forecasts staffing needs and develops a recruiting strategy to provide optimal staffing in all areas. May require a bachelor s degree or its equivalent at least 5 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Familiar with a variety of the field s concepts, practices, and procedures. Relies on extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Lead and directs the work of others. Typically reports to Retail Store Manager, Sr. View Retail Store Manager Salary

    Alternate Job Titles. Retail Store Manager

    Assists the store manager with the day-to-day operations of a retail store. Implements strategies to improve customer service, drive store sales, and increase profitability. Ensures customer needs are met, complaints are resolved, and service is quick and efficient. Maintains store appearance and product presentation to company standards. Provides support to sales associates during peak periods or when scheduling conflicts arise. Requires a high school diploma with 2-4 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Familiar with standard concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Relies on experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. May lead and direct the work of others. Typically reports to Retail Store Manager. View Retail Store Manager Assistant Salary

    Alternate Job Titles. Retail Store Manager Assistant, Assistant Manager, Retail Store. Assistant Retail Store Manager

    Manages the daily operations of a large or high-volume retail store. Develops strategies to improve customer service, drive store sales, and increase profitability. Also oversees a group of stores within a specified geographic region, providing guidance and direction to store managers and adjusting sales goals and procedures as appropriate for the store based on goals set by the district manager. May require a bachelor s degree or its equivalent with at least 8 years experience in the field or in a related area. Familiar with a variety of the field s concepts, practices, and procedures. Relies on extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Leads and directs the work of others. Typically reports to the district retail sales manager. View Retail Store Manager, Sr. Salary

    Alternate Job Titles. Area Store Manager, Senior Retail Store Manager, Retail Store Manager, Sr.

    Oversees merchandising and staff in a zone or department. May have keyholder responsibilities. Responsible for department retail sales staff training, assignments, and scheduling. Requires a high school diploma or its equivalent and 5 years of related experience. Familiar with standard concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Relies on limited experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of tasks. A certain degree of creativity and latitude is required. Typically reports to a manager or head of a unit/department. View Department Retail Sales Manager Salary

    Alternate Job Titles. Manager of Department Sales, Department Retail Sales Manager

    Oversees a group of senior store managers from a specified geographic region. Responsible for hiring and training store managers. Ensures stores meet operating and revenue goals. May require a bachelor s degree in area of specialty and at least 10 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Familiar with standard concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Relies on experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of tasks. Leads and directs the work of others. A wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected. Typically reports to the Regional Retail Store Manager. View District Retail Sales Manager Salary

    Alternate Job Titles. District Retail Sales Manager, Manager of District Sales

    Responsible for opening and closing when the store manager and assistant manager are not present. Responsibilities include sales associate and assistant manager level functions. Must be able to take charge of the store when necessary. Requires a high school diploma or its equivalent and 2-4 years of related experience. Has knowledge of commonly-used concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Relies on instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the functions of the job. Works under immediate supervision. Typically reports to a supervisor or manager. Hourly salary annualized based on a 2,080 hour work year. View Retail Third Keyholder – Full Time Salary

    Alternate Job Titles. Retail Third Keyholder – Full Time, Keyholder – Full Time

    Main duties include ringing up sales and bagging items. May require a high school diploma or its equivalent. No experience necessary. Has knowledge of commonly-used concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Relies on instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the functions of the job. Works under immediate supervision. Primary job functions do not typically require exercising independent judgment. Typically reports to a supervisor or manager. Hourly salary annualized based on a 2,080 hour work year. View Retail Cashier – Full Time Salary

    Alternate Job Titles. Retail Cashier, Retail Cashier – Full Time

    Supervises office and administrative activities to achieve maximum expense control and productivity for a retail store. Responsible for all payroll, accounting, and other general administrative functions for a retail location. Oversees human resource and personnel functions including employee evaluations and enforcement of company policies. Monitors office facilities and tracks retail equipment and supplies. Requires a high school diploma or its equivalent with at least 5 years of experience in the field. Familiar with a variety of the field s concepts, practices, and procedures. Relies on experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of tasks. Leads and directs the work of others. A wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected. Typically reports to a head of a unit/department. View Retail Store Office Manager Salary

    Alternate Job Titles. Retail Store Office Manager

    Processes orders, prepares correspondence, and fulfills customer needs to ensure customer satisfaction. May assist with purchases and returns. Requires a high school diploma or equivalent and 0-3 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Has knowledge of commonly-used concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Relies on instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the functions of the job. Works under immediate supervision. Primary job functions do not typically require exercising independent judgment. Typically reports to a supervisor or manager. View Retail Store Customer Service Representative Salary

    Alternate Job Titles. Retail Store Customer Service Representative

    Oversees store/home office communications. Duties may include payroll administration, overseeing new store openings, and contest planning and administration. Acts as liaison between field and home office management. May require a bachelor s/master s degree and at least 8 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Familiar with a variety of the field s concepts, practices, and procedures. Relies on extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of tasks. A certain degree of creativity and latitude is required. View Retail Store Operations Administrator Salary

    Alternate Job Titles. Administrator of Store Operations, Retail Store Operations Administrator


    Retail Store Manager Salaries by education, experience, location and more #retail #resume


    #retail manager salary

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    Retail Store Manager Salaries

    Alternate Job Titles: Retail Store Manager

    • What is the average annual salary for Retail Store Manager?

        How much does a Retail Store Manager make? The median annual Retail Store Manager salary is $54,376. as of September 30, 2016, with a range usually between $47,552 – $64,987. however this can vary widely depending on a variety of factors. Our team of Certified Compensation Professionals has analyzed survey data collected from thousands of HR departments at companies of all sizes and industries to present this range of annual salaries for people with the job title Retail Store Manager in the United States.

        This chart describes the expected percentage of people who perform the job of Retail Store Manager in the United States that make less than that annual salary. For example the median expected annual pay for a typical Retail Store Manager in the United States is $54,376, so 50% of the people who perform the job of Retail Store Manager in the United States are expected to make less than $54,376.

        Source: HR Reported data as of October 2016

        • About this chart

            This chart describes the expected percentage of people who perform the job of Retail Store Manager that make less than that salary. For example 50% of the people who perform the job of Retail Store Manager are expected to make less than the median.
            Source: HR Reported data as of October 2016

            Plans and directs the day-to-day operations of a retail store. Develops strategies to improve customer service, drive store sales, and increase profitability. Ensures customer needs are met, complaints are resolved, and service is quick and efficient. Ensures all products and displays are merchandised effectively to maximize sales and profitability. Forecasts staffing needs and develops a recruiting strategy to provide optimal staffing in all areas. May require a bachelor s degree or its equivalent at least 5 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Familiar with a variety of the field s concepts, practices, and procedures. Relies on extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Lead and directs the work of others. Typically reports to Retail Store Manager, Sr. View full job description


        How To Sell Your Retail Job Experience On Your Resume #supply #chain #news


        #retail experience

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        How To Sell Your Retail Job Experience On Your Resume

        If you ever feel like your part-time retail experience won t impress a potential employer, chances are you re probably not emphasizing the skills you strengthened, your sales achievements or what you learned about running a business successfully on your resume.

        And that means you re missing out on a huge opportunity.

        Here’s how you can communicate what you did at these jobs on your resume:

        Quantify your sales performance

        Retail is a results-oriented business. While the numbers don’t tell an entire story, they don’t lie either. Retailers are looking to see what and how you will contribute to their sales team, so numbers help prove your skills.

        If you excelled in a previous role, be specific about what you achieved and when you achieved it. You should include important performance metrics like total sales, average sale ($) and items per sale within a certain time period (either quarterly or yearly).

        At my old part-time retail job. managers used to send emails to other stores in the district whenever someone had a big sale. Sometimes the Vice-President of Operations and other managers replied to the email. If you were ever a subject of an email like this, include this achievement on your resume and print out a copy to show off at job interviews.

        Include the benchmark for each metric

        How can a hiring manager compare how you performed to how you were supposed to perform if you only tell them what you did? They won’t know how impressive your metric figures are unless they know what you were being measured against.

        Add context to your achievements by including the store’s benchmark or minimum requirements for each performance metric. This will prove that you really did excel in your role in relation to your colleagues.

        This means you ll have to keep track of your performance. Record sales, print relevant emails and take pictures of significant projects you worked on. Not sure if you re allowed? Just ask your manager.

        Display your commitment to learning

        The top sellers tend to be the people with the most knowledge about products. If you attended any optional or mandatory product knowledge seminars during your employment, be sure to list how many and any key, transferable highlights from them.

        This signals to a potential employer that you take retail seriously, you re open to learning new things and that you re able to adapt to new situations.

        List your leadership roles

        Were you responsible for training new hires? Did you lead a number of sales associates during peak times? Were you in charge of closing or opening the store? Were you a member of the store s health and safety committee?

        If you were, it probably means that management trusted your abilities and judgment to meet company standards, lead a team and resolve any problems that may arise.

        If you were called to perform tasks that made you a leader on the sales floor, include the most notable ones and any relevant details about each role on your resume.

        Describe how your ideas were executed

        Did you have a brilliant idea that positively affected sales, store procedures or your store s layout? Describe your idea, how it was implemented and what the results were. Be brief and specific.

        For example: On Boxing Day in 2011, I suggested creating a sign for a one-day promotion that wasn t getting too much attention from customers and after the sign was printed, we sold 11 pairs of $100 boots. This situation clearly and concretely illustrates my problem solving and communication skills.

        Share your retail resume-writing tips in the comments section below!

        March 20, 2013 October 28, 2014

        Post navigation


        What Skills Are Acquired in Retail Job Experience for a Resume? #retail #space #design


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        What Skills Are Acquired in Retail Job Experience for a Resume?

        Working in retail is about much more than just selling products or working a cash register. If you are interested in a permanent retail career or just looking for temporary employment, a job in the retail industry will provide you with many important skills that will last a lifetime. Recognizing these skills and adding them to your resume can help advance your career in many ways, whether you plan to stay in a retail environment or branch into another field.

        Rocking Retail on Your Resume

        If you’ve worked in the retail industry, be sure to include your customer service skills on your resume. You have likely assisted customers in a variety of ways, including resolving customer complaints and disputes. Retail jobs also teach you how to stay cool under pressure and think on your feet, which is a skill you likely honed during the Christmas shopping season when lines at your register were long and customer patience was short. The accurate handling of cash, credit and debit transactions should also make it to your resume, as this skill is one of the most important gained from your work in a retail establishment. Some jobs may also teach you technical and computer skills, since the retail environment requires you to work with point-of-sale systems and inventory tracking and ordering programs, depending upon your specific retail role. Further, don’t forget your sales skills and that you thrived in a team environment.


        The Elements Of A Great Shopping Experience #retail #signage


        #retail experience

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        The Elements Of A Great Shopping Experience

        Paula Courtney found “wow” when she took her daughter to the employee washroom at her local grocery store. A sign by the door instructed workers to remain physically by the side of any customer experiencing a problem until that problem was resolved. Later, when Courtney was in the checkout line, the cashier noticed Courtney’s blueberries were squishy. The cashier insisted on walking back to the produce section to find a fresh box.

        For Courtney, chief executive of The Verde Group. a Toronto retail research and consulting firm, that was a “wow” shopping experience.

        New Wharton research finds that 35% of shoppers have had an extraordinary retail experience in the past six months. But in order to hit that mark, retailers must deliver on as many as 10 different elements of the shopping experience simultaneously. Retailers are rewarded when shoppers tell others about their experience. “Peoples’ expectations are pretty high. It’s easy to [fall short of those expectations], and hard to eclipse [bad experiences, even] with something that’s over-the-top,” says Wharton marketing professor Stephen Hoch. “Bitching and moaning is more common than praise.”

        Wharton’s Jay H. Baker Retailing Initiative teamed with Verde and the Retail Council of Canada to discover how retailers can create an extraordinary experience for shoppers. In an online survey, 1,006 shoppers in the United States and Canada were asked: “Can you think of a shopping experience that you had in the past six months or so that was especially great, in that the experience created delight and surprise for you in any way?”

        A report based on the research, titled “Discovering ‘WOW’–A Study of Great Retail Shopping Experiences in North America ,”points to five major areas that contribute to a great shopping experience:

        –Engagement: being polite, genuinely caring and interested in helping, acknowledging and listening.

        –Executional excellence: patiently explaining and advising, checking stock, helping to find products, having product knowledge and providing unexpected product quality.

        –Brand Experience: exciting store design and atmosphere, consistently great product quality, making customers feel they’re special and that they always get a deal.

        –Expediting: being sensitive to customers’ time on long check-out lines, being proactive in helping speed the shopping process.

        –Problem Recovery: helping resolve and compensate for problems, upgrading quality and ensuring complete satisfaction.

        In all, respondents mentioned 28 elements of a great experience, such as salespeople who “immediately acknowledged you” or “could easily explain a product to you” or “seemed genuine.”

        Pulling It All Together

        Courtney says the typical wow experience has 10 of those elements at the same time. Further complicating the mission for retailers is the fact that the most important elements vary among individuals. “It’s like a perfect storm,” she says.

        Retailers can focus on creating a “bedrock,” or platform, based on the five major pillars of retail satisfaction to increase the probability of creating a wow experience. According to the research, four in five shoppers will tell an average of three other people about a wow experience.

        Brand experience and engagement are the strongest drivers of loyalty, according to the survey. The top response was related to engagement, with 63% of those reporting that during their great shopping experience, store employees were “very polite and courteous.” Salespeople who were knowledgeable about the product in the store got the second-highest response at 55%. As for execution, about half of those experiencing a wow shopping trip stressed store employees’ familiarity with products, their advice and the level of interest in the customers’ needs as essential to a great shopping experience. Slightly fewer–two in five–pointed to surprisingly great product quality and store representatives who go out of their way to check stock as crucial elements of exceptional shopping.

        Brand experience includes store design and atmosphere, consistently great product quality, making customers feel they’re special and the sense that customers always get a deal. Hoch says this element is somewhat “fuzzy” because chain stores, which account for the majority of shopper visits, often provide trendy merchandise and stylish store environments, but also run the risk of projecting sameness. Earlier research by the Baker Center and Verde found that shoppers reported “mall malaise”–boredom with the similarity of specialty chain stores. “Most chains are cookie-cutter,” says Hoch. “Even if the stores themselves are different from each other, the same store is in every mall. It’s probably a lot easier for a small merchant to provide this brand experience. Unfortunately, if people see the same look over and over again, they find it mundane.”

        Speeding the shopping process is another important trait of a great retailer, according to the survey. Three of four aspects of the expediting pillar–helping customers complete their shopping quickly, and being sensitive to time and check-out lines–are rated as “very important” by half of those who encountered each during the shopping experience they cited as “great.” Hoch says many people, especially women, no longer approach shopping as a pleasant task. “Shopping used to be a happy, social event–and it can still be–but more often now it’s part of a larger trip, and you are trying to get a lot accomplished in a certain period of time.”

        The ability of a retailer to resolve a problem once it crops up is another key factor in determining whether a shopper will have a great experience. One in four respondents mention that a store representative stayed with them until their problem was resolved. Fewer than one in 10 said they were compensated for a store error, or that a store representative broke company policy to resolve a problem or automatically offered a product upgrade.

        Courtney stresses it is important for retailers to have a clear, simple problem resolution process. “The biggest issue is problem ownership,” she says. “If all you can do is train everybody on one thing related to problem-solving it would be getting people to own the problem and not pass it off.” Hoch says that while problem resolution was not as great a factor as some of the other five elements, one common thread emerged from the research: “A person stepped up to the plate and figured out how to solve the problem.” Having that experience changed the consumer’s state of mind from helplessness to, “‘Boy, somebody came up and helped me.’ We all like a hero, but it doesn’t happen very often,” Hoch notes.

        The research also indicates that the components of a great retail experience vary somewhat by the age, gender and nationality of shoppers. Younger consumers, aged 18 to 30, were most likely to recall having a great shopping experience. Those over age 50 were more likely to mention store representatives who seemed genuine and caring. They also liked being acknowledged and treated courteously. Hoch notes that younger shoppers’ retail experiences are colored by greater comfort with multitasking and familiarity with the Internet, making them more transaction-oriented than relationship-oriented and less tied to brick-and-mortar stores.

        Canadian shoppers cite “getting a deal” as a more important part of the brand experience than do shoppers in the U.S. The Canadians also put more emphasis on an exciting store atmosphere or design. Courtney argues that understanding differences across national lines is critical for global retailers. “It shows the need to recognize the customer who shops in your retail footprint. Creating a ‘one-size fits all’ doesn’t work,” she says. “There are some significant differences between Canadians and Americans. More important, there are age and gender differences that are relevant to every customer you serve and are easy to identify.”

        The best way to lay the foundation for customers to have great retail experiences is for store owners to hire and train staff who are able to take basic information about shopper preferences and convert that knowledge to customized service. “If you are a mass merchandiser with no training program, the likelihood of creating wow is slim to none,” says Courtney. “Hiring policy is core to a business that creates ‘wow.’”

        In the current recessionary climate, price is important to consumers, but only one factor in the overall wow shopping experience. The researchers found that of those experiencing a wow shopping trip, 43% said having consistently excellent products was a factor in their recent great retail experiences. That was the top response in regard to brand experience, followed by “getting a deal,” which was cited by 31% of respondents. “We have created a value-based consumer,” says Courtney.

        While the Great Depression led to an era of penny pinching, today’s economic crisis is leading consumers to focus more on value than price, she adds. “With credit cards and retail and telecom, we are seeing value-based buying. … People are being more scrupulous about where they buy and what they buy. More educated consumers are looking for a better value in everything.”

        Still, even in a challenging economic environment, she says, retailers are able to deliver a wow experience if they plan to provide the basic elements of a great shopping experience. “Despite shortages of resources and store closings, it is still possible to delight and surprise,” she contends. “The possibility exists when retailers have everything in place.”