Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: SONIA CATERINA GIACCONE

Expected Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

The Retail management course aims to provide students with specific skills, both theoretical and operational, on strategic management of business relationships and sales networks development, focusing attention particularly on retail activities. These issues are particularly relevant in a dynamic context characterized by the increasing digitalization of commercial activities and the change in purchasing and consumption behaviors. Sales management therefore deserves an analysis not only with reference to the point of sale (physical or digital), but also with regard to commercial relations along the supply chain.

Applying knowledge and understanding

The course of Retail management aims to develop students’ ability to master and appropriately use the concepts, operational tools and methodology learned in the classroom, to critically evaluate and address the problems related to sales planning, management of commercial relations, management and organization of sales networks and of sales activity in store, through commercial policies and sales techniques effective in enhancing products and sales spaces. Classroom testimonials from managers and industry experts, as well as case study analysis will help increase students' ability to apply the knowledge gained during lessons.

Making judgement

Students will be able to independently evaluate and critically address the issues and implications related to the management of a retail store, the design and implementation of sales programs and the creation and management of commercial networks and sales personnel. They will also be able to evaluate the critical aspects in the management of retail outlets and in trade marketing relationships, and make decisions in relation to the aspects highlighted above, in order to pursue the success of the company.

Communication skills

Students will be able to appropriately use technical language and to transfer to others, orally or in writing, concepts, ideas and evaluations related to trade and sales management issues. This ability is also stimulated by the interaction that takes place in the classroom through the critical debate on the topics addressed, the presentation of reports in written form, thematic insights, and project work.


Learning skills

At the end of the cycle of lessons, students will have learned knowledge and gained a critical evaluation capacity that will allow them to update and increase their skills in the field of trade and sales management independently. They will also have gained the ability to critically address the reading and understanding of both scientific articles and reports, and of corporate strategic choices related to the planning of sales activities and the management of networks and commercial relations. This learning ability will be stimulated, during the cycle of lessons, through an active and participatory involvement of students, who will be asked to present and discuss case studies and project work carried out in small working groups, as well as by interaction and comparison with experts (such as marketing managers, sales managers, retailers and company trainers) who will intervene in the classroom.

Course Structure

The organization of the course encourages active participation of the students and constant interaction between them and with the teacher. The course is structured through lectures on the topics included in the program and is enriched by testimonies in the classroom by professionals and entrepreneurs.

in-depth studies on specific topics and exercises are also planned through the analysis and discussion of case studies in the classroom. Attending students are also asked to elaborate and present group project works in the classroom, which will be considered by the teacher in the overall assessment of learning. Visits to local firms could be organized.

If the teaching is given in mixed mode or online, the necessary variations may be introduced with respect to what was previously declared, in order to comply with the program provided for and reported in the Syllabus. 

Required Prerequisites

Although there is no formal pre-requisite to take part in the Retail management course, knowledge of the Management Principles and Economics and Business Management programs is strongly suggested.

Attendance of Lessons

The active attendance of lessons is strongly recommended

Detailed Course Content

The Retail management course deals with the issues of commercial enterprise management, trade marketing, sales planning, management of the sales force in the store, as well as of sales networks.

In the first part, the course deals with the theme of retailing, examining the evolutionary trends of commercial distribution and innovative formats, commercial strategies and options related to the organization of sales (e.g. sales in physical vs. digital stores; sales through single-channel, multi-channel and omnichannel). The management of retail sales in stores also involves the analysis of other issues of strategic importance, such as: the choice of the location of the store; the management of internal exhibition spaces, store design and visual merchandising; in-store communication and in-store marketing activities to achieve sales targets; the definition of pricing policies; the management and organization of sales personnel. The relevance of shopping experience and customer relationship management activities to manage and nurture the relationship with the customer over time will also be considered. Sustainability aspects in retail and internationalization strategies of retail companies will also be addressed.

The role of retail in the supply chain will be analyzed and in particular the issues related to industry-distribution commercial relations will be examined, examining elements of trade marketing such as sell-in and sell-out policies, monitoring and control; the dynamics of relationship and negotiation between producers and distributors, the design and management of the Customer/ Channel portfolio.

Then, the course deals with the theme of sales force management, with specific reference to the selection and training processes, the choices of specialization of the sales force, as well as to the dynamics related to the remuneration and incentive of sales staff and leadership to lead teams to success. Sales techniques, sales plans and sales staff performance will also be examined. Attention will also be paid to the design and sizing of commercial action on the territory, through the construction and management of sales networks to capture value on the markets.

Textbook Information

1.     Ennis S., Risso M., Sansone M., Scafarto F., (2021), Retail marketing, Mc Graw-Hill Education (Italy), Milano.

2.     Sisti M.A., Guenzi P., Caiozzo P. (2020), Gestire le vendite. L'eccellenza nel sales management, Egea, Milano, capitoli 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7, 8 (only reading the "Insight" sections at the end of the chapters)

3.     Supplementary materials: slides and case studies provided by the teacher during lessons

Recommended reading:

1. Fornari D., Grandi S., Fornari E. (2019). Retailvision. Egea, Milano, chapter 3 “L’e-commerce e l’omnicanalità”, pp. 77-122

2. Fornari D., Grandi S., Fornari E. (2019). Retailvision. Egea, Milano, chapter 2 “Lo shopper 4.0”, pp.47-76

3. Castaldo S. (2010), Go to market, chapter 7, pp.  207-222


N.B. The supplementary material is an integral part of the program and is available online on Studium, while recommended reading is available in the Library of the department of Economics and Business

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Introduction to the course of Retail managementSlides
2Evolution of commercial sector and distribution formatsEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 1, slides
3Competitive strategies of retail firms, e-commerce and omnichannelSlides
4Internatioal development of retail firmsEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 12, slides
5Experience of retail firms’ creation and developmentSlides
6Understanding customers in retailEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 2, slides
7Strategic positioning and branding in retailEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 2, slides
8Localization choices in retailEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 8, slides
9Management of sales area and visual merchandisingEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 5, slides
10Management of sales area and visual merchandisingEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 5, slides
11Customer service managementEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 7, slides
12Customer relationship management and customer fidelizationEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 6, slides
13Communication policies in retail: store relationship management, communication and relationship managementEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 10, slides
14Private label strategiesEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 6, slides
15Price strategies in retailEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 9, slides
16Sustainability in retailEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 11, slides
17Impacts of social and technological changeEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 13, slides
18The role of retail in supply chainEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 3, slides
19Trade marketing and relationships between producers and distributorsEnnis et al. (2021), Chapter 4, slides
20Sales roles and key competences to create and capture value in marketsSisti et al. (2020), Chapter 2, slides
21Planning and managing commercial relationships through key account managementSisti et al. (2020), Chapter 3, slides
22Specialization of the sales force and make or buy choicesSisti et al. (2020), Chapter 4, slides
23Specialization of the sales force and make or buy choicesSisti et al. (2020), Chapter 4, slides
24Designing and sizing the sales forceSisti et al. (2020), Chapter 5, slides
25Selecting and training of the sales forceSisti et al. (2020), Chapter 6, slides
26Leadership: leading the sales team to excellenceSisti et al. (2020), Chapter 7, slides
27Coaching for sales peopleSisti et al. (2020), Chapter 7, slides
28Incentive and remuneration of the sales forceSisti et al. (2020), Chapter 8, slides
29Incentive and remuneration of the sales forceSisti et al. (2020), Chapter 8, slides
30Monitoring and evaluation of sales performanceSisti et al. (2020), Chapter 9, slides
31Project work presentationSlides

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

In the ordinary exam sessions, the exam takes place through a written test, consisting of a short paper on one of the topics of the program, and a subsequent oral interview, which is accessed by students who have sufficiently completed the first test. The final evaluation expressed in thirtieths will be carried out on the basis of the following criteria: knowledge of the topics of the program, appropriateness of the technical language, relevance of the answers with respect to the questions formulated, ability to connect between the topic discussed and other issues related to the program, logical ability to argue the assigned theme, ability to contextualize the theme with practical examples.

For students who have assiduously and actively attended the course, the final assessment of learning will be carried out by evaluating the group project work that students are called to carry out during the course, the active participation in the classwork proposed by the teacher,   and the result of a final individual written test, based on the program and consisting of multiple choice and / or open questions. To pass the exam it is necessary to obtain a sufficient evaluation both in the project work and in the written test.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises


§  Trade marketing and relational dynamics between producer and distributor

§  Retail pricing strategies

§  Visual merchandising

§  Store layout

§  In-store communication and shopping experience

§  Sales performance

§  Private label strategy

RThe role of retail in supply chain

§  Selection and incentive of sales people

§  Sustainability in retail