The students in our Digital Marketing class have spent the entire semester working on a market research project for Canadian-based retailer, ROOTS. The research was integrated into the curriculum for this unique class that focused on ecommerce and the interactions between a consumer and a retail webstore. The class was a collaboratively taught between Mike Winegeart, Assistant Professor – Marketing and Mike Willoughby, Senior Partner and President of PFSweb, Inc. ROOTS is a client of PFSweb.

In late April, our students had the fantastic opportunity to present their findings to the actual client. James Connell, VP of Marketing for ROOTS, Inc. flew down to Texas to hear what this group of college students discovered in their market research.

ROOTS Account team from PFSweb, including VP from ROOTS

We caught up with junior Marketing major, Kenli Viertel, who was part of the team that presented to the account team from PFSweb as well as Mr. Connell. We asked her just a few brief questions:

1) What was the presentation about exactly?

As a class, we split into groups and each researched different aspects of Roots Canada’s digital marketing efforts.  Some of the groups’ topics were Social Media and Product Merchandising.  We researched the efforts Roots is making and compared them to other similar companies and put together a presentation full of ways they can better reach their online customer.

2) How long have you been working on this presentation?
For the presentation, we used everything we’d learned all semester, but I’d say we were actually working on the project for a month before the actual presentation.

3) How many students presented?
I think there were around 18 students in the class.  Most everyone presented if they were comfortable.

4) What’s one or two things you learned about ROOTS that you didn’t know before?
Roots uses every scrap of leather and waste nothing!  They use scraps for leather bracelets or keychains instead of throwing it away.  They focus a lot of time and effort on being “green”.

5) What’s one or two things you learned about e-commerce that you didn’t know before?
I don’t think I ever realized that there is someone tracking every click of my mouse on their website, learning from what I do.  It’s incredible to me the things we can learn from observing the consumer.  What I love about e-commerce is that it’s turning from a business-to-consumer game into a consumer-to-consumer game, run by the shopper.

6) How has this class set you apart to potential employers?
By taking this class from PFSweb professionals, I believe I’ve gotten an inside view of the career that so many potential employers will expect me to perform.  This class gave me hands-on experience and really gave me a good grasp on what happens behind the website.  Also, doing work for a company like Roots is something that I’ll soon be proud to tell an interviewer.

Students in the Digital Marketing class that presented to ROOTS
PFSweb account team with ACU students
Dr. Lytle, PFSweb President Mike Willoughby, ROOTS VP James Connell and Assistant Professor of Marketing, Mike Winegeart (L-R)

PFSweb Senior Partner and President, Mike Willoughby, is an ACU COBA grad. You can read more about him, here. And if you don’t follow his blog,, you definitely should add it to your bookmarks. And if you are wanting to learn more about ecommerce, digital marketing, or how to increase the bottom line for your on line retail store – absolutely follow this blog (Willoughby is a frequent contributor):