University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Shopper-focused Art is Key to Successful E-Commerce

Shopper Focused Art

December 10, 2018 | By Mathew Waller

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About ten years ago, to be successful in e-commerce, at a minimum you needed the following, in addition to a product or service:

  • An e-commerce website
  • A payment application
  • A way to drive business to your e-commerce site such as search engine optimization
  • Photos
  • Text

Now You Need:


  • A well-thought-out e-commerce website that draws you in and accounts for the customer journey
  • A seamless payment process
  • Search engine optimization and social media for inbound marketing
  • Artistically tasteful photos that draw on emotions
  • Imaginatively well-written text that is consistent with your brand

The new School of Art at the University of Arkansas has been created through a $120 million grant by the Walton Family Foundation. E-commerce businesses are being started by many of our alumni, and they need the talent that will be produced by the School of Art. The School of Art will contribute to the success of our community which is not just growing in the degree to which it is digital, but also to the degree to which “digital” in integrated seamlessly into innovative business processes. The artistic dimension is in some cases just as critical to competitive advantage as the product or service; in other cases, it is more critical and can be viewed as a necessary condition for competitive advantage.

Student on Laptop

"The mission of the Walton College is to “advance and disseminate business knowledge using a global, diverse, and inclusive perspective and to encourage innovation in our primary strategic endeavors: entrepreneurship, analytics, and retail.”

Having business students who understand and appreciate art will help us encourage innovation in entrepreneurship and retail. When we say, “retail,” we mean it in a broad sense when including e-commerce, supply chain, and consumer products.

In the Walton College, we have minors for non-business students, including art majors. So, art majors can minor in business, including the following concentrations: general business, accounting, economics, enterprise resource planning, enterprise systems, finance, information systems, international business, management, marketing, retail, and supply chain management. We have gone to great lengths to allow non-business students to learn business since understanding business is essential in any field.

Post Author:

Matt WallerMatthew A. Waller is the dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Sam M. Walton Leadership Chair, and professor of supply chain management. His opinion pieces have appeared in Wall Street Journal Asia and Financial Times.

Waller is an SEC Academic Leadership Fellow, and coauthor of “The Definitive Guide to Inventory Management: Principles and Strategies for the Efficient Flow of Inventory across the Supply Chain” published by Pearson Education.

He received a B.S.B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Missouri, and a M.S. and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. He is the former co-editor-in-chief of Journal of Business Logistics.