Junior Professorship in Retail and Multi-Channel Management

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Erik Maier


Junior Professorship in Retail and Multi-Channel Management


Douglas, Postbank, Tom Tailor, Wiethe Group

Academic Group

Sustainability and Competitiveness

Junior Professor

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Erik Maier

Research Associate

Lennard Schmidt



Research Areas

Retail channel structure and development
Situational drivers of consumer behavior
Point of sale marketing (offline/online)


Marketing Management
Service and Retail Management


Today’s retail environment has changed considerably: the majority of retailers now renounces their former conviction that either on- or offline retail would eventually substitute the other. Online retailers open offline stores to address new target segments; traditional retailers react to e-commerce competition with own online stores. Thus, the proliferation and integration of retail channels – the so-called “omi-channeling” – is the new standard.

The purchase process, therefore, is not restricted to a single channel any more. While customers could formerly be attracted by opening high-street stores, and revenue be increased through a multiplication of these stores, customers now often have to be acquired as expensive online “traffic”. Consequently, the tools of digital marketing are vital for new and established retailers alike. Digital customer data and A/B-tests enable an increase in the marketing optimization frequency, which was unknown in the days of focus groups and quarterly reports. But surging online marketing costs and an increased strategic dependence on certain marketing channels constitute difficulties that companies have to handle.

The Junior Professorship in Retail and Multi-Channel Management explores the consequences of digitization for producers and retailers of consumer goods. We especially focus on teaching and further developing tools for the digital economy, particularly in online marketing.

These emphases of are visible in multiple areas: Our teaching discusses different digital business models (e.g., class “E-Business”); our research investigates retail topics with a higher complexity than could be handled in day-to-day business (e.g., assessment of consumer migration patterns in on-, offline and mobile shops). The Re-Invent Retail Think Tank aims at fostering public debates on current topics of retailing and marketing, for instance through industry studies or discussions on a blog (www.handels.blog – in German only).

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Erik Maier

Digital retailing needs digital marketing

Digitization extends the possibilities in retail: New retail and marketing channels, granular information about current and future customers and high frequency measurement of marketing performance are only a few examples. However, digital retailing is now more challenging than ever, as companies have to handle the higher complexity of the new possibilities.

My work at HHL targets at helping to simplify this complexity – for our students, but also for managers and other researchers. Digital marketing helps in this endeavor: its analytical tools help to disentangle the numerous sources of information and its solutions and frameworks enable a better communication with consumers. Digital retailing needs digital marketing.

My work as consultant with McKinsey & Company provided me with an understanding of traditional retail, which my doctoral research on point-of-sale optimization at ESCP Europe extended. During my subsequent work in e-commerce, online marketing became an increasingly important work and interest field.

In 2015, I joined HHL as Junior Professor in Retail and Multi-Channel Management, focusing on the topics of digital retailing and marketing. I head the HHL Re-Invent Retail Think Tank, which focuses on developing and transferring knowledge between research and business. For instance, our blog (Handels.blog) discusses digital topics. Besides my managerially-oriented work, I research on e-commerce and online marketing topics, publish in international journals and engage as a reviewer.

The digitization of retail is an opportunity. But no opportunity comes without risks and without the need to develop. My goal at HHL is to support this development process. 


Our teaching focuses on retail topics with a functional specialization in digital marketing. Future managers – irrespective of whether in retail or consumer goods companies – need a large toolset to comprehend and cater customer demands. Out classes aim at providing students with this set of tools.

Besides theoretical and practical elements we try to provide students with an understanding of the methods of analysis, which they need for their future as managers. We particularly focus on developing an understanding of the mechanisms of online marketing and on the analysis of large sets of customer data.

At the same time we teach and challenge frequently discussed frameworks of the digital world (e.g., “long tail”, platforms, personalized prices). Additionally, we try to structure and evaluate current events in retail and marketing, rather than just stating the news (“Amazon has done XYZ”). 

Course List

  • E-Business
  • E-Commerce
  • Marketing Management
  • Service and Retail Management


Our research focuses on answering managerially relevant questions at the interface between the digital and non-digital world. The topics range from strategic (e.g., choice and configuration of retail channel networks between online and offline retail) and marketing issues (e.g., image perception in online shops) to investigations of societal relevance (e.g., on the effect of e-commerce adoption on the energy consumption of a country). 

Re-Invent Retail Think Tank

The Re-Invent Retail Think Tank is a network of retail industry peers at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, established to address the challenges of a rapidly changing retail environment. The Think Tank aims at contributing to public debate and create value for its members through a number of activities:

  • Regular studies on recent developments and challenges in retail
  • Condensation and further development of new ideas and recent events in retail in a blog (www.handels.blog, in German only)
  • Regular newsletter summarizing the latest developments in a specific area of retail
  • Research expertise in retail, omni-channel management, e-commerce and digital marketing
  • Direct contact to HHL students for various purposes, such as employer branding or master theses


Jun.-Prof. Dr. Erik Maier
Junior Professor
T +49 341 9851-884
Lennard Schmidt
Research Associate
T +49 341 9851-868
F +49 341 9851-679
Strategic Management

Accreditation & Rankings

Among the leading EMBA
programs worldwide

Top 5 in Germany

Most International University
in Germany

#1 for Entrepreneurship
in Germany