Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level





Terry L. Esper

Committee Member

Brent D. Williams

Second Committee Member

Ronn J. Smith


Social sciences, Fulfillment operations, Omni-channel, Retailing


The traditional retail environment, which is characterized by a clear division between brick-and-mortar and non-brick-and-mortar retail channels, has been recently disrupted by developments in e-commerce and mobile technologies. The result has been the emergence of omni-channel retailing. Within the reality of this new retail environment, it has been proposed that retailers should develop the necessary capabilities to fulfill consumer demand from anywhere – the store, the distribution center, or via drop-shipping from a supplier – which leads to the emergence of new operational complexities and challenges in the retail supply chain. In light of the growing popularity of these new fulfillment capabilities, it is important to not only consider the financial returns they provide to retailers, but also the potential impacts on the upstream supply chain. Moreover, omni-channel operations will allow retailers to offer new fulfillment services to consumers, such as cross-channel returns or in-store pick-ups, ultimately resulting in new supply chain service outputs in the consumer market. Thus, the aim of this dissertation is to investigate and obtain a holistic understanding of the importance and impacts of omni-channel fulfillment operations for successful retail supply chain management. This will be done by considering three different echelons in the supply chain, (retailer, supplier, and consumer), and investigating how emerging strategies in omni-channel fulfillment impact all three.

Using the theoretical underpinning of ambidexterity, Essay 1 investigates how retailers manage their investments and developments pertaining to existing and new fulfillment operations, and how that may lead to improvements in a retailer’s operational and financial performance. To address this research question a structured content analysis in combination with secondary financial data was conducted. To explore how retail omni-channel fulfillment operations impact upstream supply chain members a qualitative research approach was executed in Essay 2 using the case study methodology. Essay 3 employs a series of experimental studies to explore how retail omni-channel fulfillment operations can be used to recover from a stockout. Using equity theory, this essay investigates how, in the case of a stockout, different attributes of omni-channel service operations may impact consumer satisfaction and their evaluation of a retailer’s physical distribution service quality (PDSQ).