As many parts of the country begin the process of reopening to customers with new safeguards in place, we are watching a rapid transformation of the retail space that requires a specific set of skills from top executives. In the coming year, expect that retail will focus on these digital and e-commerce based skill sets:
Where the strategic management of customer relationships has long been important in retail businesses, it has become an essential means of survival in a stressed economy. In a market where you’re only as good as your customer relationships, CRM executives who know how to leverage the many channels of a successfully planned campaign with multiple touchpoints (email, social, push notifications) are highly in demand.
“Growth Hacking” was born in the “move fast and break things” ethos of startup culture, but in the post-pandemic world, expect to see companies eager to experiment with this dynamic, growth-focused approach to marketing. Increasing usage in quantifiable ways is the heart and soul of “growth hacking” and those who practice it are willing to roll up their sleeves and employ innovative low-cost strategies including social media and viral marketing to get products in front of consumers.
Versatile Omnichannel Players
A post-pandemic landscape will need in-store specialists as well, but those with the most flexible set of skills and a high degree of digital literacy. As we can expect store operations to change drastically, the right omnichannel players will know how to wear two hats and optimize digital and in-store performance metrics.
Many consumers will also opt to “order online and pick up in store” providing savvy retailers the chance to enhance their relationships and move more product — if they are able to correctly leverage the dynamic. Executives who can seamlessly adapt to this “omnichannel” approach — and who can optimize in-store performance with the input of digital channels — will find a welcome home among many of the country’s largest retail operations.
Social Commerce Experts
Each of the major social media players — including Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest — have varying approaches to the “social shopping” experience, and the post-pandemic retail landscape demands e-commerce professionals who are adept at not only moving product online, but also in creating the kinds of immersive, truly “social” experiences that will enhance word-of-mouth and discovery online.
Retail “Experience Architects”
In the pre-pandemic landscape, many brands such as Apple, Camp, Casper and Sephora were attempting to lure consumers off of their screens and into a fairly traditional sales vehicle — the retail location — as a foundational part of their marketing strategy albeit through a retooled and reimagined interface that encourages exploration and selfie-worthy “experiences.”
With most retail closed nation-wide, the search is on for folks who have the skills to create memorable, meaningful, and most importantly, shareable retail experiences online.
Chief Revenue Officers
In past years, we’ve seen major companies like Uber, Lyft and Hyatt hotels consider the addition of a new position to the C-suite, that of the “Chief Revenue Officer.” In hospitality, that means finding as much “revPAR” as possible (revenue per available room) but across marketing generally it means making hires who can bridge the divide between the data-driven hardcore revenue analysis and the sometimes more creative world of marketing operations.
What a lot of companies are realizing is that management in person is a lot different than distributed management of folks working from home or a remote location. Post-pandemic, we expect a lot more focus on hiring candidates who have a track record of extracting success from a distributed team.