It’s easy to bemoan the end of brick-and-mortar retail when faced with continued waves of job cuts at companies like Sears and the decline of household names such as Radio Shack and The Limited. Watching the powerful forces on the internet slowly taking over our physical spaces with impersonal efficiency, it’s only natural to feel that traditional retail is heading into history.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Total retail sales have grown an average of 4.57% year over year since 2010, and show no signs of flagging. With that growth comes new competition and new investment. Besides spawning successful new players like Bonobos and Glossier, this environment is prompting larger retailers like Sephora to invest more heavily in technologies that bridge physical and digital shopping, while Target is partnering with Techstars to discover and accelerate its innovation in technology-driven startups. (Full disclosure: Bonobos and Sephora are Narvar customers).
Customers who spend more naturally demand more. They’ve demanded — and received — more service, taking full advantage of customized product recommendations, free and fast shipping and seamless returns. Today, all of this still requires a human touch, either as a face on the front lines or as a strategist in the tech lab. Although the volume of traditional retail jobs is in decline, new opportunities are opening up for visionary retail minds.
Here are five new jobs that are the future of retail:
1. The curator (personal shopper 2.0)
While personal shoppers have long been a role practical only for the high-dollar transactions of the elite, today’s technology allows retailers to leverage their skills for every customer. Curators have their customers’ pulse, understand their needs and deliver the right products online and offline for them to buy.
Stitch Fix, a personal styling and subscription apparel service, knows curators are critical to the long-term satisfaction of its customers. It empowers its curators with data and technology in order to more quickly learn preferences and grow subscribers’ wardrobes. An advanced algorithm may be able to keep track of trends and tastes, but as of today, only a human can connect with a…