Most In-Demand Roles in Luxury Brand Retail & E-Commerce
Hope is not a strategy. The difference between businesses that are poised to take off and those who could be left behind is proactive hiring with a strategy. Re-invention is on the horizon. Learn about the changes in talent and hiring that are poised to turn the direct to consumer channel on its head.
The leaders of tomorrow’s luxury retail and eCommerce markets will all have one thing in common: a proactive strategy to maximize sales. Their unifying call to action: “Hope is not a strategy.” As in, “We hope business will bounce back when the shoppers return.” While others are in a holding pattern waiting for sales to pick up, the luxury brands and eCommerce platforms that will come out ahead are making the strategic hires now that will innovate and evolve their business beyond “just another store.”
Retail: with sales floors cooling, competition upstairs heats up
As Covid has caused various lockdowns and store closures, the most visible turnover in retail occurred on the sales floor. We can all recall seeing shuttered storefronts and vacant businesses: a symptom of a massive shift in retail trends, accelerated by the pandemic.
Additionally, there was a real shift in talent needs within the online division as well. This caused many vacancies for digital merchandising and digital marketing managers, as well as lead generation, CRM, community managers, and social media experts.
No doubt, these positions will return (if they have not already) as many companies will reinvest in their e-commerce business. But as these roles slowly return, and other roles like production and in-person retail are streamlined, the real shakeup of luxury brands is happening upstairs.
The brands that are planning for tomorrow are making big, strategic hires for C-suite roles such as:
- chief executive officer (CEO)
- chief financial officer (CFO)
- chief operating officer (COO)
- chief information officer (CIO)
While the 2020 market was dynamic for luxury brands, it is very likely that open job advertisements will return with a shift in focus towards innovation and reinvention. Brands are angling for who is going to lead these new or expanded divisions in the highly competitive digital marketplace.
E-Commerce: in-demand retail jobs aren’t on the sales floor
The next wave in hiring for e-commerce leaders will be those who have shown innovation and creativity and who can demonstrate they achieved results in 2020. In these new hires, e-commerce is looking to find new ways to meet clients where they are, either through consignment selling, appointments, social commerce and more.
Many established brands saw an exponential increase in their E-Commerce business in 2020- but were lulled into complacency with the mistaken belief that “E-Comm is up over 200%, so we are doing it right”. What might not be realized is that a high increase on a previously low-to-mediocre sales level compared to a digital-native competitor still leaves you behind. Don’t be lulled into complacency just because your E-Commerce channel has become “your biggest store”.
Many retailers are playing catch-up in e-commerce and with the mobile technologies which capture sales and maintain market share. But retailers may not be moving fast enough. To take advantage of these new and evolving opportunities retailers need to hire teams of software developers and other tech experts – especially those with an interest in retail and an eye for user experience.
Candidates in high demand are those who can offer a combination of excellent project management and interpersonal skills, a high level of communication (especially multilingual) with strong IT and software skills for positions such as:
- E-commerce executives
- Format innovation executive
- Software developers
- Pricing analysts
- Shopper marketers
Wholesale: it’s not about who, but how
Wholesale markets reached a critical point in 2020, not just due to Covid, but for a variety of market factors as well. But thanks to some creative thinking, wholesale markets are ramping up and becoming particularly busy going into 2021.
Luxury brands are realizing they cannot give up on wholesale. They just need more innovative talent to navigate this challenging space. That means talent who can think creatively to maximize the channel’s profitability and build successful partnerships with national and independent wholesale accounts. Further, success in a changed wholesale landscape could come from not who wholesalers hire, but how they hire.
Going forward wholesale retail is looking to shore-up a shortage of wholesale specialized talent by changing the way they hire talent:
- Increasing wages and offering signing bonuses
- Relaxing a formerly rigid vetting and interviewing process to fill a position first and train on the job rather than demanding a certain skillset upfront or fulfill sometimes arbitrary factors like years of experience or parallel brand expertise
- Offering internal and external learning and development programs to proactively mitigate the skills shortage
- Potentially retain the of value of tenured but retiring employees by re-engaging them with knowledge transfer programs or short-term project opportunities. Consider the lost knowledge of a seasoned sales exec who chooses not to be a “road warrior” anymore- can accommodation be made in this time of virtual meetings?
The Bowerman Group
We like to help. When we notice a labor shortage similar to those affecting luxury retail brands and e-commerce industries, we begin vetting candidates before demand for talent reaches a critical point. If you need help staffing for strategy in 2021’s rapidly accelerating market, call on our recruiting experts today.