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The Future of Omnichannel Retail: 3 Roles Brands Will Rely On

Omnichannel strategies are becoming increasingly integral to retail marketing and established job titles are shifting accordingly. These roles might be performed at brick-and-mortar stores, within corporate offices, or remotely—regardless of where your omnichannel experts are based, their changing job descriptions reflect dramatic shifts to retail technology and shopper habits. With omnichannel marketing quickly becoming a necessity for any successful retailer, here are three roles that will likely proliferate in the coming years.

Chief Omnichannel Officer

Many businesses already have a Chief Digital Officer—big retailers such as Target, Vitamin Shoppe, and Boot Barn all hired CDOs in 2016. The CDO has to understand the responsibilities of many departments—merchandising, supply chain, IT—and push for change. But the CDO's work increasingly involves omnichannel practices. A Chief Digital Officer focuses on the customer journey: the steps that the individual shopper takes on their way towards making a purchase, and how technology can assist that process.

The role of Chief Digital Officer has typically been understood as an executive who expands an organization from a brick-and-mortar business to an electronic business. In practice, however, CDOs often implement digital strategies that work to bridge the gap between the online and offline realms, providing a more seamless overall experience. As omnichannel strategies become more and more important, the CDO title should become "Chief Omnichannel Officer" in order to better reflect the complete set of roles and responsibilities.

Brand Ambassador

How does the focus on omnichannel strategies change the roles of in-store employees? For starters, sales associates are much more likely to become brand ambassadors. While a sales associate promotes products in-store, a brand ambassador helps inspire customers to integrate the brand into their personal identities. A brand ambassador can be an employee or a customer, but ideally your employees will be invested enough in your company to promote your products and corporate mandate through their own digital channels.

Omnichannel strategies place an emphasis on the consumer experience and brand ambassadors demonstrate the quality of life that consumers can get from their product. As this type of marketing becomes more common, store associates and team leaders may find their roles changed to reflect these online expectations.

Director of Omnichannel

This impressive position would be useful for establishing a focus on omnichannel from the very top. Director of Omnichannel would be a senior role that reports to the CEO—rather than, say, to the VP of Store Operations. This would ensure that integrating online and offline channels remains a daily priority shaping the entire firm's agenda. Having a Director of Omnichannel is also a good way to reflect a company's dedication to cross-channel marketing.

A Director of Omnichannel institutionalizes the notion that the digital and physical realms are integrated, not segregated. They can help executives determine how to allocate resources among the firm's various departments and ensure consistency across online and offline efforts.

The Value of Omnichannel

Omnichannel marketing has already become central to the retail industry. As the landscape continuously shifts, retailers need to make sure that their job titles reflect the innovation and technology that exists at the core of their companies.

Want to ensure your company is making the most of its omnichannel strategies? Learn more about how to optimize your marketing efforts across all channels.

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Photo: Shutterstock / everything possible

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