Omni-Channel Retail Talent - 3 Key Skills They Need
Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Categories: Thought Leadership

Omni-channel Retail Talent – 3 Key Skills They Need

With the onslaught of various retail channels – traditional e-commerce, mobile, social, etc. – retailers have hurried to hire a number of individuals to oversee and manage the multiple components of these varied channels. These divisions often operate independently from the brick-and-mortar operations, creating a number of siloes in the retail organization. The problem with this is, as seen time and time again, customers expect all parts of retail to operate seamlessly. They want their experience to be the same, no matter the channel they choose to use. Having omni-channel retail talent is becoming more and more of a priority.

To combat this prThere is no clear definition of the perfect omni-channel hire. oblem, many retailers have simply assigned the responsibility of omni-channel retail to one executive or the other. In some cases, it may be someone in the e-commerce division. In others, it might be someone in the supply chain organization. Either way, these executives are often over-taxed and focused on the priorities of their organization. They do not focus on the overall omni-channel strategy of the retailer. Simply put, that’s unacceptable if retailers want to survive in today’s retail environment. Retailers need to focus on creating an operational structure and employment roles to support their omni-channel retail strategy.

But that begs the question, what should retailers look for when hiring omni-channel retail talent? Unfortunately, as the definition of omni-channel continues to evolve with new technologies coming into play, there is no clear definition of the perfect omni-channel hire. However, there are three key skills retailers should look when hiring the best talent for their growing omni-channel business.

Varied Background

When looking for an executive or individual to staff your organization’s omni-channel division, it probably doesn’t make sense to hire someone who has exclusively spent the last 20 years in the store. And on the other hand, it doesn’t make sense to hire someone who has only e-commerce experience. The best associate or executive to staff this organization likely has experience in several key areas of the omni-channel business. Omni-channel retail talent needs to understand the processes and priorities of multiple pieces of the business in order to make the best decisions.


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Macro View

Omni-Channel hires have to be able to take a macro viewWhile a number of individuals might have worked in various parts of the business, not everyone grasps the big picture. It’s necessary for omni-channel hires to not only understand multiple aspects of retail, but also be able to take a macro view. They have to be able to see how the aspects all interconnect and affect one another. This person also needs to understand how all of these components play into the greater business strategy.


Unfortunately, if omni-channel hires are unable to communicate well, neither of these first two skills matter. Retail siloes are perpetuated. It is the responsibility of the omni-channel organization to ensure that the concerns and priorities of each channel are heard and taken into consideration when making decisions. At the same time, they need to communicate the omni-channel strategy to each organization and explain how each piece of the puzzle fits together for the greater good of retailer.

Now, if you’re thinking that the candidate that fits all of these requirements sounds like a unicorn, you’re probably right. While you may not be able to find a dozen candidates that fit every single requirement needed to fully staff your omni-channel business, it’s important that the leadership selected for this organization fits this mold. They will be able to model that to the rest of the department and to the greater retail organization. One thing is for sure – if you haven’t hired omni-channel retail talent, start today.


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