So much disruption has roiled the retail industry in recent years that upheaval is beginning to feel normal. The best ecommerce executives and manager, of course are not just on top of the trends, but actually out ahead of them. The trick, of course, is to figure out what’s coming next.
One way to get a feel for what’s coming, or at least what the best brains in the business think is coming, is to attend one of the major ecommerce trade shows. At this year’s Shop.org, there was plenty of talk about the old standards — personalization, omnichannel, data-driven decision making etc.
There was also plenty of talk and plenty of exhibitors highlighting the role of machine learning, artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality. Yes, all of those technologies have been present at past Shop.org’s, but not in the same measure as this year’s show.
“That’s all your hearing here,” Arthur McManus, a senior vice president at consultancy FitForCommerce, told me. “A few years ago it was omnichannel. After that, it was personalization. Now, it’s AI and machine learning.”
But one related topic has not risen about the noise about the latest technology: talent. In other words, what does the dramatic transformation of retail and ecommerce mean for hiring manager and entrepreneurs building an ecommerce business? It stands to reason that when an industry undergoes rapid change, the same, old workers with the same, old skills are not going to cut it.
Brian Beck of ecommerce consultancy Guidance took a few minutes out from networking and sharing his expertise to talk to me about what the world of ecommerce looks like from a hiring perspective. No question, he said, it is time for a change. And those ecommerce retailers who change first and fastest are going to have a competitive edge.
Not just a competitive edge in selling goods, but a competitive edge in hiring the best, right people.
I don’t mean to give anything away, but one thing that became abundantly clear from my talk with Beck is that ecommerce managers are not going to be the only ones looking for the sorts of people that he says ecommerce operations need.