Essential C-suite roles in new retail landscape: Who to recruit now

Essential. It’s a word that we heard repeatedly during the Covid-19 quarantine. While everyone was urged to stay home, essential workers were deemed necessary to keep the world running. It’s basically the people we can’t live without.

Similarly, as business leaders we need to think of job positions in the same way. Pinpointing essential jobs, outside of the big players like CEOs and CFOs, is necessary to keep businesses competitive in the turbulent world of retail. It may mean revamping the skill sets of previous roles or creating entirely new ones. Here, I break down the essential jobs that are mission critical in the new retail landscape.

Chief Technology Officer

While the title of chief technology officer isn’t new, the definition has significantly changed. In the past, a CTO would oversee things like internet connectivity in the store and tracking data from point-of-sales (POS) systems. With technology changing at lightning-speed, today’s CTO should be at the core of a company’s decision-making team. Retailers need a proactive person with knowledge of technology trends and a deep understanding of which ones to apply. A technology executive can modernize a retailer’s technological infrastructure and develop innovative strategies to stay relevant in the current retail climate. That means improving and investing in tools, such as smart fixtures that can identify who your customers are; beacons to see where your customers are in the store; RFID tags to track inventory; and even robotics. If you need further prompting, recent statistics show that more money is being invested in artificial intelligence (AI) for retail than any other industry. Another important key factor in a CTO’s role is security. With recent headlines of staggering data breaches, protecting your business and customers from hackers is essential to overall success.

Chief Omnichannel Officer

While some may argue that this role could be part of a CTO’s duties, there’s a strong case for creating an executive position to mastermind the ever important omnichannel presence. Some major retailers began hiring chief omnichannel officers several years ago when expanding from brick-and-mortars to e-commerce. With customers’ shopping habits constantly evolving, a chief omnichannel officer can oversee the seamless integration of physical stores, online, social media and mobile retail operations. Coordinating online and offline activities ensures there’s a consistent shopping experience across all channels. A person (or persons) in this role strategizes on how products and services are delivered to a customer, from curbside pickup to ordering online but picking up at the store.

Customer Experience Officer

Figuring out what customers want and need is a job in itself, and employing a customer experience officer (CXO) that focuses solely on customers and their shopping journeys helps retailers stay connected. This customer-centric position ensures the retailer is offering a positive experience for customers, no matter how they shop. A CXO evaluates when customers shop, why they shop and how to keep them coming back from promotions to in-store events. Additionally, this role is crucial in guaranteeing that a retailer is “on brand.” For instance, if a retailer touts low pricing, the CXO will monitor current prices to make sure they match expectation. They can also lead in directing the way products are merchandised, curating the decor and music in the store, to even creating a scent that signifies your brand. These days, customers expect experiential shopping, which means everything from interactive displays to apps that feature promotions.

Chief Merchandising Officer

This is another traditional retail position that has evolved. While the role still entails predicting and buying products and/or services for a retailer, the job has also changed to keep pace with the demands of digital retail. It’s not just about industry trends anymore. A CMO must be hyper-focused on what customers want. That means looking at analytics from all shopping platforms, focusing on e-commerce and making fast decisions in real-time. For instance, to master the supply chain, that may mean putting items online first to see how they perform, then dropping them or shipping to stores based on popularity. This gives retailers an extra edge.

Chief Marketing Officer

While marketing mavens used to focus on attracting traditional media coverage on TV and magazines, or driving ads for radio or billboards, this essential job has also progressed to match the digital world. Having the right person to build your brand and get your retail business in front of the right customers is everything. Your chief marketing officer will need to utilize email and social media campaigns, banners, and use reports and analysis to help grow the company. This essential job now means finding the perfect balance of both traditional and digital methods.

While the industry is sure to swing again, having an A-team comprised of all, or at least some, of these essential executives can help level the ever-shifting retail landscape.

To learn more about Brett Beveridge, his company, T-ROC Global, his awards, speaking opportunities and upcoming ForbesBooks launch, visit

The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC Global) is home to four sales solutions companies that enable clients to fulfill all of their sales performance needs. The companies are: The Retail Outsource (TRO), Mobile Insight (MI), The Consumer Insight (TCI), and SYMBITS.

Brett Beveridge is the founder and chief executive officer for The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC Global). Beveridge is a serial entrepreneur who builds businesses from the ground up. Since founding T-ROC Global, the company has evolved to become a leader in the wireless, electronics, software and retail industries.

Source: South Florida Business Journal