As the Digital Age ushers in new retail roles, ensure your hiring strategy is optimized for 21st century–style selling
Illustration by Mario Wagner
When LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault’s talented son Frédéric Arnault joined his father’s global luxury conglomerate in late 2018, he didn’t onboard as a chief marketing officer or head of business development. Instead, the 23-year-old stepped into the role of strategy and digital director for LVMH-owned Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer.
The technology-forward position—and the fact that one of Bernard Arnault’s offspring aspired to inhabit it—embodies the changes currently happening in retail ranks. As e-commerce, social media, and digital marketing and advertising become crucial to retailing, jobs are being reshuffled and new roles are being created.
For retail juggernauts such as LVMH, the shifts have led to the creation of jobs with titles such as marketing partnerships manager, social media director, and chief content officer (with dozens of nonmanagerial positions below).
At small and midsize jewelry companies, positions that didn’t even exist 10 years ago are now regularly promoted in job posts. Why? Everyone knows that e-commerce and social media, when used wisely, can modernize a retail business.
Edward Lemire, founder and president of ESP Global, an executive recruiting firm for the global jewelry industry, has recently seen the time-honored job of marketing director broken up and/or reallocated under the umbrellas of new tech-ified positions. “Every jewelry company you can think of wants to hire a good social media executive,” he says.
But social media is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to positions your brand or company may want to fill. Here are some of the next-generation staff roles you should consider adding to your employee roster in the near future.
Social Media Director/Strategist
Lemire notes that a few small jewelry companies in his circle are working to emulate the path Rhode Island–based brand Alex and Ani took—e.g., hiring a band of young, tech-savvy content creators to blitz social media platforms.
It’s debatable whether that road to glory is still open; Instagram’s changing algorithms have made it a pay-to-play arena for marketers. But the power of social media is undeniable and can be particularly effective for small retailers looking to reach a tightly defined geographic area.
Many smaller jewelry companies outsource their social media, but others have brought it in-house—as upstart lab-grown diamond brands Diamond Foundry and Couple have done—perhaps for reasons to do with cost, or to ensure that their social content is imbued with that coveted behind-the-scenes authenticity.
Equally—or, arguably, more—important to recruiting a talented social media staffer is identifying a professional to oversee your company’s e-commerce business and the platforms that deliver it to your consumers.
Day’s Jewelers, the nine-store fine jewelry chain based in Waterville, Maine, employs both a full-time e-commerce web manager (to take care of the website) and an e-commerce service manager (to take care of consumers shopping the site). The retailer’s e-commerce growth in recent years is a testament to how smart the creation and staffing of those roles can be. Suzanne Courvisier-Mathis, founder of Diamond Staffing Solutions, says Day’s president Jeff Corey “has mastered the digital side of things and grasped how important social media was early on.”
Director of Content
The internet has turned all lifestyle brands into publishers, pushing out a steady stream of content designed to entice today’s visually driven consumers. And while many jewelry firms leave the online storytelling to their marketing teams or social media pros, others are investing in professional writers to collaborate on social initiatives, ads, blogs, and other wordy endeavors.
Digital Production Coordinator
A digital production coordinator—typically an entry-level position—works in tandem with e-commerce professionals to perform duties that can vary widely but may include product photography, posting products to the e-comm site, and scheduling social posts within a content calendar. Reeds Jewelers in Wilmington, N.C., at press time was advertising for a digital production coordinator to oversee and provide support for the development of innovative functionality on the company’s website. This position tends to be flexible and often offers young employees room to explore jobs they may want to grow into.
Major jewelry brands, including Stuller, have adopted this nitty-gritty digital role in recent years. And despite its fancy name, it boils down to a simple thing: making sure every aspect of a shopper’s journey on a website is as smooth and friction-free as possible. That means optimizing every button, product page, and blurb of copy.
This position differs from a graphic designer or website developer in that the user experience (UX) designer advocates for the end user of an e-commerce site while simultaneously promoting the company’s business goals.
Marketing Partnerships Manager
New York City–based diamond jewelry brand Ritani recently added a marketing partnerships manager role to its operations. It’s a tech-forward position that focuses on audience development partnerships with media outlets and other entities along with collaborations with other brands.
If reaching out to businesses and social media influencers is central to your company’s business strategy, this (or a similar) position may be worth considering.
Digital Customer Support Specialist
In retail, your consumers are already contacting you through multiple channels—asking questions and scheduling appointments over the phone, through your website form, on email, and over Facebook, Instagram, and maybe even Twitter. That means you might need a staffer dedicated to communicating on digital.
“Over the last 10 years, the online business has become the core component for us,” says Claire Goldwitz, vice president of marketing and business development for Ritani. “And our customers contact us in all different ways.” In response, the brand’s customer service team has changed. “The customer support team itself is extremely flexible. They’re comfortable talking to people across a number of platforms; we’ve even had customers direct message us on Instagram. Whatever channel makes sense for the customer, we will be there to talk to them.”