If you’re involved in the retail industry it’s hard to escape the news about retail cut-backs, layoffs, and the shrinking brick-and-mortar scene. This article discusses the changing job environment for category managers and retail buyers who now find their skill-set underutilized (i.e. unemployed) and where their skills will likely be utilized in this new retail landscape.

Elephant in the Room: eCommerce

We all know that a shift towards online, mobile spending, and consumer behavior has driven the change across the retail industry causing the downsizing of many large retail outlets. This is a topic that has been (and still is) thoroughly discussed, so we won’t spend much time getting into the details.
Whether you want to blame Amazon or not is irrelevant at this point. The consumer is king, and we’re all playing in the same arena.

A Need for Retail Expertise

Despite the onslaught of layoffs for retail buyers, there is still a great need for many who demonstrate expertise in navigating both online and offline retail. Retail is still an area of mystery for many consumer product startups and international manufacturers who would like to tap into the US consumer market.

Due to the advancement of crowdfunding, accelerators, manufacturing, and investment opportunities – there has never been more product startups then there are today. Most of these new product brands or startup teams consist heavily of tech-savvy, manufacturing-oriented individuals who don’t have the time or experience to successfully establish their brand into retail or distribution channels.
This is why retailers like Best Buy, Target, and others have established their own startup incubation programs. Major retailers are looking for ways to better find prepared product companies with innovative products; however, finding product companies who can handle retail operations and strategies is far from easy.
There are many cool, crowdfunded products that never see the light of day – partially due to funding and lack of foresight to manufacture at scale – and partially because these young product companies cannot cost-effectively prepare, establish, and scale out a channel presence. They don’t know how to think like a retail buyer would.

An Option for Retail Experts

Quite a few unemployed retail buyers and experts try to either join another retailer, or they attempt to start their own consulting firm for product-based companies.
As any business owner will tell you, starting a company requires a lot of time, work, money, and stress. Unless you’ve got a few key clients in your back pocket already, establishing credibility as a retail consultant is tough. You’ll quickly find out how many laid off retail experts are trying to do the same.
This is why we created our Retail Consulting Program allowing credible, motivated retail experts to quickly establish their own retail consulting business using our proven processes and brand name. With startup organizational partnerships around the world and a strong track record, our consultants find it much easier connecting to product companies and enjoying freedom of working independently.
If you’d like to discuss our Retail Consulting Program feel free to email Director of Business Development – Benjamin Ertl – bertl@retailbound.com