It’s not all customer service and slick merchandising. To secure a next-gen role in retail, you’ll need tech skills – and lots of them.
Shopping for a secure, tech-focused career? With new technologies shaking up the way we make purchases, retail is now one of the fastest growing areas in tech. Here’s where it’s growing, what employers are looking out for – and why – sweet staff discounts aside, tech jobs in retail are an exciting place to be.
Careers for sale
Sure, traditional retail roles are still relevant, but as major brands start to reduce store numbers and invest in digital integration, there’s an escalating demand for tech talent to lead their teams. Next time you’re doing a job search, make sure you include the following next-gen retail roles.
Software developers are up there with one of the fastest growing jobs in retail, with demand increasing by 9% since last year. Their front-line responsibilities include creating and maintaining ecommerce sites, developing digital warehouse management systems and enhancing the consumer experience.
Skills/experience: Fluency in programming languages like Java, ReactJS and Oracle Retail. Computer science degree or diploma is a plus.
User experience (UX) designers
While future-focused retailers rely on customer-facing applications and websites, UX designers are busy behind the scenes making sure platforms are user friendly, intuitive and engaging. Popular shoppable apps today – think The Iconic, ASOS and eBay – act as mini digital stores, with a UX Designer (AKA next-gen floor manager) ensuring they’re seamless.
Skills/experience: Prototyping, wire-framing and an eye for what looks good.
As one of the most-searched crypto jobs in Google, Blockchain gigs aren’t just reserved for managing bitcoin. In fact blockchain developers are responsible for creating systems for recording all types of secure digital and data transactions, including those made via digital wallets in eCommerce stores.
Skills/experience: Must have experience working with large code bases and a strong knowledge of common algorithms and data structures.
Retailers have always been awesome at capturing data, but in order to put it to use they’ve started to rely on tech teams with deep analytics skills. In fact, according to predictions by International Data Corporation, this year more than 900,000 jobs will require data management and interpretation skills – many in customer analytics – directing shopping data to identify predictive behaviours, pain points and paths to purchase.
Skills/experience: Super-strong maths, analytics and data-mining skills. A love of shopping wouldn’t hurt either!
So, what cool tech are next-gen retailers playing with instore? We’re geeking out over the following.
Wanna be able to make multiple purchases without having to recite your account deets again and again? Digital wallets are software-based systems that store a customer’s payment credentials and passwords. In Australia the growth for retailers is huge. According to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the number of monthly digital wallet transactions increased by 90% in the last year alone.
We use our phones for everything, so why not pay for stuff with them too? New mobile tech allows shoppers to enter their credit card deets into an app and turn their phones into virtual debit cards.
Buy now and pay later! The concept of AfterPay is simple – but the tech is complex. Afterpay uses its own data to approve customers on a sale-by-sale basis in order to decide whether or not to approve instalment payment terms to them.
RELATED: Obsessed with online shopping? Turn it into a career
Buy one get one free
STEM skills are transferable – which means you can apply them to loads of different industries and jobs – and that includes gigs in eTail! Getting clued up in ecommerce could allow you to dabble in cybersecurity and cryptocurrency roles eventually too.
Career case study: Leah Grant-Moore, Service Desk Analyst
Ex-store manager Leah Grant-Moore is kicking goals in retail 2.0 and is excited about the future of shopping. Her advice to students considering merging their love of tech and shopping? “Don’t panic if you don’t know exactly which path you want to go down yet. Just take every opportunity you can – including working in a physical shop!”
Read more about her cool study and career path here.
Start your career here
Tech + Retail Study
- Graduate Certificate in UX and Web Design, Torrens University Australia
- Bachelor of Information technology, The University of Newcastle
- Bachelor of Creative Technologies, Auckland University of Technology
Tech + Retail Jobs
- Software developer: AU$51K–AU$101K / NZ$50K–NZ$92K
- UX designer: AU$52K–AU$108K / NZ$47K–NZ$101K
- Digital strategist: AU$50K–AU$147K / NZ$50K–NZ$160K
Salaries according to payscale.com
This story originally appears in Careers with STEM: Technology 2021.
Author: Cassie Steel
As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.