By Jim Lewis, CEO Enhanced Retail Solutions LLC
Why A Career In Retailing?
At a recent trip to the University of Florida, my alma mater, a student asked me why I picked a career in retailing. The truth is that retail grew on me. As a student I was always curious how a product made it to market. I would see a shirt in a store and wonder how it got there. Yet even thirty-two years later, with the understanding of how a shirt ends up in a store (or online), other facets of retail intrigue me. That’s the beauty of retailing. Retail isn’t just working in a store- there are more types of jobs in retail than any other industry. There’s finance, human resources, manufacturing, engineering, information technology, data science, design, marketing, etc. While the last twenty years of my career has been focused on retail analytics, I am also very intrigued right now about product innovation and inventor’s stories.
Retail is ever changing, adapting to consumer’s wants, needs and shopping preferences. Sometimes consumer’s demand a product and other times they are told what they need. Henry Ford and Steve Jobs proved that. Gauging the consumer’s interest in a product is what drives predictive analytics both on the front end- consumers tastes and behaviors- and the back end- how many units and how many dollars they spent at a particular store. ERS primarily focuses on the latter.
America’s Big Deal
The last thirty years of retail adaptation culminates in a new TV Series on USA Network called “America’s Big Deal”. The idea is to provide inventors a new format to show and sell their products on a live TV show. They compete to win a big order at a large retail chain. Unlike Shark Tank where inventors are looking for funding, this show brings their newly invented product directly to the consumer.
It’s amazing if you think about it. Joy Mangano has mashed up key successful retail ingredients including a live, interactive platform to sell, exclusive product introductions, Reality TV, celebrity hosts and even found a way to include traditional brick and mortar chains. Maybe you think it’s gimmicky, but I’m fascinated. Retail has morphed again. Come on students, you really think sitting behind a desk doing a banking job is as exciting as this?
The Miller Center for Retail educates and prepares the most confident and smartest students in the country for a career in retail. Much of their success is due to innovative programs that focus on developing inter-personal skills. They can be applied to any career. No other career puts those skills to use like retail- especially now that “Celebrity Retail TV Host” is an actual job.