Confronting changing shopper habits and increased competition from online sellers, retailers are creating new jobs at their stores and redefining employee duties. Here's a look at some new positions and shifting roles at major retailers.
PERSONAL SHOPPERS: These workers fill online grocery orders from store shelves, in some cases finding one product every 30 seconds, and take the items to shoppers' cars at the curb.
CHECK-OUT HOSTS: Not just greeters, they're responsible for overseeing the self-checkout and scan-and-go areas and helping customers navigate them. They also keep the checkout area tidy, judge if more registers need to be opened, and help customers with questions as they come and go.
VISUAL MERCHANDISERS: They create the kinds of fashion or home design vignettes that shoppers may be more used to seeing in specialty stores than discount chains. Target says this inspires shoppers to buy more.
DEDICATED SALES ASSOCIATES: These employees work only in a particular area, such as clothing, electronics, beauty and grocery, rather than shifting from department to department. They get extra training on the brands in their areas; their focus is helping shoppers.
IN-HOME ADVISERS: They visit shoppers' homes and recommend products suitable for their spaces to help them create a home office or set up a home theater. The service is free.
PERSONAL STYLISTS: Some stylists now pull options for shoppers ahead of time based on their answers to an online questionnaire about price, favorite brands, style and sizes, and make refinements based on text conversations. That's similar to the styling services many online companies like Stitch Fix offer. But instead of receiving clothes to try on at home and possibly send back, shoppers then work with stylists at the store. Bloomingdale's is testing the service at its Manhattan SoHo store and says the online component offers speedier service. Both Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue have personal stylists as well as an online component.