What’s in a name? Quite a lot actually, because in the world of online and multichannel retailing, job titles can be quite misleading. This confusion can have all sorts of effects.

What’s in a name? Quite a lot actually, because in the world of online and multichannel retailing, job titles can be quite misleading.

This confusion can have all sorts of effects.

For example, a retailer might employ someone they think can do the job because they had the right job title in their previous role. Or the rest of the business might not really understand what someone does.

For example, not all heads of ecommerce are created equal. Some have broader channel remits with responsibility for technology, content and marketing all the way through to customer service and logistics.

Others are essentially store managers with quite a narrow remit, often not even owning acquisition and retention marketing for the channel.

The other point is that no two retailers have the same structure running their online and multichannel operations.

And this exacerbates the issue, which is driven by the lack of insight about what best practice looks like. Yet every retailer knows exactly what resource is required to run the store channel.

On the plus side, there are a host of exotic job titles around.

GOD is working in multichannel at Aurora Fashions, where a good friend of mine, Ish Patel, is group omnichannel director.

Continuing the religious theme, on the technology side of ecommerce we have chief evangelists, who sound like they’d be more at home in the Baptist belt in the States than in a technology company.

My favourite is at Australian footwear retailer Styletread. It doesn’t have a CEO - instead it has a CHO, or chief happiness officer. That’s pretty cool on paper but what about when he has to discipline someone? Maybe he becomes the interim chief unhappiness officer.

The latest job title to grab my attention is customer director. Now you’re talking. Many retailers lack a truly customer-centric approach to what they do so, providing this fancy new title encompasses full control over the customers’ experience and all subsequent communications, this will be one job title that lives up to its name.

  • Martin Newman, Chief executive, Practicology