Retail Industry Organization Chart & Structure
Retail Industry Organizational Structure Outline & Definitions
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Companies operating within the retail industry sell consumer goods (includes food, clothing, recreational items, etc.) to customers through multiple channels of distribution (brick-and-mortar storefronts, e-commerce websites, direct mail catalogs, etc.). "Retailers," a term typically applied where a company fills the small orders of a substantial number individuals (i.e., end-users) rather than large orders of a small number of wholesale, corporate or government clientele, are seen as the final link in the supply chain between manufacturers and consumers. Department stores, grocery stores and supermarkets, warehouse retailers, specialty retailers, convenience retailers, discount retailers, mobile retailers and e-commerce retailers (e.g., Amazon) all form part of the retail industry. Retailers are responsible for attracting customers to their retail locations (physical or web-based), providing an enjoyable shopping experience, and maintaining adequate inventories to meet customer demand. Retailers today are investing heavily in e-commerce strategies, not only to broaden their geographic reach, but to also keep up with advances in digital technologies and customer expectations, which have continued to transform the way that consumers search for and purchase goods of all types.
Common Retail Industry job titles: Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Supply Chain Officer
The Merchandising function is in charge of the physical layout of the retail stores and determining ways to drive sales and profits as high as possible. Responsibilities of the Merchandising function include planning product displays, creating coupons and promotions, arranging shelves to maximize sales, negotiating shelf space with vendors and developing pricing strategy. The Merchandising function also performs market research on buying trends and works with the Purchasing function to decide which goods should be sold in the store.
Common Merchandising job titles: Visual Merchandising Manager, Product Promotion Manager, Strategic Pricing Manager, Marketing Manager
The Product Display function works closely with vendors to organize their products into visually aesthetic exhibits to maximize the sale of the product. These visual displays are located strategically within the store to trigger buyer purchasing behavior.
Common Product Display job titles: Visual Merchandiser, Visual Merchandising Associate, Visual Display Associate, Visual Display Store Planner
The Promotions function comes up with coupons, sales and advertising strategies to maximize the sale of goods and increase profits. This group analyzes store data and determines which goods would sell faster and increase profits when included as part of a promotion. The Promotions function uses CRM to help develop personalized promotions based on a shopper's buying behavior.
Common Promotions job titles: Product Promotion Specialist, Marketing Specialist, Promotions Coordinator
The Pricing function is responsible for developing the pricing strategy of the company's retail locations. This function performs market research and competitor analysis to determine how to optimally price the goods in their store.
Common Pricing job titles: Pricing Analyst, Pricing Specialist, Strategic Pricing Lead
The Store Planning function is responsible for developing a strategy for the geographical placement of the company's retail stores. This function analyzes profit & loss statements of existing stores to determine which stores need to be shut down and also perform market research to determine where new stores should open up.
Common Store Planning job titles: Store Design Manager, Store Planner, Store Operations Manager
Real Estate Planning
The Real Estate Planning function is in charge of the growth strategy of the company, in relation to new store openings based on untapped geographical markets or overall store demand. This group is responsible for identifying potential new store locations, purchasing real estate and overseeing the completion of new store development.
Common Real Estate Planning job titles: Store Development Project Manager, Retail Planning Analyst, Real Estate Analyst
Store Analysis & Management
The Store Analysis & Management function is responsible for analyzing the profit and loss performance of the company's various retail locations, determining which stores are performing well and identifying the locations of stores that should be shut down. This team also works closely with the Real Estate Planning function to identify geographical areas that are candidates for new store openings.
Common Store Analysis & Management job titles: Financial Analyst, Retail Analyst, Store Operations Analyst
The E-Commerce function provides added value to the retail locations by allowing customers to purchase goods online. The responsibilities of the E-Commerce function include web design, online order fulfillment, payment processing and security, site maintenance and marketing.
Common E-Commerce job titles: E-Commerce Manager, Digital Content Manager, IT Project Manager
Application Design & Development
The Application Design & Development function is responsible for designing the infrastructure of the company's e-commerce platforms and applications and ensuring that they are running efficiently for the user.
Common Application Design & Development job titles: Web Designer, Front End Developer, UX Designer
The E-Commerce Analytics function is responsible for compiling and analyzing the e-commerce platform's user buying habits and behavior. They use insights to implement changes to website design and user interface to increase website conversion rates and overall user experience.
Common E-Commerce Analytics job titles: SEO Analyst, Web Data Analyst, SEO Strategist
The Inventory Management function is responsible for the flow of goods from the distribution warehouses to the retail locations. The primary objectives of the Inventory Management function include maintaining goods in their proper storage locations, transporting goods from the distribution warehouse to the retail store, receiving shipments from warehouses or other suppliers and the replenishment of goods at designated stock levels. The Inventory Management function also oversees the security operations of the store and prevents instances of theft.
Common Inventory Management job titles: Purchasing Manager, Product and Shipping Manager, Chief of Security, Inventory Manager
The Purchasing function is responsible for monitoring inventory levels of goods to ensure that the store does not lose sales due to backorder. The use of forecasting is very important to this function in order to maintain sufficient levels of inventory without significantly raising inventory carrying costs. The Purchasing Department works closely with the Merchandising Department to determine the type and quantity of goods to be purchased. This department is also responsible for negotiating contracts with vendors and discussing product display strategies.
Common Purchasing job titles: Vendor Relations Coordinator, Strategic Sourcing Analyst, Senior Buyer, Purchasing Agent
Shipping & Receiving
The Shipping & Receiving function's primary responsibly is facilitating the flow of goods to retail stores from their external suppliers and distribution centers, in addition to ensuring the proper handling of those goods. This function is also in charge of moving the incoming shipments from the loading dock to their proper location in the warehouse or storage room.
Common Shipping & Receiving job titles: Receiving Associate, Shipping Clerk, Shipping & Receiving Coordinator, Loader
The Warehousing function oversees the storage and maintenance of inventory at retail locations and distribution centers. Some responsibilities include designing the layout of the warehouse for optimal storage, performing inventory checks to ensure accuracy of inventory management systems, labeling inventory for resale and maintaining a warehouse environment that will minimize the theft or spoilage of inventory.
Common Warehousing job titles: Warehousing Supervisor, Warehouse Coordinator, Warehouse Associate, Material Handler
The Inventory Security function is responsible for monitoring the foot traffic of the retail location and reducing occurrences of theft of company inventory. Inventory security can be strengthened through physical security guards, camera surveillance systems or the installation of Radio Frequency (RF) detectors.
Common Inventory Security job titles: Head of Security, Security Guard, Safety Officer, Loss Prevention Specialist
Store Operations refers to the overall management of departments or functions that are essential to any typical retail store location. This includes day-to-day management of employees, customer service, ensuring that shelves/racks are adequately stocked and maintaining a working relationship with the Purchasing Department to help reduce backordered items and ensure adequate stocking levels.
Common Store Operations job titles: Operations Manager, Store Manager, Regional Store Manager
The Stocking function is responsible for the flow of goods from the warehouse or storage room to the stocking shelves located within the store. This function monitors the shelves throughout the store and replenishes the shelves with the appropriate goods in addition to placing orders to distribution centers or external suppliers when the store's inventory is running low.
Common Stocking job titles: Stock Clerk, Stocking Associate, Overnight Stocker
Refunds & Returns
The Refunds & Returns function is responsible for designing, implementing and enforcing the company's policies on refunds, returns, warranties and exchanges. This function has to find the appropriate balance between implementing policies that are designed to help customers without over-serving customers and negatively affecting the store's bottom line.
Common Refunds & Returns job titles: Returns Manager, Returns Representative, Exchange Associate
The Item Check-Out function is in charge of performing the transactions necessary to facilitate the exchange of money and goods between the store and the customer. This function manages the opening and closing of check-out lanes to ensure that customers are not enduring long lines, while also not overstaffing the cash registers. The Item Check-Out function provides the customers with receipts of purchase in case a refund or return of goods needs to be made.
Common Item Check-Out job titles: Cashier, Check-Out Clerk, Check-Out Manager
The Employee Management function is responsible for overseeing the day-day performance of the store's employees. This function's responsibilities include recruiting & hiring, creating work schedules for employees, and assigning employees to departments that will best fit their strengths.
Common Employee Management job titles: Store Manager, Assistant Manager, Shift Supervisor