Beyond the sales associate positions that remain the backbone of run specialty and already commonplace running shop roles such as marketing manager or designated buyers for apparel, shoes or accessories, an assortment of new retail roles can help run shops address contemporary needs in today’s fast-evolving marketplace.

And creating new positions for the store and its team members can be mutually beneficial.

When employees are entrusted with more ownership of a specific business area and given the opportunity to leverage different talents and passions, they often forge deeper ties with the operation, feel valued and become more engaged with the work, all factors that can increase employee retention. Forming new roles also allows retailers to better utilize the human capital on hand and energize their business in new ways by having a resident “expert” devoting their attention to improved performance.

Some new employee roles run shops might consider include:

The Role: Logistics Manager

The Responsibilities: Oversee shipping and receiving as well as other logistical operations, such as home delivery or product swapping between stores.

The Importance: Over the last year, many run shops have embraced – largely out of necessity – e-commerce and home delivery. An organized, detail-oriented team member armed with the right technology and processes can create efficiencies for the business and appease customers.

The Role: Social Media Manager

The Responsibilities: Increase brand awareness of the running shop through social media outlets by managing social media accounts, developing posts and campaigns, executing a cohesive social media strategy and interacting with followers.

The Importance: Social media was an important marketing and communications tool before COVID-19, but its value accelerated amid the pandemic as an accessible, effective way to engage with customers, share updates and foster community. Having one capable, digitally savvy team member charged to oversee all social media platforms can provide continuity and drive a more strategic social media approach.

The Role: Merchandising Manager

The Responsibilities: Blend art, science and common sense to ensure a clean, polished and well-presented store.

The Importance: Store windows, store displays and the shoe wall as well as the thoughtful positioning and careful stocking of product contributes to the vibrancy of a store, draws attention to available solutions and projects a professional image, all of which can help spur sales.

The Role: Videographer

The Responsibilities: Produce on-brand video content for marketing and communications initiatives.

The Importance: Video is important for SEO on the web, is quickly becoming the preferred method of content consumption, particularly among younger consumers, and helps to keep a run shop in front of customers. Whether introducing product, sharing store news or providing performance tips, relevant video offers a unique opportunity to engage customers and build brand awareness on digital channels.

The Role: Customer Experience Officer

The Responsibilities: Evaluate and strengthen all the ways in which the customer interacts with the run shop, from in-store visits and the company website to store events, packet pickups, fun runs and races.

The Importance: Brands like Amazon and Target don’t spend significant sums thinking about the customer journey for naught. By examining the various ways in which customers interact with the run shop and how those interactions play out, retailers can address pain points, bolster customer service, enhance customer satisfaction, generate word-of-mouth buzz and propel customer loyalty.

The Role: Community Outreach Coordinator

The Responsibilities: Cultivate relationships with race organizers, medical partners, coaches, run clubs, wellness advocates and the like to increase brand awareness, drive traffic and boost sales.

The Importance: Amid intense competition from big-box stores, e-com players and manufacturers’ direct-to-consumer efforts, grassroots relationship building is especially critical and a potentially robust point of differentiation for the independent running store. A savvy outreach coordinator will develop a plan for nourishing strategic relationships and establish the run shop as a trusted, reliable source for running, fitness and wellness solutions.

The Role: Chief People Officer

The Responsibilities: Manage the experience of internal team members, including recruiting, hiring, onboarding and training, so staff are knowledgeable, engaged and evolving contributors.

The Importance: Given the face-to-face nature of the run specialty environment and the different facets of in-store and out-of-store interactions, such as off-site runs and races, store team members play a critical role in store performance. By setting expectations and actively working to improve the experience of staff and foster their growth, run shops cultivate more invested employees who bring energy and professionalism to their roles.