Retailers are hurting, especially as shoppers buy more products online. But the role the sales associate plays into this receives less attention. As working in retail has developed from a career to a gig economy job, brands, retailers and customers are confronting the unfortunate effects of this. At today’s juncture, the sales associate is one of the most underutilized tools in a brand’s toolkit. Providing high-quality service in-store is one of the most effective practices to drive a company’s sales, but today, subpar in-store service has significantly affected the shopping experience, lowering sales and fueling the shift to e-commerce. We spotlight the sales associate and stylist roles here to examine how they are changing—both online and offline—and offer solutions for companies to evolve these positions in a fast-changing commercial environment.

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