A postal employee who processes one Amazon return after another. A part-time stockroom clerk who works spotty hours for minimum wage and no health benefits. A social media influencer who pitches products to her 83,000 Instagram followers. A robot that scans the shelves at Walmart.
Meet America’s retail work force in 2019. Nearly five million people are employed in traditional retail jobs. Many still work in stores, selling stuff, but the reality is that today’s retail industry is powered by a variety of staff employees, gig workers and artificial intelligence.
The changes reflect shifts in what shoppers want — lower prices and more convenience. Shopping, even in stores, now involves technology that is altering the way we interact with the sales staff. Here are six stories of modern-day retail work.