Having worked in the stores for almost 10 years, I gained invaluable experience that has served me very well in my current role. I had the opportunity to witness the challenges shoppers face daily, the difficulties store personnel face trying to execute an objective that is not operationally feasible and a true understanding of what is most important during critical holiday periods throughout the year … customer service!

As a bagger and then a cashier, I would watch as a mother had to choose what items to keep on her order and which ones to put back because her budget wouldn’t allow her to get everything her family needed. This translated to a better understanding of why, in part, online is doing so well with budget-conscious shoppers during COVID-19, and why the savings tools offered by retailers/manufacturers are needed and well utilized.

As a deli/bakery manager, interacting with someone selecting a cake – seeing the importance they placed on getting just the right details for their loved one for that special moment – has helped me understand how key shopping missions/trips can be very powerful and emotional when their expectations aren’t met. Fast forward to today and my work in OTC/health, these shopping missions can be even more emotional when a child or loved one is ill and the shopper is trying to determine the best product to help with this situation. The shelf can be overwhelming and confusing at a time when the shopping experience is critical. How do I make this better? How do I help reduce confusion for the shopper while making the trip faster and more successful?

There are many more examples that have helped shape my understanding of the shopper and their experiences. I would never have the true appreciation for these shopper moments if it were not for my time in the store.

My favorite aspects of being in the SI world include the ability to continuously learn new things; interacti...