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Go against the flow: Careers with River Island

River Island Careers


Known as the ‘designer of the high street’ and with a host of the hottest collaborations in the UK under its belt, River Island is firmly established as a hotbed of innovation and creativity...

..this doesn’t just apply to its products. The company is leading the way into the digital age of retail, creating exciting opportunities for traditional, core merchandisers to move into new, modern roles and opening up a new world of career opportunities.

Classic retail teams: innovative environment

River Island’s multi-channel approach is well known for being both award winning and state-of-the-art, but it is also built on the principles that underpin excellent, textbook retail merchandising.

And through this unique approach, opportunities are being created for core merchandisers to move seamlessly into digital channels, using their skills and experience in a new and fast-growing environment.

Merchandising, reinvented

River Island has a clear vision for its online merchandising division — unlike other retailers, River Island looks for a core product background above experience in online channels.

This strategy means that traditional merchandisers with ambition and talent can easily transfer to a role in what is easily the fastest-growing channel in the industry. Structure-wise, new recruits will notice very little difference to a core buying and merchandising team.

They are split into a category team, who are more involved with product, and the merchandising team, who are more involved with the numbers, trade and stock of the site. The team reports to the online merchandising manager, who in turn reports to a head of merchandising.

A unique approach on established ideas

The job is also, in many ways, just the same — decisions driven by data. It consists of analysing numbers and looking for additional opportunities to drive the website, from customer journey to web-exclusive product.

It allows anyone interested in the customer to really get to grips with the behaviour and numbers associated with that. It’s all about transferable skills and a desire to learn new ones.

So why would a core merchandiser want to make the move online? In many ways, the benefits are obvious — ecommerce is the growth driver of most businesses now and there is a distinct lack of available talent, being a relatively new area in the field of merchandising.

To put it simply, there is a chance to be a big fish in a very small pond.


Q&A with Online Merchandising Manager James Malysz

Tell us something that readers might not know about working for your company?
Being a family company it’s really not a corporate environment. Many people don’t know this and assume due to our size and global scale that we must be incredibly corporate, but actually it’s a very open business and we welcome ideas from all.

How would you describe the atmosphere in your division and at the company as a whole?
Fast-paced, collaborative and ambitious. We set high targets and we work cross-functionally to ensure we are all moving in the same direction. Web can get a reaction to most things within a day and we, as a business, can react to that.

Describe something that has got you really excited/proud about working for your company in the past year?
I joined last year and I’ve seen the business, product and brand keep moving on. It’s a really exciting time for us to be part of that evolution. So many companies run to a standstill — we’re definitely not one of those!

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