What is a retail “curator”?

RetailWire panelists recently discussed an article focusing on the concept of merchants as “curators” of the products in their stores. To me, this is an old but core idea (assortment planning) dressed up in more contemporary lingo:

I agree with the other panelists that the idea of curation as “selecting content for the benefit of the visitor” is the fundamental job of any merchant. Whether in a bricks-and-mortar or virtual storefront (or both), retailers are responsible for offering thoughtfully edited assortments aimed at their core and targeted consumers. So there is an element of new-speak in the concept of “curation,” but if the idea returns retailers’ focus onto the products they offer as the heart of the business, so much the better. No amount of design sophistication, cost-cutting or other strategies can disguise the lack of a pointed assortment.

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