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Retailers now need to focus on the employee as well as the customer

Essential to the retail transformation dynamic is the role of frontline workers.

Tesco profits jump on 'elevated' pandemic sales
Tesco continues to reap benefits from changes to shopping habits brought on by the pandemic - Copyright AFP Jim WATSON
Tesco continues to reap benefits from changes to shopping habits brought on by the pandemic - Copyright AFP Jim WATSON

Despite the global supply chain disruptions, in the U.S. the Holiday shopping sales are still on the rise. This has led business forecasts predict a strong season of holiday shopping.

However, to maintain this (in the context of Black Friday being imminent), several companies, such as Walmart, have felt the need to adjust logistics accordingly to meet the high demand of consumers for this year.

This means businesses must have solid strategies in place to combat these logistics challenges and offer their holiday shoppers an optimal shopping experience. Without this the main far in business may be realised: shoppers will not return.

According to Will Eadie, Chief Revenue Officer, WorkJam, the interesting area of focus is with brick-and-mortar foot traffic and Black Friday labour demands.

He tells Digital Journal  that “In addition to it being difficult to model 2021 Black Friday foot traffic, businesses are facing persisting challenges with labour, staffing, and multi-channel selling.”

Eadie  explains that it should come as no surprise that labour is a hot topic, noting: “The volatile global labour market is making seasonal hiring even more challenging and understaffed businesses need to keep a sharp eye on employee sentiment as it kicks off the busy season.”

There is a further complicating factor too, which Eadie  picks up on: “And, as the roles of brick-and-mortar locations change, employers will need to be agile to manage in-store shopping and online fulfilment with a fixed labour pool.”

Essential to this dynamic is with the role of frontline workers. Eadie says that this “continues to adapt to consumer demands and the demands of public health.”

In particular, he finds that “Locations are being asked to accomplish more with often fewer workers on the floor to accomplish the tasks at hand. The combination of these factors, plus the obvious impact of the pandemic, has contributed to raising burnout in all industries.”

Notably, he says: “Frontline workers have been and continue to adapt to changing operations. When changes in operations negatively impact the employee experience, employees are left wondering if there are greener pastures elsewhere.”

This means an effective business strategy over the Holiday season should not only focus on meeting consider expectations, it should also turn attention to employees, especially those who are customer facing and seek to keep them content and working for the same retail employers.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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