With 2020 inching toward an end, all eyes are on the busiest part of the year for retailers — the holiday season. No wonder, with festive season looking quite unpredictable, thanks to the ongoing pandemic, retailers need to walk the extra mile to woo customers. They need to channelize their strength and make strategic investments to provide consumers fast, convenient and safe shopping experience, be it offline or online. Well keeping all these aspects in mind and to keep pace with the any unprecedented increase in demand, retailers are unveiling hiring plans for the holiday season.
The holiday season is a crucial time for retailers as it accounts for a sizeable chunk of yearly revenues and profits. Taking into account consumers’ product preferences and growing inclination toward online shopping, owing to social distancing and greater stay at-home trends, retailers are replenishing shelves with in-demand merchandise and ramping up investments in digitization this festive season. This could mean deployment of a reasonable number of seasonal associates to deal with curbside and in-store pickup of online purchases.
Additionally, retailers are likely to appoint more full-time and seasonal warehouse staff to ensure smooth supply of inventories to stores from distribution centers during the festive period. Moreover, to ensure safety measures amid the pandemic, retailers are looking to dedicate staff at its stores’ front to guide customers, and perform functions such as cleaning and disinfecting carts and baskets, among others.
Hiring Kicks Off
The retail biggie Walmart WMT unveiled plans to deploy more than 20,000 seasonal associates at its countrywide e-commerce fulfillment centers to meet the expected surge in online shopping. Earlier this month, e-commerce behemoth Amazon AMZN announced plans to recruit as many as 100,000 full and part-time employees to meet the surge in online demand more efficiently.
Moving on, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM FLWS revealed plans to appoint more than 10,000 seasonal workers for its gourmet foods and gift brands for the festive season. This would mean quadrupling of the e-commerce retailer’s workforce to cater to the rising demand in the holiday season.
Recently, Target TGT forecasts seasonal hiring to remain at par with the prior year, which is equivalent to around 130,000 seasonal workers. The seasonal staffs are likely to get a minimum starting wage of $15 with a host of key coronavirus health benefits. The arts and crafts specialty retailer Michaels Companies MIK expects to hire more than 16,000 associates for seasonal positions across the United States and Canada to prepare for the holiday season. The company expects to strengthen its buy-online, pickup in-store team to provide a safe and convenient shopping experience to customers during the holiday season.
Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. said, “Despite current high unemployment and ongoing uncertainty, Retailers, particularly those with a strong online shopping infrastructure, are anticipating high demand.”
The holiday season is nothing less than a battlefield for the retailers struggling to win over consumers. And to beat the COVID-19 blues, retailers are looking for an early start to the festive season with an extended promotional period to avoid rush at stores, given the health concerns. According to a report from CNBC, Deloitte envisions holiday sales between $1.147 trillion and $1.152 trillion, which suggests an increase of 1-1.5% during the November-January period. Per Deloitte, e-commerce sales are estimated to improve 25-35% to reach $182-$196 billion this festive period.
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