As retailers feel the pressure of integrating channels to improve the customer experience, store managers continue to face daunting tasks involving both store execution and operations. Store managers feel order fulfillment (29%) and limited staffing (29%) are the biggest challenges at the store execution level, while the biggest operations challenges are inaccurate data (31%) and limited stock and slow replenishment (31%).
Order fulfillment challenges have kept retailers from catching up with shoppers’ desires. Buy online/pickup in-store (BOPIS) services have increased 41%, and buy online/ship-from-store services have jumped 40% — the largest increases in customer adoption, according to the survey.
The JDA survey, titled: Voice of the Store Manager, revealed that respondents have staff allocated to support fulfillment functions such as:
Buy online/return in-store (BORIS) (64%);
Buy in-store/ship to home (61%);
Buy online/ship-to-store (59%); and
Buy in-store ship to home/store from another store (49%).
As BOPIS becomes a bigger part of a retailer’s offering, managers must figure out how to optimize its associated logistics to make it work. As many as 41% of store managers believe lack of visibility across inventory is the biggest difficulty when it comes to BOPIS services; 36% say their stores currently offer a discount to customers who utilize BOPIS services, and another 14% are currently testing/researching options.
‘Gig Economy’ Forces Retailers To Rely On Temporary Labor
More than 40% of store managers already are reporting that a small number of their store staff (less than 25%) are part of the “gig economy,” the labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work. Nearly 25% of store managers are exploring the possibility of leveraging short-term contractors or freelance workers outside of the traditional workforce.
As many as 60% of store managers plan to hire the same amount of temporary labor for the 2017 holiday season as they did last year; while 24% plan to hire more this year. However, the focus of the seasonal staff may be changing to meet customer demand; more than 40% of seasonal holiday hires will be for fulfillment at stores/warehouses, not customer-facing positions.