Now that we’re past the Fourth of July cookouts, parades and fireworks, the party’s over. Believe it or not, we’ve just entered our second-largest shopping season for retailers. It’s time to go back-to-school shopping!
Just over $828 billion. That’s the forecasted number for back-to-school spending from eMarketer. Clothes, shoes, electronics, office supplies – the list of what’s required for kindergarten through college students may differ, but everyone must start the school year prepared.
To keep up with the extra demand and traffic, retailers have turned to staffing agencies to fill a variety of roles, from cashiers and floor salespeople to inventory stockers and picker packers. Office Depot announced they were hiring 8,000 workers for the back-to-school season, and noted that many would be helping to fulfill its “buy online, pick up in store” service. This move acknowledges that many consumers are choosing to shop from behind their computer or phone screen, instead of traveling from store to store.
Just as consumers have made the move to mobile, so have many retailers when it comes to finding temporary workers. Mobile marketplaces for on-demand labor are a natural fit for the retail industry, and there are a few reasons why.
Business is mobile. To keep up with today’s new business demands and expectations, work must be able to be completed quickly, reliably and on the go. Technology is now mobile, and with good reason. Mobile-only features like push notifications, social integration and mobile payments exponentially improves the usability and effectiveness of technology platforms. A mobile marketplace allows busy retailers to ramp their staff up or down quickly, directly from their mobile phones.
Retail staffing needs change quickly. There’s a few different peak seasons for shopping throughout the year that differ by industry – think back to school, holiday shopping, etc. On a more consistent basis, industry-specific retailers have their own unique challenges. For example, clothing retailers must frequently change their stock to keep up with the season and trends and electronic stores have to keep the latest products on its shelves to stay competitive. With needs that change daily, supplementing full-time employees with on-demand workers that can be managed on the go is an effective solution.
The model is proven. Mobile marketplaces have become the norm. Companies like Airbnb and Uber have transformed the business model in their respective industries, paving the way for other companies to emerge and solve similar problems in new sectors. Today’s on-demand talent platforms are breathing new life into the traditional temporary staffing world, solving the labor problem for businesses in a new, mobile-friendly way.
The future of work(ers) is on-demand. Right now, 250,000 baby boomers are retiring every month. Millennials are now the largest generational workforce in the US and, according to McKinsey studies, prioritize flexibility and convenience. On-demand work is increasingly appealing to them, and mobile marketplaces put new opportunities in their hands, literally, through their smartphones.
To consumers and retailers alike, we say “happy shopping!”