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Where to Find Retail Workers for the Short- And Long-Term?

Retailers have long been familiar with the challenges of retaining employees: employment turnover is hovering at 69% and shows no signs of slacking. But in the last two years, they’ve been struggling to find workers too—and despite continuous recruitment, retailers still can’t hire all the employees they need.

Where to Find Retail Workers for the Short- And Long-Term?

Being understaffed creates high, unnecessary costs. But that’s not the only issue. This article examines the impact the labor shortage is having on retail, including:

  • How customer service suffers when retailers don’t have enough workers.
  • The impact of bad experiences on customer loyalty: after only one bad experience, 76% of customers would rather go to a competitor.
  • The negative impressions created by out-of-stocks: When an out-of-stock occurs, only 13% of shoppers wait for the item to be back on the shelf, while 39% switch brands and 32% switch retailers.

Content Summary

How big is the retail worker crisis?
Impact of the lack of retail workers on customers
Current efforts aren’t enough
For short and long-term help, retailers are turning to gig workers
Who are gig workers?
Why gig workers are ideal for retail
Utilizing gig workers for short and long-term

Retailers are familiar with the challenges of keeping workers. But in the last two years, retailers have struggled to find workers too. That difficulty is understandable in the wake of the pandemic. However, being understaffed creates high, unnecessary costs. One way to address the labor shortage in retail is by engaging gig workers.

How big is the retail worker crisis?

  • Retailers work with 29 million Americans.
  • Retail turnover is about 69%, and finding new workers is incredibly costly.
  • The number one challenge retailers face right now is turnover, according to a recent report.

Impact of the lack of retail workers on customers

When retailers don’t have enough workers, customer experience suffers and may never recover.

  • 86% of customers said they’d leave a company after two bad experiences. Another survey found that after only one bad experience, 76% of customers would rather go to a competitor.
  • In addition to bad customer experiences, out-of-stocks create a negative impression on the shopper. When an out-of-stock occurs, only 13% wait for the item to be back on the shelf, while 39% switch brands and 32% switch retailers.

Current efforts aren’t enough

Despite continuous recruiting efforts, retailers still can’t find all of the workers they need.

What’s more, eligible workers for many entry-level retail jobs are being recruited for a variety of non-retail positions that require similar skills.

Although retailers are improving their processes to attract workers and keep them engaged, they need people to work now.

For short and long-term help, retailers are turning to gig workers

Who are gig workers?

  • Gig workers may be looking for on-demand, short-term, and/or long-term opportunities.
  • The growing pool of gig workers was made up of more than 57 million people in 2021.
  • Many gig workers came from the Great Resignation, looking for flexibility, autonomy, and opportunity, and represent different ages and skills sets.

Why gig workers are ideal for retail

  • Gig workers can fill entry-level jobs and have the necessary skills in retail, distribution centers, merchandising and beyond.
  • The worker pool can expand and contract to meet business needs, meaning that workers can be engaged during busy periods without a long-term commitment.
  • Engaging gig workers is fast—they can be in place in just hours.

Utilizing gig workers for short and long-term

Utilizing gig workers can be both a short-term aid in a crunch and a long-term solution for business continuity and growth. While the retail industry may always have volatility, stores that can quickly adjust to changing business needs will be the ones that succeed. By engaging gig workers, retailers can efficiently adapt to their current needs.

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