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In Between the Numbers: The Omni-Channel Paradox: Will Less Store Staff Mean Less Online Revenue?

October 26, 2011 at 9:22 am PST

Was reading the National Retail Federation’s forecast for Holiday 2011.

One topic caught my eye: the expected level of seasonal store-level employment.

The NRF expects that the industry will hire between 480,000 and 500,000 seasonal workers this year, roughly equal to last year’s 495,000.

We can expect a majority of those individuals to be in the stores – hired at the store, for the store.

A big question for retailers in this omnichannel world: What’s guiding the hiring?  Comp-store forecasts or the needs of the omnichannel shopper? If it’s store-level revenue, there’s a good chance of a critical mismatch between the needs of the brand and the level of onsite support.

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In Between the Numbers: Markdown Money: the Key to Technology Adoption?

October 11, 2011 at 11:02 pm PST

I have been asking myself why this personal technology revolution is so hard for retailers.There are a number of pretty obvious answers on the surface.

The pace of innovation, for one. Given that the standard in-store technology refresh cycle is often measured in decades, it’s more than a bit frightening to think that today’s all-store devices might be old school in six months.

The fact that it’s about more than devices and apps, for another. Smart retailers know that the operational implication of the revolution is a single-brand, multi-touchpoint, flexible fulfillment future. Which will be millions and years in the making.

Which is enough to give any CIO – let alone CEO – pause.

I wonder, though, if there’s not another big reason. One that’s buried deep inside the financial fabric of retail. 

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