Discount giant will rely on its own workforce for holiday rush
Walmart is bucking the holiday hiring trend again this year.
Unlike other competitors that are hiring thousands of temporary workers to service shoppers during the holiday season, the discount giant plans to offer extra hours to its current associates. These shifts will staff traditional roles like cashier and stocker, and newly created technology-empowered positions, such as personal shoppers and Pickup associates, according to Walmart.
“This is the same approach we took last year, and we heard great feedback from our customers and associates,” said Judith McKenna, executive VP and COO, Walmart U.S.
While this is the second year Walmart is pursuing this model, the program has been evolving for some time. In 2015, the discounter committed to hiring 60,000 seasonal workers for the holiday season, but there was a caveat. Before making any new hires, Walmart gave its current employees first dibs on working additional hours during the holiday season.
To ensure its existing workforce is prepared for the upcoming holiday rush, Walmart is offering new training, tools and technology.
“Thousands of associates have completed training in our Pathways and Academy programs, which prepares them to more effectively serve customers, especially during this busy season,” McKenna said.
Walmart also plans to revive its "Holiday Helper" initiative. Armed with candy canes and Santa hats, these employees help customers find the shortest line and open registers, and also quickly grab items customers might have forgotten.
Walmart will be increasing the number of Helpers available in stores this season, the retailer said.
The discounter’s decision to forego a holiday hiring spree contradicts efforts by other retailers. For example, Target plans to hire approximately 100,000 employees for the upcoming holiday season — a 40% increase from last year. Additionally, the retailer will hire 4,500 workers at its distribution and fulfillment centers to replenish products to stores and fulfill digital sales throughout the season.
Similarly, Macy’s plans to hire a total of 80,000 workers for the holiday rush. However, this is down slightly from about 83,000 last year.
No comments found
Walmart eliminating overnight stocking in Neighborhood Market Stores
Walmart is changing the way it stocks merchandise in its small-format Neighborhood Market Stores.
In a blog on its website, the discounter announced that in more than 430 of its Neighborhood Market stores that are already closed overnight, it is shifting overnight stocking hours to the daytime and using technology to make the inventory management process easier. The retailer said it initially piloted day-stocking in 50 stores in and around the Tampa and Dallas areas with "very encouraging" results.
"Customer service and productivity both improved and associates who’d previously worked the overnight shift told us the liked the ability to move to day shift," wrote Todd Harbaugh, executive VP, Neighborhood Markets – Walmart U.S.
"For our customers, it means a more consistent in-store experience," Harbaugh stated. "We’ll have more people available on the sales floor to provide customer service, answer questions and help make sure products are available."
Walmart said its store managers are taking a "very hands-on approach" to transitioning people from overnight to daytime.
"If someone wants to keep their overnight shift, we will work with nearby supercenters or distribution centers to see if there are options to better fit their schedules," Harbaugh said.
I suspect another positive they will find is that because customers see those shelves being stocked during times when they are there, they have a much better feeling about the quality and freshness of the product being presented, particularly in "fresh" and vegetables. That gives those customers a much stronger connection to the store. Good move.
Fast-growing menswear retailer ready for holiday season with new infrastructure
As it expands online and opens stores offline, Untuckit is looking forward to its biggest holiday shopping season to date.
The peak holiday season can account for nearly 30% of the average retailer's yearly sales — so retailers need to provide a flawless shopping experience. Knowing that an increasing amount of consumers will be flocking online this year to do their holiday shopping, Untuckit wanted to be ready to meet this surge in demand. As a result, the retailer is transitioning to a more flexible, scalable infrastructure.
By adopting an infrastructure from Radial, the retailer will be able to scale omnichannel, fulfillment and transportation services on-demand. These efforts will help the retailer support international sales, improve inventory accuracy, reduce packaging and procurement costs, secure better freight rates and expand headcount to meet peak season demand.
"Executing holiday retail perfectly is important to us," said Chris Riccobono, co-founder, Untuckit. "With Radial, we are able to scale our operations on-demand without compromise, to ensure our customers experience the same quality and support that they've come to expect from Untuckit year-round.”
No comments found