Original Publication - Retail Week - May 1th 2012
With the technology jobs
sector developing so rapidly, external help becomes more pressing – retailers are likely to see more development around smartphones and tablets this year. For instance, a series of consumer studies by KPMG found that in 2007 only 1% of people preferred to use mobile phones for online shopping, but by 2011, this had risen to 7%.
Tablet and smartphone apps are now a key priority for retailers, and according to Iain Blair, director of recruitment agency ReThink Recruitment
, this is creating a skills gap for those looking to fill retail industry jobs
as retailers rush to employ staff with the experience they need. The limited supply of qualified contractors is also pushing up pay.
He adds while much of this work used to be outsourced to third-party agencies, retailers now feel far more comfortable bringing it in-house and are recruiting to form their own teams.
“It’s about building up a resource pool, then you’ve got people who have the experience and can do projects again,” he says. “Staff will want to move across to work in multichannel because they get to work on exciting projects.”
And it’s not just multichannel staff who are developing their skills. Store assistants, for example, may need to know how to research products or complete transactions on an iPad or to learn how to do online returns in-store.
The best option will be to find the right balance. Successful multichannel retailers often use a combination of training staff, taking on new recruits and using consultants.
As ecommerce becomes ever more central, and online and store operations become increasingly integrated, such skills will continue to be key to the success of the business – it’s wise to invest in their development now.
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