E-commerce has taken centre stage over the last few years as one of the fastest growing industries on a national and global level. Companies with a strong online presence have seen explosive growth since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this is great news for e-commerce businesses that operate in this sector, it also presents a unique set of obstacles specifically related to workforce management and staffing. In this blog post, we’ll be looking at some of the challenges facing the e-commerce industry and how these can be tackled efficiently. Let’s jump right in!
Why is e-commerce growing?
The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses across Canada and the rest of the world to close their physical stores and rapidly increase their online retail offering. This affected companies of all sizes and many businesses came to the shocking realization that they were poorly equipped to take their business online.
Customers expect access to services like fast shipping, online payments, digital product catalogues and customer support. Businesses that are unable to provide these services as part of an easy-to-use e-commerce platform have struggled to retain customers.
Even as the pandemic subsides, the e-commerce sector in Canada is expected to continue growing by up to 12.5% in 2021. Consumer habits have permanently changed as a result of long-term lockdowns, so online shopping for everything from groceries to clothing has become the norm.
Online retail workforce of the future
As well as the above developments that have shaped what e-commerce looks like today, many businesses face challenges when it comes to their workforce. Here are the most common challenges to overcome to become more competitive and successful in e-commerce
Hiring talented candidates
The e-commerce sector is facing a talent shortage on a global level. That means companies like yours are finding it increasingly difficult to find and hire skilled digital marketers, web developers, manufacturing staff and distribution professionals. One of the most effective ways of attracting the people you need is to develop a positive employer brand. This will make your company an attractive place to work, reduce your hiring costs, and make it easier for you to retain your best employees. Organizations that focus on creating a strong employer brand often outperform their competitors in many different aspects of business as they’re able to hire the best job seekers in their industry.
Hiring candidates in the middle of a pandemic is no easy task, so take the time to properly evaluate your applicants’ skills and experience before bringing them on board. A bad hire can disrupt your whole team, so this should be one of your recruitment priorities!
Workforce development and training
While searching for top e-commerce talent is always a good idea, it’s also important to upskill your existing employees. Too many companies moving into the e-commerce space neglect their current employees due to their lack of digital skills or knowledge. Proper workforce training can transform an organization and will also help you retain staff while keeping them engaged.
If you already have a marketing team, for example, give them training on digital marketing and e-commerce so that they can help your company grow while modernizing and advancing their own professional career. This might even help you fill talent gaps as your most motivated employees learn on-the-job skills that make them perfect for those hard-to-fill positions in your e-commerce department.
Retaining young employees
It’s obvious that employee expectations have changed over the last couple of years. This is especially true for young people that are replacing baby boomers in the workforce. If you fail to adapt to new ways of working, you’ll likely have a very hard time retaining young tech-savvy employees who are crucial for your e-commerce team.
Adjusting your leadership model, providing flexible work schedules, and focusing on employee wellbeing are just a few of the ways that you can appeal to young workers and make sure they want to be part of your organization.
Motivating work-from-home employees
Competition in e-commerce is tough, so if your employees aren’t performing well, you run the risk of losing customers to competing businesses. For employees that have been working from home, it’s important that you keep them engaged, productive and motivated while they continue to work remotely. You can do this by developing a strong company culture, as well as concentrating on your employees’ mental health with wellbeing initiatives.
Employees that started working for you during the pandemic may have a different set of needs than those you’ve met in person. Concentrating on providing an effective and pleasant onboarding process for new employees will ensure that your company keeps its e-commerce team on the path to productivity and positive results.
Leveraging a contingent workforce
Too many organizations focus on bringing all their collaborators in-house. While that makes sense for some positions, it might not be the best approach for an expanding e-commerce department that needs to respond to the ever-changing landscape of online retail.
That’s where a contingent workforce comes in. A contingent workforce is a pool of specialist professionals including consultants, freelancers, temporary workers, seasonal workers or even external agencies. These people help you as and when you need support, be it for certain projects that are outside of your team’s area of expertise, or for tasks that only last a few weeks or months.
Building an e-commerce workforce for the future
By partnering with workforce management experts like Adecco, you’ll be able to identify where your business needs support, and you’ll get access to expert consultants that deliver highly impactful solutions.
If you’re facing a shortage of qualified staff to grow the e-commerce side of your business, staffing agencies can find you temporary or permanent professionals in a short amount of time. This saves you money and makes your company more flexible and resilient in turbulent times.
To learn more about how Adecco Canada can help you expand your business and take advantage of the growing e-commerce industry, visit our employer portal and get in touch with us today!