Finding it hard to attract new colleagues? We look at labour shortages in retail, and what can be done.

Retail is facing record colleague shortages. We’re here to help you weather the storm.

Article by Aaron Copestake | 22nd September 2022

Retail vacancies are at an all time high, and this is putting a lot of pressure on stores. Managers are facing two major challenges at once: attracting new colleagues and making the most of the ones they already have.  Luckily, we can help with both.

Where have all the colleagues gone?

The pandemic caused millions of people to reevaluate their priorities. Having got used to spending time with their families, many were reluctant to return to work. Two million UK workers have quit their jobs since 2020, and one in four plan to resign in 2022. This has led to a record 1.3 million job vacancies in the last three months. 

Labour shortages have hit the retail sector especially hard. There are currently over 33,000 retail job vacancies listed on Indeed, and this number looks set to rise. The British Retail Consortium’s recent Health of Retail report found that one in five remaining colleagues are planning to resign for financial or mental health reasons. 

As well as losing existing colleagues, retailers are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to recruiting. More than half of job seekers want to work from home at least some of the time,  and stores simply can’t offer this option. This has left them out of step with the demands of modern employees. 

Customers have become  less patient 

The pandemic didn’t just change colleagues’ priorities. Millions of customers got used to shopping online, and this shifted their expectations for physical retail. Having experienced the speed and convenience of ecommerce, customers now have little patience for in-store delays:

  • 93% of customers have frustrations with in-store shopping
  • One in four are frustrated by checkout queues
  • Over a quarter of customers will leave a store if they haven’t been served within five minutes

Read the full report here:

Breaking the cycle

Stores are in a difficult position. Customers expect immediate service, but there aren’t enough colleagues to provide it. This puts even more pressure on your team, further increasing the risk of resignations. 

The only way to break this cycle is to attract new colleagues, but this won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, you need to find ways to ease the pressure on the ones you already have. This is where we can help. Our system keeps colleagues connected at all times so that you can do more with less:

  • Headsets let colleagues find information and check stock levels without crossing the store. This reduces daily walking distance by an average of 1.4km per colleague. 
  • The hands-free design allows colleagues to share information while continuing to perform manual jobs. This increases daily task efficiency by up to 105 minutes.
  • Two way customer call points let customers speak to a colleague without searching for them. Colleagues can answer questions via their headsets, saving time for themselves and the customer.
  • Checkout keypads allow colleagues to call for assistance without leaving their position. Colleagues can continue to serve while they wait for help to arrive, preventing queues from getting out of hand. 

How VoCoVo can speed up the self-checkout process:

The ability to communicate instantly over long distances means that colleagues do not feel rushed off their feet, even when numbers are tight. It also reduces waiting times for customers, leading to a better experience for everyone:

  • B&Q colleagues were able to resolve customer queries 25% faster with VoCoVo
  • Boots customers were 150% happier with waiting times

By reducing pressure on colleagues, we hope that VoCoVo can make your store more attractive to job seekers. In the meantime, we’re here to support you when numbers are tight. Give us a call to find out more. 

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