Navigating the Waves of Challenges in the Retail/eCommerce Industry

Based on 2023 outcomes, it is estimated that the retail and eCommerce industry will see record-breaking holiday sales of $988.5B – $998.2B in 2024 (NRF). To get a meaningful piece of that pie, leaders will have to overcome three major hurdles: 1 Hiring and training enough seasonal agents, 2 Ensuring proper staffing levels, and 3 Implementing adaptive workforce optimization (WFO). These tasks are critical to maintaining customer satisfaction and operational efficiency during peak periods.

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1. Seasonal Hiring and Training

The holiday season brings a surge in shopping activity, leading to increased contact volumes. Retailers must swiftly hire and train a substantial number of seasonal agents. The challenge lies not only in recruiting, but also in effectively training these agents to handle customer inquiries efficiently. With 563,000 openings for retail sales workers projected annually through 2032 (BLS), and most companies paying between $4000 – $20,000 to hire a new employee (Indeed), retailers cannot afford the degraded quality of customer service that comes from rapid onboarding.

2. Staffing Levels and Scheduling

Balancing staffing levels during the holiday season is another significant challenge. Insufficient staffing can result in longer wait times. Understaffed retailers place undue pressure on workers who, in turn, present a poor face to customers. Conversely, overstaffing can lead to unnecessary operational costs. Efficiently managing schedules to ensure optimal coverage without overburdening employees is crucial as right-sized staffing levels can increase sales performance by 10% (MIT Sloan School of Management).

17 diverse faces inside a shape representing a house

3. Adaptive Workforce Optimization (WFO)

Implementing adaptive WFO is essential for matching the right agents with the right customer inquiries based on their passion and skillsets. This ensures that customer issues are resolved quickly and accurately. companies that have implemented workforce optimization solutions experience, on average, a 37% agent efficiency increase, 41.8% increase in customer rating scores, 30.1% revenue increase, and a 1% reduction in operational costs (Metrigy). However, integrating such systems requires sophisticated technology and strategic planning. Misalignment can lead to customer frustration and decreased agent productivity.

Ride the Waves Easily with Arise

Arise offers a unique customer experience (CX) platform that ensures retail and eCommerce brands can navigate the holiday season waves with ease. With best-in-class technology, unmatched operational efficiency, and exceptional service quality, the world’s most recognized brands tap into the Arise® Platform to not only ride the waves, but generate results. 

Seasonal Ramp, Learning and Development: Arise’s virtual learning programs ensure that agents are well-prepared to handle customer inquiries, maintaining high service standards and a proven track record of above industry-standard speed to proficiency.

Support Levels and Scheduling: Powered by its proprietary Starmatic® Scheduling System, the Arise® Platform allows brands to schedule agents in 30-minute increments, offering an unprecedented 200% intraday flex. This flexibility leads to a more satisfied and productive workforce, and a better customer experience.

Adaptive Workforce Optimization: Arise leverages advanced WFO that drives customer service agents to programs that best suit their skills and passions. This alignment not only enhances customer satisfaction but also improves the efficiency of the support process, as agents are more likely to resolve issues quickly when providing support within their expertise on a brand program they love.

For the retail and eCommerce industries, there is simply no better way to ride the waves of challenges during the holiday season than with Arise.

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