Posted October 27, 2020

An Unprecedented Retail Holiday Season

By Grace Tino

This year has been one of unexpected change and adaptation to new normalcies. The retail industry has been no exception to the changes from these tumultuous past several months. With 2020 coming to an end soon, one more pivotal season remains for retailers before moving on to a new year. The holidays are known to be a time of booming sales for retailers as consumers scramble to find gifts for friends and family. For retail workers, the season is a great opportunity to find temporary employment for extra money and job experience. However, COVID-19 has shifted the game for retailers across the country, as it has altered sales and consumer behavior. Though most retailers have already reopened their doors with new safety protocols in place, preparing for the busiest season of the year is another adventure. Although there will be a few changes this holiday season, hiring demand in the retail industry for seasonal workers is not expected to falter. In fact, many retailers have already kickstarted seasonal hiring campaigns, producing numerous new opportunities for the seasonal job seeker to explore.

What should job seekers expect from retail employers in the upcoming months? Seekers should absolutely anticipate more e-commerce and order fulfillment roles to open ups. In 2019, e-commerce was already seeing an increase amidst the holiday buzz. According to the National Retail Federation, 56% of consumers in 2019 reported they planned to do their holiday shopping online, with 48% of that group also stating they planned to buy online then pick up in-store. In the past several months alone, e-commerce has grown so much that yearly sales projections are a massive $708 billion, an increase of 14.5% from 2019, due to the pandemic's effects on consumer behavior. That means e-commerce is estimated to make up 14.5% of total retail sales- a significant increase from last year's 11%. With these projections in mind, retailers will be expecting e-commerce to be at an all-time high this season and will adjust their hiring strategies to compensate.

Many of these warehouse-focused roles offer high wages for seasonal roles. Since all retailers are preparing for an online shopping increase, this means they will also be competing for similar talent to fill similar roles. With higher hiring demand, retail employees open to exploring opportunities in online fulfillment and distribution can find higher paying jobs than the average in-store role! If you're new to the world of warehouses, explore the different opportunities you can find with AllRetailJobs here.

In addition to a surging demand for delivery order fulfillment roles in warehouses and distribution centers, opportunities are emerging in-store that will play a key role in keeping store doors open. Generally, the holidays lead to higher volumes of shoppers, which is why there is a spike in seasonal job demand. While some consumers will switch to online shopping, there will always be customers that prefer the experience of brick-and-mortar shopping. To create a safe environment for these larger shopping crowds, retailers have begun to hire and train in-store associates to uphold sanitary and safety standards on top of the usual job duties. Protocols that these retail associates will need to oversee include social distancing in lines, frequent sanitization of products and surfaces, and proper safety equipment such as masks for all store attendees and personnel. Regulatory safety protocols have become the new territory for customer service associates in stores. These associates are in high demand, as well as held in high respect, by retail employers across the country.

Additionally, curbside and buy online, pickup in-store purchasing is keeping customer service associates on their toes in stores. Many customers will opt to pick their orders up rather than wait on deliveries. Retailers will be increasing hiring for customer service and order fulfillment to keep up with holiday order pickups. Plus, in reverse of past years, many retailers are opting for the first time in years to keep doors closed on Thanksgiving. This is an added benefit for seasonal workers this year, as they will still get to enjoy the holiday without the stress of trying to take off. Job seekers looking for temporary work can expect to see demand for such positions through December!

Though COVID-19 has and continues to reshape the world, all changes are not necessarily negative. Flexibility and an enthusiasm for adaptation will prove to be invaluable skills for retail workers in the coming months. Job seekers looking for seasonal employment this year should tailor their resumes to appeal to the unique hiring demands retailers will have for the coming months. Highlight any experience working in and with new safety measures in addition to relevant experience; these are unique skills that set you apart in the job hunt. Though retail has shifted greatly in the past months, there has been no decrease in the importance of retail workers to stores and the economy. If you are seeking a seasonal job, don't be discouraged by the pandemic- AllRetailJobs has thousands of seasonal jobs to explore, and more are coming daily!