Salvation Doesn’t Lie in Software: Takeaway from NRF Big Show 2016

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Change in the retail industry is eminent, yet many retailers seem reluctant to accept the real challenge. A popular phrase at the 2016 National Retail Federation Big Show Conference was “reinvent or die,” but the vibe was more “reinvent or buy…this software!” However, transformation will not come out-of-the-box. Effectively shaping a completely new customer or workforce experience will not be seamless. End-to-end software solutions will not future-proof retailers, even if they provide real-time insights and intuitive dashboards.

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Ending On-Call Won’t Fix the Schedule

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Coming out against on-call scheduling practices is in vogue. After several media articles slammed the practice, cities began banning it entirely. Soon, significant pressure was placed on national retail brands to end this once-little-known scheduling policy.

“On-call” refers to when employers require open availability from the employee without offering a commitment of their own (pay or benefits). Employees either call in before their shift or wait to receive a call from their managers on whether or not they will work. Typically, this limbo time is unpaid. The reasons for ending such volatility seem clear, but what will fill the void is less certain.

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Today’s Retail Model Cuts Too Many Good Employees Loose

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Retail hasn’t just changed how people shop, it changed how people work.

When Tamara* was hired eight years ago she understood why she was scheduled for the showroom floor. A sales associate’s job was sales-driven and sales happened face-to-face. Tamara knew her job was to build relationships with customers, and luckily, her shifts gave her time to do that. Some loyal customers even planned their trips around days Tamara worked.

Now her job is different.

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