How changing consumer habits affect recruitment in retail

Consumers have shifted the way they shop, from the brands they choose and products they buy to how they pay for their purchases. As consumer habits and expectations change, businesses may struggle to find the people they need to meet the demand, particularly in customer services.

This guide will explore how changing consumer habits affect customer service recruitment and how brands can use outsourcing to provide a better customer experience.

Changing consumer habits: Factors that affect recruitment

 Over the last couple of years, we’ve witnessed ongoing trends relating to consumer behaviour and shopping habits. We’ll go over the main ones below.

Permanent shift to online shopping

According to Google, the seismic shift to online shopping is here to stay. E-commerce will account for 20.4% of global retail sales by the end of 2022, up from only 10% five years ago.

As more consumers and brands move to online shopping, e-commerce is becoming increasingly crowded. Brands need more than great products and a nice website to stand out to consumers — providing exceptional customer service is key to meeting the new demand.

Increased need for convenience

 Consumers expect a fast, seamless experience from the instant they visit your website to receiving your product. Next-day delivery, fast and easy returns, and effective customer service are all key to keeping the modern shopper happy.

Customers’ increased need for convenience puts pressure on retail brands to deliver an outstanding experience, especially when it comes to customer service. E-commerce kings like Amazon have set the standard for what customers expect, and even small online retailers need to match them to stay competitive.

Shifts in brand loyalty

The rise of online shopping has also seen an erosion of traditional brand loyalty since product comparison has become much easier.

In the past year, 1 in 4 UK clothing shoppers has purchased products from a new brand or retailer. A recent survey also reveals that 76% of online shoppers have made purchases on a site outside their own countries.

Customer services play a key role in brand loyalty. In fact, 81% of consumers say a positive customer experience increases the chances of them making another purchase. Moreover, 60% of customers will defect after one bad experience, which is 22% more compared to last year.

Excellent customer service is no longer nice to have but rather a requirement for success.

How these changes in consumer retail habits affect recruitment

The pandemic opened the door for a long-overdue retail industry reset that can help brands move into more stable and profitable positions than ever before. However, changing consumer expectations also result in a staff shortage, particularly in customer service.

Consumers have grown accustomed to the level of personalisation and availability of support from online returns and complaints processes from e-commerce retailers. Now that customers are wanting to go back to in-person shopping, retailers need to meet these new expectations.

According to Deloitte, 74% of retail executives name customer-facing positions as their biggest employee shortfall. While the move to e-commerce means there’s a lower demand for in-store staff, companies need bigger digital customer service teams to help with the logistical and larger-scale issues that online shopping presents.

Moreover, retail is a fluctuating industry — demand rises and falls with seasonal changes. As a result, retail recruiters must deal with temporary staffing and volume recruitment much more than in any other industry.

Finding skilled employees to fill those roles can be challenging since experienced personnel prefer full-time positions. That’s where outsourcing can lend a helping hand.

How outsourcing helps retail recruiters keep up with changing consumer habits

Providing quality customer service has become foundational to a company’s survival, particularly during peak periods. Outsourcing the service can help offload some of the work for internal call centre teams.

With consumers becoming more demanding, retailers must always be reachable to answer questions or help with queries. Outsourcing the consumer contact services to experienced professionals helps retailers build brand loyalty by offering a better experience.

Moreover, hiring and training new customer service reps takes time and capital. Instead, outsourcing solutions let someone else take on the cost of training customer service teams and the risk of meeting demand fluctuations.

Outsourcing companies already have sufficient processes designed to fit any business need. They’ll work with you to solve problems and have the deep sector expertise to deliver the best possible experience for you and your customers.

Finally, outsourcing can offload pressure from your employees. With customer service in capable hands, you can open up your staff for other tasks and utilise their skills to help you achieve your business goals.

Leverage outsourcing to build a thriving business

Technology may have a large role to play in changing consumer habits, but great customer service still requires a human touch. By outsourcing to highly skilled customer service professionals, you can provide an experience that truly reflects your brand.

A partner like Sigma Connected can help you increase customer loyalty and build a successful brand by improving communication and creating a one-on-one relationship with your customers.

Meet customer demand with Sigma Connected

Place your customer service experience in the hands of trusted professionals. Sigma Connected offers high-quality, flexible customer service solutions that help you easily support customer orders or peak periods.

Our team is trained to work across all communication channels, meaning you can deploy our agents quickly and effectively.

Discover a solution that transforms your customer experience and helps you thrive in the new retail environment.

Learn more about our white-label customer service solutions by contacting us today.


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