Walmart is testing a higher minimum wage for certain positions at 500 of its U.S. stores. This is part of a larger overhaul of the roles and responsibilities of its workforce. According to Bloomberg Walmart will raise the minimum hourly wage to $12 from $11. According to Jami Lamontagne, Walmart spokesperson, some associates will see their hourly wages rise from $11 per hour to $12 under the retailer’s new operating model . These roles include cashiers and shelf stockers, as well as deli workers.
Walmart, the largest private employer in the country, stated that the wage increase is a test and that it does not plan to increase wages further. Walmart claims that the new roles are more responsible, which is why they offer higher salaries. Walmart also announced that long-term roles such as assistant manager and customer service manger were eliminated and replaced with positions like academy trainer, coach, and team leader.
Drew Holler, senior vice-president of U.S. people, and associate experience, stated that the test further empowers associates to take care customers. “Finding new ways of paying and recognising our associates has been part the tests. This is the next step.”
Total Retail’s View:Walmart is receiving praise from industry insiders. Retailers are constantly in competition for decent workers in today’s labor market. Increasing wages is one way to attract them. It’s likely that it’s time. Walmart has not increased its minimum wage since January 2018, when they raised the minimum hourly wage to $11 for U.S. workers and offered bonuses up to $1,000. Walmart is still behind its competitors, despite this recent increase in compensation. Walmart’s $15 per hour rate is lower than Amazon.com’s, while Target and Costco offer higher starting hourly wages than Walmart. The move is also in line with Walmart’s efforts to improve customer service, as well as other retailers, as it competes against Amazon. It is not clear if the test will be Walmart’s first step towards increasing its starting pay to all 1.5 million employees.
The New Rules of Retail Marketing 2020
Many U.S. retailers are relying on two conflicting emotions — hope and fear — to drive their marketing plans this year.
U.S. U.S. retail sales increased by 3.4 percent in the holiday season 2019. Online sales of apparel, jewelry and department stores saw an increase year over year. Retailers’ ability to drive sales online and in-store is key to their growth in 2020.
While online shopping will continue to grow, the prospects of increased sales in-store depend on how retailers can improve the customer experience and keep brick-and-mortar stores open. According to the 2019 Holiday Outlook report by PwC, sixty percent of consumers aged 24-27 will make it a point to have a better shopping experience in-store. This consumer shift is supported by data from The Connected Customers. 90 percent of all sales in the U.S. (including click-and collect) are made in physical stores.
The fear of retailers stems from the fact that customers are constantly switching between online and in-store shopping. The channel choice of consumers is not one or the other. It’s all. Recognizing this fundamental shift opens the door to a new decade where retailers can adapt their digital marketing strategies to the new rules in retail marketing.
1. To increase sales in physical stores, conduct a mobile makeover.
The role of physical stores in the shopping experience for consumers is still significant. The “mobile makeover” is a smarter use for mobile technology in-store. With Tim Mason, CEO at Eagle Eye, I co-authored Omnichannel Shopping: How to Build Winning Stores In a Digital World. We describe how retailers can give their stores a ” mobile makeover.
This concept involves putting customer engagement at the heart of mobile. By engaging customers through their mobile phones and mobile apps, retailers should make it simple for them to visit a store and find the same choices, relevance, and convenience online. You can remove friction points in-store with interactive signage and shelf-labels. Additionally, you can provide product and service recommendations via geolocation, messaging through the app and push notifications.
Greggs is a top bakery chain with 1,800 shops in the U.K. They have improved customer convenience by integrating payment with their loyalty program through a mobile app. Customers can use their smartphone to scan and redeem rewards or pay in-store. Customers can use their smartphone to securely pay in-store using their rewards balance. Greggs has had 1.1 million mobile app downloads to date.
2. A click-and-collect service can increase customer convenience.
A click-and-collect service allows customers to combine the best of online and offline shopping. Customers can save time and money by not having to wait in long lines while still getting the satisfaction and instant gratification of shopping in-store. Many times, customers can pick up their products within minutes or in a short time.
Eagle Eye’s Connected Customer Report found that 19% of Canadians surveyed purchased or reserved items online to be collected in-store or at a locker. 26 percent of the click-and-collect customer segment are aged between 18 and 24. Consumers conduct product research online or on their mobile devices before purchasing. Therefore, retailers need to support every customer’s entire shopping experience through seamless digital connections.
3. With the help of omnichannel rewards programs or promotions, you can build customer relationships.
Retailers with physical stores have the opportunity to offer more ways to redeem loyalty points or promotions or to access discounts, as well as more convenient ways to get rewards. This is an area of focus for business leaders. A new Harvard Business Review survey of 400 executives revealed 53 per cent believe that loyalty programs should be digital and omnichannel.
Starbucks is one of the most well-known examples in the U.S. Starbucks is a coffee chain that is well-known for its mobile app. It serves as a digital loyalty card, marketing channel, and online ordering platform. The program now has more than 16.3million active members, up 14 percent from the previous quarter. They account for around 40% of Starbucks’ total transaction volume. Through personalized engagement and relevant offers, the most successful loyalty programs create long-lasting customer connections. These enhancements can be linked to payments for seamless customer service and insight.
The new retail era is already underway, and it has brought with it new marketing strategies and customer engagement. The rules and best practices will change as consumers’ expectations and behaviors change. One thing is certain in all this: digital connections will play an important role in improving customer experience and removing friction from the shopping process, which will propel retailers to the next level.
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