With the US unemployment rate at a 17 year low, contingent employment has become popular for both workers – because it provides flexibility, supplemental income, and work life balance – and employers – because it provides flexibility to hire when necessary, without the long term costs of a full time employee. According to Intuit’s 2020 report the trend toward the gig economy is real and growing , “Today, roughly 25-30 percent of the US workforce is contingent”, and “by 2020 40% of the US workforce will be contingent”. One of the driving forces behind the gig economy are consumer technology platforms, like Uber and SnagWork, which provide easy access to “gigs” or short term freelance jobs from a phone. According to Pew Research Center, “Nearly 1 in 4 Americans now earn money from the digital platform economy”, and retailers have begun to take notice.
Retail On Demand
Retailers, Restaurant Chains, and Hotels are tapping into on demand workers to fill gaps in shifts where coverage is needed. There are some gig workers that stitch together a full 40 hour work week “filling last minute openings to prep food, bus tables and bottle beer”. Workers and retailers even have ratings facilitated by different apps, similar to Uber and Lyft, to help quantify the employment relationship. Likewise, retailers are also building partnerships with technology platforms like Instacart, leveraging freelance shoppers to deliver groceries on demand, which has business relationships with Kroger, Albertsons, and Costco. After Amazon acquired Whole Foods the grocery industry was put on notice to be more nimble, and many grocery chains turned to technology platforms powered by the gig economy to keep up. However, not all partnerships in the gig economy work out for retailers, as evidenced by Walmart and Uber dissolving a two year partnership for grocery delivery. The good news is retailers can tap into the gig economy for employees to fill gaps, and invest in strategic partnerships. The multi-million dollar questions are: which employees and which strategic partnerships?
It’s in the Data
The answer to the questions reside in the data, which lives inside the corporate firewall and outside the corporate firewall with key partners. To properly analyze the data, retailers need to invest in an agile analytics platform which provides the following key capabilities:
- Combinations of Data: An analytics platform must be able to connect many different data sources both inside and outside of the company. Employee data will live in many places including with the technology platform, the background check services, interview notes or commentary, historical ratings for an employee, HR systems, and potentially in point of sale information.
- Robust Governance: Employee information is sensitive, so any sharing information and insights with key trading partners must be locked down so only the right people have access to the right data to make proper employment decisions.
- Storytelling: The gig economy creates cost savings opportunities. Data Storytelling is a critical component to share insights to upper management and key stakeholders for investing in the gig economy.
Retailers around the world use the Qlik Analytics Platform to drive business results. The gig economy is a natural next step for uncovering hides insights which will help your retail business increase sales performance and protect profits. I invite you to take Qlik for a test drive, and leave a 5 star rating!