While the labor shortage continues to disrupt industries nationwide, retailers and CPGs are exceptionally affected by this issue as many are struggling to retain and attract hourly workers. In response, some CPG brands are turning to hire temp workers from traditional agencies to help with deliveries, stocking shelves and inventory management. However, when it comes to the labor shortage, these temporary staffing agencies are suffering all the same. Meanwhile, other companies are powering a flexible workforce of gig workers to execute meaningful work for brands to merchandise their products and capture sales.
A Call for Dynamic Solutions
To fully understand the potential of what this dynamic solution has to offer, it’s important to understand the challenge at hand. There has been what can only be described as a “perfect storm” of factors that have led to the need for this type of flexible, on-demand workforce.
Beginning in March 2020 and continuing to this day, the needs and wants of consumers have fluctuated, often causing significant rise and fall in demand for a variety of products. Combine this with in the rise of e-commerce picked up from the store and delays in the supply chain, resulting in vast shortages of products in stores, further compounded by a massive labor shortage — leaving grocery and retail industries struggling to retain workers, let alone have the capacity to provide additional support to merchandise and promote products on the shelf.
As a result of this “perfect storm,” conventional methods of merchandise management have been rendered outdated, and the need for modern solutions to help maintain on-shelf availability (OSA) and merchandising has sped up.
Using the Gig Economy
For all these challenges facing CPG brands, there is a solution: embracing the gig economy and, in tandem, incorporating dynamic merchandising in their planning. By heading down this path, CPG bands can:
- Ensure visibility. If the product cannot be seen, it cannot be sold. By utilizing gig workers, CPG companies can keep shelves stocked with their products (even during a pandemic, supply chain issues and a labor shortage) with an on-demand, audited workforce. This helps address out-of-stock-induced loss of sales.
- Increase flexibility. Unlike traditional merchandising services that represent multiple brands and visit stores on predetermined schedules, dynamic merchandising services can be called upon at short notice to undertake specific in-store activities in response to immediate needs. This can include closing voids, placing point of sale material, running product demos and more.
- Enable impulsivity. The high-traffic locations in stores where the most impulse purchases are made (the point of purchase) are competitive real estate. But, by deploying dynamic merchandising teams to install intuitive secondary displays near checkout lanes, a CPG can gain a stronger retail presence.
- Embrace adaptability. Being able to adapt to changing market conditions and shopper behaviors is now more critical than ever. By garnering the ability to fulfill hyper-local activities with precision and measurement, brands can equip themselves with the right set of tools and resources to win at the right store at the right time.
By embracing gig work as part of their merchandising strategy, CPGs have an opportunity to directly address the issues that have been affecting one of the most important parts of business: their presence in the shopper’s on shelf experience.