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Opinion Piece: Tackling the Black Friday frenzy – a TES provider is an indispensable ally in retail

By Lucinda Alfonica, Regional Legal Manager at Workforce Staffing

Black Friday, which marks the beginning of peak season, often results in something of an intense shopping frenzy, and retailers need to be prepared to cater for the additional demand. The challenge, however, is that after the season is over, retailers no longer need as many staff, especially during the mid-year slump. So how do you cater for the added pressures of peak season in a cost-effective and flexible way, and scale back when demand abates? A Temporary Employment Services (TES) provider can be an indispensable ally for retail businesses looking to not only survive but thrive through this high-demand period.

Black Friday is only the beginning

The mega retail event that is Black Friday has become increasingly popular in the past few years, kickstarting the peak shopping season in South Africa, followed by the festive season and Christmas, back to school, Valentine’s Day and then Easter. Retailers see increased demand for everything, from electronics to alcohol, food to stationery, across both online and in-store sales, and keeping up with this demand means all hands on deck.

Apart from the hurdle of heightened demand, it’s frequently challenging to anticipate the precise level of demand in advance, creating complexity in scaling the workforce. As demand subsides, maintaining permanent employment is generally impractical, making TES providers a revolutionary option for businesses aiming to flourish in such peak-demand periods.

The TES advantage

A suitable TES partner will possess the expertise and proficiency to deliver labour during peak seasons and high-demand periods. Their seasoned workforce excels under pressure, meeting targets and deadlines to serve customers, reduce production errors and delays, and ensure timely deliveries. This results in optimum sales for retailers and satisfied customers who will bring their business back time and again.

A reputable TES will have a vast database of experienced workers across all industries and can supply the right staff at the right time throughout the retail value chain, from the manufacturing of goods, down to picking, packing, dispatching and delivering the goods on Black Friday and beyond. They will also handle all the administrative, HR and IR matters for TES workers, and with a large pool of backups to cater for unseen events, retailers can focus on ensuring optimum sales without worrying about staff shortages that could affect their production and deliveries. For added value, a TES partner can also deal with transport, training and other related matters that may arise.

Benefits for all

TES providers deliver benefits not only for retailers but for the staff they offer employment to as well. Employees gain valuable experience while working during peak demands, learning how to cope with high levels of pressure to meet their deadlines. They also learn about time management and improving performance to meet targets. For customers, this means that the shopping experience is smooth sailing during this peak season, which otherwise can be both stressful and frustrating. This increases customer satisfaction, in turn improving retailers’ bottom line.

To handle the demand of peak shopping season, retailers should partner with a reputable TES partner that can source and provide qualified and experienced staff temporarily to meet the increased demand. A TES partner will also enable them to scale back down as demand slows, meeting the variable requirements of retail with ease and allowing retailers to focus on their core business without worrying about right-sizing their staff component.