Suppose you’ve purchased something at Walmart recently. In that case, you may have noticed more employees snaking through aisles, picking items off shelves to be delivered and carrying blue tote bins, either curbside at stores or to the customer’s address.
These employees are known as personal shoppers- and their numbers are skyrocketing. Walmart (WMT) says it now has more than 175,000 of these workers in stores. The number is more than Macy’s entire workforce and double the number in the last year.
A surge in online shopping is anticipated to permanently alter the retail workforce as huge chains turn their stores into storages to deliver digital orders. Jobs committed to online fulfilment are barely a new concept. But now, they’re becoming universal.
Stores from Bed Bath & Beyond to Target are adding similar positions to personal shoppers to keep up with Amazon. Substituting their stores as warehouses allows them to save on shipping costs and get orders faster.
This means that Walmart, already the most prominent retailer globally, with approximately 1.7 million workers, needs to hire staff. It is willing to pay higher wages for it. The personal shopper job starts at more than $14 an hour, higher than it’s $11 minimum wage. The position also involves workers who assemble customers’ orders and tow them out to cars.
When Drew Board begin his career as a personal shopper last year, his store in Salisbury, Carolina will deliver up to 100 online orders a day. Now it is up to 220 orders. The 23-year-old Board, who is affiliated with United for Respect, said: “The surge in orders has led to more heavy lifting, which has burdened him because it’s a very physical job.” Additionally, he said, the store is not adequately staffed, so that increases the problems.