Last year proved to be a banner year for e-commerce, and the trend is likely to extend into 2021. Virus-related concerns and shuttering of retail storefronts continue to fuel the dominance of online retail and retailers can expect to feel the impact of the COVID-19 crisis for years to come.

The global health crisis drove consumers to embrace online shopping with vigor and changed consumer behavior, expectations, and priorities. Retailers have responded by rolling out new technologies, apps, and business models to meet demand. As quickly as the word “contactless” became mainstream, successful retailers managed to pivot and avoid costly disruption.

As we usher in the new year, retail companies must remain nimble to keep up with new and emerging trends. They must acquire skilled employees who are capable of developing, managing, and overseeing new systems, processes, technologies, and business models. With eSkill’s pre-employment testing platform, human resources (HR) professionals can implement a systematic, streamlined, and data-driven approach to hiring candidates with the exact skill sets they will need in 2021. Here is a look at how the top retail trends of 2021 are reshaping the skills retailers need.

Fulfillment Hubs Eclipse Storefronts

If the C-suite was not already convinced that a sudden spike in online shopping would elicit serious challenges, they got the message loud and clear courtesy of COVID-19 and the 2020 holiday shopping season. And these challenges will have lasting repercussions well into 2021 and beyond.

As leased storefronts underperform due to a lack of foot traffic, a growing number of retailers are planning to convert them into fulfillment centers. As the trend of transforming storefronts and shopping centers into mini-distribution centers gains momentum, retailers need to secure skilled talent to keep pace.

eSkill’s innovative skills testing solutions enable retail businesses to rapidly identify individuals with the competencies required to staff and oversee fulfillment centers. Retailers can select and auto-send job-relevant skills tests to obtain an objective analysis of candidates’ skills and aptitude.

eSkill’s wide range of job-specific employment assessment tests for the distribution and logistics industries include:

  • Transportation, Storage, & Distribution Manager Skills Test
  • Supply Chain Coordinator Skills Test
  • Logistics Specialist Skills Test
  • Safety Coordinator Skills Test
  • Warehouse Worker Skills Test
  • Pick and Pack Skills Test
  • Warehouse Supervisor Skills Test
  • Delivery Driver Skills Test 

With brick-and-mortar locations becoming fulfillment centers, retailers have become positioned to cut costs by taking on last-mile delivery. Last-mile delivery is the final step in the shipping process. It is the final link in the shipping and delivery journey when a package arrives on a customer’s doorstep. It is also the most expensive and time-consuming part of the shipping process. As a result, retail businesses have begun developing new models for this stage of the delivery process. Whether a company chooses to leverage gig workers to deliver packages or builds an in-house delivery service, eSkill’s Delivery Driver Skills Test is ideal for selecting workers who are capable of handling the task.

Online Shopping Gets Personal

Video conferencing apps have already gone mainstream in the business world. And now, retailers are recognizing the value of video chat as a consultation and sales tool. Whether a consumer is buying a car, appliances, or furniture, offering the option to connect virtually with a product expert or sales associate is convenient for customers.

In a time when social distancing is a way of life, online video consultations enable salespeople to walk consumers through features and functions in a demo, share product videos, and build trust with face-to-face interaction. As the pandemic continues, this trend will gain traction with retailers as an effective sales model.

Hiring individuals and identifying existing salespeople with the skills to leverage videoconferencing tools is critical to the successful implementation of this sales model. eSkill’s Videoconference Communication and Etiquette Skills Test is a skill-specific test that evaluates test-takers’ proficiency level navigating and leveraging the software. On eSkill’s user-friendly platform, HR professionals can easily combine this test with the Retail Sales Associate Skill Test to create a comprehensive evaluation of all the skills needed to succeed in this type of role.

Continued Demand for Contactless Shopping

As the surge in online spending shows, consumers have become quite comfortable with contactless shopping. In response, many retailers are planning to replace in-store touch screens, credit card PIN pads, and other touch media with contactless interfaces that rely on voice, proximity, and gesture. A contactless curbside pickup app that uses GPS technology to notify workers a customer has arrived is just one example of this emerging trend. With contactless shopping expected to grow and continue well past 2021, retailers need employees capable of implementing, maintaining, and monitoring novel technology tools.

eSkill’s extensive catalog of IT skills tests enables HR teams to streamline hiring for advanced IT positions. Mobile Device Management Administrator Skills Test, Application Security Engineer Skills Test, and Systems Integration Engineer Skills Test are just a few of the IT employment assessment tests available on eSkill’s pre-employment testing platform.

Retail and warehouse companies also need employees who can troubleshoot technical issues and collaborate effectively with team members. From basic customer support to troubleshooting advanced technology issues and configuring software and hardware, eSkill’s IT Support Skills Tests assess candidates’ ability to perform a wide range of tasks that will keep retailers moving forward. 

The rapid increase in online shopping, the fast-paced deployment of curbside pickup, the race toward contactless payments, and the endless flurry of apps created to enable all these changes are just the beginning. In an increasingly tech-driven world, skilled IT professionals are a must in any retail organization.

As retailers quickly up their e-commerce and distribution game, securing top talent is critical. eSkill’s intuitive skills testing platform provides HR leaders with the tools they need to select highly-skilled individuals capable of taking them to the next level.

Interested in Skills Tests to Hire Top Talent for Your Retail Organization?

Learn more about the benefits of using eSkill’s customizable skills tests, behavioral assessments, and on-demand video interviewing platform to find qualified candidates quickly.

Request a demo today.

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