Flatlining Payroll: How Retailers Cope with Fluctuating Sales Volume

Flatlining Payroll: How Retailers Cope with Fluctuating Sales Volume

In the world of retail, each month is likely to bring a significant variation in the rise and fall of sales. The most notable of those fluctuations is during the holiday season, but there are also increases in months that offer friends and family promotions, and decreases in months like January as a result of high holiday spending in previous months.

For retail department stores, staffing to these highs and lows can present a serious operational challenge. If they increase staff during peak sales periods, they often are paying for a surplus of staff when sales slow down. If they lay off staff to help better manage budgets, then they may not have the help they need for the busier months or for unexpected rises in sales.

Having extra staff on hand can be beneficial for the store, but can be detrimental for the bottom line. For most companies, there is a baseline of hours promised to employees, such as 20, 30 or 40 hours per week. And it isn’t just the hourly rate that factors into employee costs to the store, but the benefit load that generally includes employment insurance, health insurance, vacation pay, sick pay and other benefits. Additionally, when an employee who has several job functions is busy, sometimes one of the job functions is neglected. Often, this is the packing and shipping function because they are told that customer service comes first.

Typical fluctuation of sales and employee staffing


So how can retailers balance staffing needs and costs with ever fluctuating sales volume?

While there are many parts of retail operations that cannot easily flex to the volume, the packing and shipping function can do just that with the help of outside vendors like Wrap & Send Services. Wrap & Send is a company that provides in-house packing and shipping departments for retailers to help combat the ongoing battle between staffing/costs and sales volume.

The packing and shipping department is key to a retailer’s omni-channel strategy and should be a focal point rather than an additional task for a sales associate. As noted above, this is something that is often neglected in typical store operations, resulting in late deliveries, sloppy packaging, and broken or lost merchandise.

Wrap & Send provides retailers with a simple and manageable solution: it charges retailers by the number of packages that are sent out, rather than employees’ hourly rates plus benefits, which streamlines expense flows with volume for the employer. Essentially, retailers only pay for the work that needs to be done and not employee downtime. Wrap & Send can easily shift from low volume to high volume while maintaining the retailer’s packaging standards and getting every package out same-day when received by 2 p.m.

Typical fluctuation of sales with Wrap & Send Services


Today, omni-channel marketing is a key strategy for many major national and international retailers. This has led customers to expect the same experience and the same inventory whether they shop in-store, online, through social media or on their mobile device. Developing a packaging and shipping strategy, like utilizing Wrap & Send Services, can be vital to delivering products on-time and on budget for retailers.

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