Hermes is expanding its workforce following a spike in online retail during the Covid-19 lockdown, while the Federation of Independent Retailers has worked with Jisp and Scandit to develop an app that allows hands-free shopping, home delivery and in-store collection
Delivery company Hermes is creating more than 10,000 new roles in the UK in response to the shift online.
The company is to hire 9,000 new couriers and 1,500 full-time staff, who would work at its warehouses or its Yorkshire head office. This is part of a £100m investment in the UK business as Hermes expands its capacity in order to adapt to shoppers’ new eagerness to buy online.
Martijn de Lange, chief executive of Hermes UK, said: “The pandemic has expedited the already phenomenal growth of online shopping and we see no sign of this changing. As a result, it is important that we have the right infrastructure and people in place to support this. This is good news for the many people who have sadly had their income affected and we are pleased to be able to support the UK economy with so many jobs at this time.”
Hermes’ move comes as ecommerce purchases spiked during lockdown, and research suggests that more shoppers will now continue to shop online while staying wary of high street visits.
Joe Farrell, VP of international operations at ecommerce company PFS, said the news highlighted the change in shopping habits following the pandemic. As consumers have become more accustomed to shopping online, they are unlikely to return to the brick and mortar high street. PFS’ research has found 60% purchased more online during the lockdown and 77% will continue to do so afterwards.
“However, our latest research has also revealed that a new ‘conscious consumer’ has emerged following the lockdown, as over a third of consumers say they are now more conscious of the impact their shopping habits have on the environment. In fact, 73% said they expect online retailers and brands to use recyclable packaging or minimise their use of packaging. Retailers must be aware that consumers will turn away from those retailers that act unethically. Now more than ever, they must consider how products reach customers and ensure it meets their expectations.”
Convenience shops will be able to use a new ‘scan and go’ app to offer their customers the same digital shopping experiences that larger retailers offer.
The Federation of Independent Retailers has worked with Jisp and Scandit to develop the app, which enables corner shops and other convenience stores to give shoppers the option of scanning purchases to buy instead of queuing at tills, as well as supporting home delivery and click and collect. The aim now is to roll this out to 500 independent retailers by the end of the year, starting with the Hightown Convenience Store in Congleton, Cheshire where shoppers who have downloaded the app will scan a QR code Jisp’s payment pod at the store entrance before scanning items that they pick up in the shop and then scanning the final QR code once more at the pod to complete the sale.
Steve Archer, who runs the Hightown Convenience Store, said: “Local retailers have played a significant role in serving their communities during lockdown. The fact that our customers will now be able to simply scan and go in my store, means that we can offer our customers an even safer environment.
“Purely and simply, this technology levels the playing field. My store will be offering something that has previously only been available at the big supermarkets. So now we can show people we are positively enhancing our offering and it allows my little shop to compete with the big boys.”
Paul Davis, vice president of sales at Scandit, said: ‘Independent retailers have always understood the value of convenience, but providing it has become harder in today’s digital-first environment. However, by embedding high-performance scanning technology into a mobile shopping app, stores can deliver the fast, frictionless service their customers have come to expect."