DSW is piloting self-checking stands in its stores in response to hiring challenges it's having, CNN reported. The retailer hopes automation is the solution to its lack of human workers. Karen Cho, senior vice president of human resources at Designer Brands (DBI), owner of DSW, told CNN that the self-checkout test started last year to encourage social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many full-time DSW employees continued to work throughout the pandemic, but the chain is struggling with recruiting part-time employees specifically.
With self-checkout terminals, less employees are needed since one employee can monitor the self-checkout area on their own. This technology can also allow DSW to redeploy employees to other areas of need in-store, such as customer service roles on the sales floor or positions fulfilling online orders.
According to CNN, there were 965,000 open jobs in the retail sector in April, which was almost double the amount of openings compared to April 2020.
Total Retail's Take: DSW is not the only retailer having trouble recruiting new employees. It's an issue the entire retail industry is facing, and can be chalked up to a number of potential reasons, including difficulties Americans are having finding child and family care, health concerns, and expanded unemployment benefits. Other retailers such as Walmart, Target, and CVS have implemented self-checkout machines and other forms of automation even before the pandemic, and customers have grown more comfortable using this technology. Automation could be a solution for DSW if its customers are accepting of it. Furthermore, it could also save DSW money on labor costs, which is important since its parent company saw its total sales drop 36 percent in 2020 from the previous year.
Ashley Chiaradio is the Senior Content Strategist at Total Retail. Ashley has been creating content for more than 7 years, and provides a unique insight in covering the retail industry having worked directly for retailers in the past. She’s passionate about profiling women leadership in the space.