- Walmart has recalibrated its holiday strategy for a season dominated by COVID-19 fears.
- A surge in online demand has prompted the company to look to hire 20,000 seasonal employees.
- The company has also already begun to roll out in-store and e-commerce deals, as safety measures will likely prevent large Black Friday crowds.
- “We’ve heard from our customers that many plan on starting their holiday shopping well before Black Friday,” Walmart US Chief Merchandising Officer Scott McCall said in a statement.
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Walmart is expanding its holiday capabilities by hiring 20,000 e-commerce warehouse workers and rolling out “hot holiday deals” in September.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced retailers like Walmart to reckon with unforeseen challenges. Consumers are more reliant on online shopping than ever, and traditional shopping events like Black Friday are no longer possible due to safety risks.
In preparation for the holidays, Walmart is boosting inventory in electronics and toys, as well as products that speak to the “new normal” during the coronavirus pandemic. The company cited consumer data indicating that Walmart shoppers “plan to seek out deals and great prices earlier this year to better prepare for the holiday season”
Walmart also announced that its Black Friday deals will be spread “throughout the season.”
“We’ve heard from our customers that many plan on starting their holiday shopping well before Black Friday, and that they’re looking for gifts that fit their current lifestyle,” Scott McCall, Walmart US chief merchandising officer, said in a statement. “So, we’ve adjusted our strategy to adapt to these new shopping preferences — we’re offering more of what they want now, earlier than ever, and all at the best prices.”
And Walmart’s latest hiring spree is a bid to ensure that these products will get to consumers in a timely fashion.
Walmart’s 20,000 open e-commerce warehouse jobs come with a starting hourly wage of $15.75, and the company said it will schedule shifts “as quickly as 48 hours from applying” for certain workers. After January 1, 2021, Walmart said that some seasonal workers will have the opportunity to convert to permanent employees.
During the pandemic, consumers’ increased focus on e-commerce has prompted Walmart to “want to ensure we’re staffed and ready to help deliver that special gift to their loved ones while continuing to fulfill our customer’s everyday needs,” Supply Chain Executive Vice President Greg Smith said in a statement.
The holiday hiring spree is just the company’s latest bid to shore up its massive workforce during the pandemic. Walmart has hired more than 500,000 new workers since March, for both in-store and warehouse roles.