Employee Retention – A Reason To Have an Amazon or eBay Store

Wingender Ecommerce ConsultingIf you’ve been debating about opening an eBay or Amazon store, here’s an additional reason you probably haven’t thought of.

There’s been much discussion over the past twenty years about retailers being open for business on major holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, the good news is that you can conduct business and generate sales on Thanksgiving even while your employees are spending the day with their families, if you operate eBay, Amazon, and other marketplace stores.

Early in my career, I worked for a company called CompUSA, as an assistant store manager. Working in Beachwood, OH, the company decided to open the stores on Thanksgiving. As the only unmarried manager, I drew the short straw. As you might expect, my staff that day wasn’t feeling very thankful. The store was not busy and I’m sure we lost money that day, even though I let a lot of my team go home early. As an aside – if your store is busy, you will quickly learn that this is prime hunting season for shoplifters. Not much of that on Amazon or eBay.

Personally, I’m dead set against working on holidays. Holidays are meant to be a celebration or remembrance of some sort. Working on Labor Day seems particularly paradoxical to me. The institution of family has taken enough hits over the past several decades; it seems to me we need to be spending more time together, not less. I also think that, for example, “x” number of televisions will be sold in any given year, no matter when they’re sold. So, being open on Thanksgiving will not result in the sale of incremental televisions. That means retailers are increasing their labor costs without really increasing sales; they’re not getting incremental sales; they’re merely cannibalizing sales that would have occurred on other days. Lastly, being open on major holidays is not a good recruiting or retention message to employees who value their familial relationships.

I have a hard time understanding people who want to shop on major holidays, but I know there are a lot of them. Retailers can still sell to this customer set by operating eBay, Amazon, or other marketplace stores, because no employees are required to facilitate these transactions, or even needed to monitor site operations. Even operating your own website still requires someone to monitor the site to ensure it is functioning properly. With an eBay store, you can ignore it completely for a few hours and still earn sales. You can also designate one or two people to monitor your eBay customer emails – from home – once or twice during the day. eBay (or Amazon, etc) does the work for you, and your employees can stay home, happily eating turkey.