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COVID-19: Retail job skills changed forever during the pandemic

Media Release

2 July, 2020

According to Karen Edbrooke, founder of Big Girls Don’t Cry Anymore (Big Girls), the future of retail has changed forever.

“We have discovered that retail jobs now require significant tech skills above most other abilities,” Edbrooke said.

“With social distancing restrictions in place, COVID-19 has pushed many Australian businesses into the world of e-commerce. And, people are shopping online more than ever.

“Our online sales have grown by over 50 percent during isolation – these numbers really surprised us! We have worked incredibly hard to increase our online services, support and marketing so that we can provide lingerie to women all over the country.

“We’ve ramped up our virtual bra fittings which are now delivered over extended hours via Skype and Facetime.   Fitting sessions are taking longer as staff now also showcase styles and different products as part of the process. Our staff need to be able to assist customers with their technology needs to ensure they are able to undertake the virtual sessions with ease.  Some of our customers are not that technology savvy and need help to work things out.

“We have increased our campaigns and communications via social media.  We have also introduced live streamed fashion parades and product forums to enable our customers to immerse themselves in our virtual showroom from the comfort of their homes.  They are able to ask questions real time.  Our Live Chat service has increased by over 100 percent.

“What we’ve found is that our retail job skills have changed significantly.  Our staff now need to be tech capable and confident working with different technology and digital platforms and programs.

“Retail jobs are no longer ‘retail jobs’.  They are tech jobs with a retail focus.  COVID-19 has changed retail forever and the skills needed to work in a retail environment.”

Big Girls is the country’s leading independent online retailer of lingerie and swimwear for women of all sizes. Founded by Edbrooke 28 years ago after she sustained serious injuries in a car accident and decided to take her career in a new direction, the company has evolved from a small shop to a huge operation that sees products shipped to every corner of the country as well as overseas.

“Due to the recent growth of online sales, we have had the pleasure of employing over fifteen new staff members over the last couple of months,” Edbrooke added.

Edbrooke now says that her ideal employee must: be IT literate, tech savvy, know how to engage with customers via Skype and other online platforms, have an outstanding understanding of social media, have an excellent typing speed, great written skills, and understand how to produce video content that stands out in the competitive retail market. In addition, she believes staff members with great online communications skills are essential for helping customers navigate this new world of e-commerce – especially during their virtual bra fittings. She suspects these skills will be desirable for most retailers moving forward.

“Jobs in retail are no longer about sales and service – they are about tech and communication,” Edbrooke said.

“Our expansion plans had been in place for a while, however COVID-19 really accelerated this process. As a team, we realised that our online services and offerings were more important than ever in this heightened time of worry and isolation. We are so thrilled that we went ahead with the expansion and will not be looking back.

“I am determined to make sure that we as a business continue to support the community during this difficult time. We are committed to continue to grow and evolve as an essential retailer for women.

“We must be one of the few retailers expanding and growing at this time – and we are really proud of this,” Edbrooke added.

This has already been a huge year of growth for Big Girls, and they’re not planning on slowing down anytime soon.

“I am really looking forward to what the rest of the year has in store for us. Our team has worked so hard to support and facilitate women’s online shopping experiences during isolation. We have expanded our virtual bra fitting service, navigated the world of Facebook and Pinterest marketing, streamed live fashion parades, and created new product and information forums for our community to engage with,” added Edbrooke.

Source: Invigorate PR.

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