When California voted to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 earlier this year, it became the first to mandate that amount and began a tidal wave of public attention on other states and cities to follow suit, including the state of New York and Washington, D.C. A stream of other states and cities are also considering a similar increase.
In California alone, this increase will affect approximately 6.5 million workers – the 43 percent of the state’s workforce that earns less than $15 per hour. In light of these minimum wage increases, retailers will be forced to make some tough decisions.
“Critics of the minimum wage increase say higher wages will force retailers into a tough spot — either downsizing staff or raising prices on products,” according to Taylor Knight for My Total Retail. “It might be difficult to increase employee wages, especially for small business owners still trying to get their feet on the ground. The subsequent move might be to increase the prices of the products they sell in order to recoup the money spent on higher employee wages.”
While retailers will certainly have to make changes in order to stay compliant with minimum wage increases and stay in the black, there are ways to optimize labor so that you’re making the most of the hours your employees are paid for.
Retail automation solutions allow you to reallocate your staff’s time to where it counts – face to face with your customers. When your employees are getting paid more per hour, you can’t afford to have any of those hours wasted. Instead of allowing laborious manual tasks and reporting to monopolize employees’ time, implement a retail automation solution to streamline operations and redirect that time to customer-facing or revenue-generating activity, such as improving throughput at registers, fulfilling omnichannel orders, or assisting customers with a purchase on the floor. Automating procedures also eliminates costly manual errors and minimizes cash exposure, further protecting your bottom line.
No matter what the minimum wage is (or is soon to be) where you do business, you can benefit from employees spending less time on bookkeeping tasks and more time with customers and improving sales. It’s time to examine your processes and policies so you’re prepared by the time minimum wage increases become reality.