The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked many unexpected changes in the economy and the way we live our lives. At the beginning of the pandemic, jobs were lost – in April 2020, as a result of the lockdown, the unemployment rate peaked at 14.8%. But now small businesses are facing a similar yet entirely different challenge: there are millions of job openings but a shortage of workers. Read on to learn more about the labor shortage and how the right technology can help businesses not just survive but thrive.
The Labor Shortage: Facts and Figures
The current labor shortage is a historic one. According to CNBC, as of August 2021 there were 4.3 million people leaving their jobs, the highest level on records dating back to 2000. Additionally, per the most recent U.S. Labor Department Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, there were 10.4 million job openings as of August 2021.
Service-heavy industries that traditionally required abundant manual labor, like accommodation and food services, are being majorly affected by the labor shortage. That puts you, a small business owner, under pressure to pivot your operations to keep up with consumers’ needs. Read on to explore how the right technology can help your business succeed during the labor shortage and beyond.
Labor Shortage Solutions
Self-service kiosks can be extremely beneficial when your business is short-handed. A kiosk can enable your customers to take matters into their own hands (literally), avoiding potential long lines and bottlenecks.
Kiosks allow customers to order their own meal at a restaurant, check themselves in to an appointment, and check prices or pay for their own purchase at a retail shop. All the while, kiosks allow precious available staff to dedicate themselves to improving the customer experience in more worthwhile ways, like providing more personal customer service, restocking shelves, preparing online and curbside orders, and more.
In the retail and QSR space, long lines are a serious danger. According to a study conducted by payment platform Ayden, retailers lose a collective $37.7 billion in potential sales due to long checkout lines (and that figure is surely even higher now during the labor shortage).
The answer? Mobile checkouts. Instead of requiring customers to queue up at a traditional point of sale, mobile checkouts enable staff to process payments anywhere in the store or restaurant as long as they have a mobile point of sale device and a mobile receipt printer. Implementing mobile checkouts not only help your business with line-busting, but they offer a more convenient method of payment for your customers and allow staff to be out and about in the building completing other tasks while also being able to ring up sales along the way.
Now more than ever, safety and convenience are priorities in retail and hospitality environments. As businesses reopen their doors, Star is proud to offer a line of solutions and resources designed to keep consumers and employees safe and satisfied.
POS Software & Online Ordering
If there’s ever been a time to upgrade your POS software and become a part of the online ordering scene, the pandemic is it. If you're considering upgrading, be sure to choose a POS software that includes features like:
- Online and brick-and-mortar selling capabilities
- Mobile checkouts and mobile payment acceptance
- Inventory management and menu management
- Employee reporting, management, and payroll
- Customer management and loyalty programs
- Stock transfers
- Detailed reporting
Online ordering is not only widely sought after by consumers but can help you optimize your in-store and in-restaurant labor by having customers pay online and simply drop by to pick up their item or meal (or have it delivered to them). This can help keep your remaining brick-and-mortar business flowing, while allowing staff to package orders in-between ringing up customers or providing other customer support.
Antimicrobial Film Covers
Between the Delta variant and the upcoming flu season, avoiding germs is a priority for all shoppers and diners, whether they’re browsing your brick-and-mortar establishment or simply dropping by to pick up a curbside order.
Help protect your customers and staff alike by applying antimicrobial film covers (like the ones from Star) to various surfaces in your store. Antimicrobial covers take seconds to apply, last up to 6 months, and can be placed on anything from door handles and checkout counters to restaurant tables and bathroom surfaces. Additionally, the covers provided by Star are thoroughly tested, EPA-compliant, and latex-free.
The Labor Shortage: A Trying Time, but Also a Time to Improve
The labor shortage is without a doubt one of the most stressful times the retail and restaurant industries have endured in recent years. However, the technology needed to help businesses through this challenge should be considering an investment in long-term success. Solutions like self-service kiosks, mobile checkouts, top-of-the-line POS software, and antimicrobial covers help you survive the now – and thrive in the tomorrow.
From antimicrobial film covers to mobile receipt printers, Star has the right POS technology to boost your business – whether you’re fully staffed or short-handed.
Disclaimer: NeverGerms® makes no claims regarding the safety or health of the general public or those interacting with its products. “NeverGerms®” and “Touch Less Germs®” are registered trademarks and not intended to have literal interpretation. NeverGerms products are manufactured by NeverGerms and distributed by Star Micronics. Although these products are designed to reduce microbe populations on commonly-utilized surfaces and have been tested by the manufacturer for their antimicrobial properties, Star Micronics cannot guarantee that they will eliminate all risk of germ, including virus, transfer from such surfaces. Star Micronics, as distributor, relies entirely upon claims made by manufacturer as supported by prior research. For further information, please visit www.nevergerms.com.
Heidi Orpilla is the Digital Content Specialist at Star Micronics where she creates and manages content for Star’s blog, social media, website, products, and more. Heidi has a passion for writing and has worked in the B2B marketing space for over five years. Prior to working at Star, Heidi worked at a large reseller for six years.