By: Matt Ingold

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May 3rd, 2018

Finding the Right Retail Scheduling Platform

Human Capital Management | Employee Scheduling

There are a number of challenges that retailers face when scheduling employees.

  • Finding substitutes for last-minute cancellations
  • Avoiding over or under-staffing
  • Managing a high industry turnover rate

Finding the right scheduling tool for your retail business can be a challenge. When looking for your best fit retail scheduling platform, here are a few considerations.

1. Do you employ full or part time students?

According to research, “The retail industry has more than twice the number of young workers than the national average (roughly 30 percent versus 14 percent for workers under 25 years old) and 58 percent of these workers are part-time employees.” Because of retail's high-demand for part-time workers it draws a number of students with part-time availability.

Students that are part-time retail employees need to build their work schedules around their classes, and need a way communicate periods of unavailability to their employers. These periods of unavailability can be dynamic, changing when new class schedules start and stop.

Allowing employees to set their work time availability will reduce the chance of last-minute cancellations or turnover due to lack of a flexible work schedule. A retail scheduling platform that allows employees to set worktime availability is essential.

2. Could employees work at multiple retail sites—A.K.A. floating locations?

While employees certainly have their primary store, regional promotions can cause a customer surge at a specific branch, requiring employees to float from their home location to another to meet the demand.

When floating employees from a home branch to another location, one must consider:

  • the driving distance for employees from their home to the new location
  • whether employees have their own transportation, or are they reliant on public transportation
  • how often employees will be floating from their home branch

Floating can be chaotic for employees, so having a scheduling platform that allows you to control which employees are available to float and the locations for which they are able to be scheduled can help managers staff appropriately with minimal disruption to their workforce.

3. Are you staffing based on dynamic customer traffic?

Keeping overhead low and avoiding overstaffing is essential to profitability in retail, and fluctuations in foot-traffic can make it difficult to staff accurately. Seasonal-changes, local festivals, weather, and marketing promotions are a few of the many variables that can lead to an unexpected surge or decline in customer traffic.

As retail management gets better over time at forecasting foot traffic, these traffic forecasts drive staffing loads for future schedules. By creating staffing templates based on a range of foot traffic (ie. 1-6 customers per hour means scheduling one sales associate, 7-12 means scheduling two sales associates, and so on), managers can develop schedules that are subject to customer traffic forecasts. Continued refinement reduces the risk of over or under staffing, better optimizing sales and profitability.

If you have dynamic schedules based on fluctuating customer foot traffic, a retail scheduling platform that allows you to load daily forecast data and auto-generate optimal shifts will help keep labor costs down.

This also helps to foster a mindset amongst store managers to be observant of those market variables (on both a global and local level) that will influence foot traffic and optimal staffing. Providing managers with such a tool makes it easier to create incentive programs for optimizing labor and reaching target Sales Per Labor Hours (SPLH) ratios. 

4. Would allowing employees to swap shifts help with engagement and retention?

Today’s workforce wants greater flexibility when it comes to their work schedules. One way of delivering flexibility is through employee initiated shift swaps. If this is a practice that would fit your business and employee population, there are a few considerations:

  • Would you be ok with employees swapping shifts on their own, or do you still require manager approval?
  • Do you have shifts that are only available to employees with a specific skill or credential?
  • Do you want to avoid shift swaps that will result in overtime pay?
  • Do you have a workforce that is accustomed to mobile technology?

With shift swapping, managers can extend greater schedule flexibility to employees without assuming the increased administrative burden of manually managing shift-changes. Choosing a retail scheduling platform that manages the entire shift swap process through a mobile app keeps things simple and easy.

Looking for a better employee retail scheduling solution? Check out our article, 10 Questions to Consider When Reviewing Employee Scheduling Software.

 About Benetech HCM and Employee Scheduling Software

Benetech is a business administration and management firm specializing in employee benefits and human capital management. Located outside of Albany, NY Benetech helps mid-market employers simplify employee benefits and HCM through a unified service team and integrated technology.

Benetech offers a stand-alone employee scheduling software, with options for integrated time-tracking, HRIS, performance management, and payroll applications. To learn more about Bentech's scheduling software, contact us for a free assessment and demo.

Learn more about Benetech's  Employee Scheduling Software


About Matt Ingold

Matt serves as Benetech's Director of Business Development. He helps employers reduce the cost of personnel management, and discover where improved talent management can give their business a competitive advantage.

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