Should Bloomingdale’s sales associates receive commissions for online sales?
Bloomingdale’s workers last week held a rally outside the upscale chain’s 59th Street flagship in New York City and are threatening to go on strike in part because they feel they’re not getting fairly compensated for online sales.
The union claims the workers aren’t compensated at all for in-store customer service that leads to online sales. They also aren’t compensated for any BOPIS exchanges that take them away from a potential commission-driven sale on the selling floor.
A sales clerk at the flagship told CBS News she’s now earning 20 percent less annually versus five years ago due to increased online sales.
Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, representing about 2,000 workers at the store, suggests in-store associates could get a cut of sales sold online from their department. The union is also urging Bloomingdale’s, which is owned by Macy’s, to figure out some way to track and compensate offline’s impact on online revenue.
“I am sure the company can work on a tracking system,” Chelsea Connor, a spokesperson told CNN. “There’s technology for everything.”
“It’s more important than ever that Bloomingdale’s ensures a positive in-store experience that translates to online sales,” said union president Stuart Appelbaum, according to Racked.com. “The workers here create the mystique for the Bloomingdale’s brand that transcends the brick-and-mortar stores.”
The union claims Bloomingdale’s workers are paid almost entirely on commission, but management says the company has a variety of pay structures. According to the Daily News, Bloomingdale’s spokeswoman Anne Keating said commissions tied to online sales don’t appear to be “feasible” given the challenges tracking online sales.
The workers’ contract expires May 1. Also being negotiated are commissions for returned items, fair wages, scheduling protections and health care coverage.
Retailers are apparently still trying to tackle the challenge of awarding omnichannel attribution for associates. Some have suggested offering incentives to in-store staff for supporting shopper behaviors such as BOPIS and using the store for online fulfillment. Last year, some Canadian retailers explored allocating commissions from online sales to store personnel near the shopper’s residence.
- Bloomingdale’s Workers Demand a Fair Contract – Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
- Bloomingdale’s store clerks demand commissions for online sales – CNNMoney
- Bloomingdale’s workers rally in NYC to demand contract that includes online sales commissions, other benefits – New York Daily News
- Retail Workers Fight to Get a Cut in the Era of E-Commerce – Racked.com
- At this retailer, store clerks demand to be paid for online sales – CBS News
- Store fulfillment is creating associate tension – RetailWire
- How should commissions work in the era of omnichannel retailing? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should in-store staff be compensated for supporting online sales? Do the technologies exist to enable companies to track online sales stemming from an individual sale associate? If not, do you see them on the horizon?