Retail Online Trading

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THE IMPACT OF ONLINE TRADING
UNDERSTANDING ITS EFFECTS ON OCCUPATIONS AND SKILLS WITHIN THE UK’S CONSUMER FACING BUSINESS SECTORS

JULY 2008

A RESEARCH REPORT COMMISSIONED BY THE SKILLS FOR BUSINESS NETWORK WITH SKILLSMART RETAIL, E-SKILLS UK, FINANCIAL SERVICES SKILLS COUNCIL, GOSKILLS, PEOPLE 1ST AND SKILLSET

PREPARED BY IFF RESEARCH LIMITED
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CONTACT DETAILS
Ian Wheeler Skillsmart Retail ltd 4th Floor 93 Newman Street London W1T 3TD Telephone +44(0)20 7462 5060 Fax +44(0)20 7462 5061 E-mail Website ian.wheeler@skillsmartretail.com

www.skillsmartretail.com

FOREWORD

Online retailing, its growth and possible future trends have captured the imaginations of a wide range of commentators. Much of their debate has focused on how consumers now access a range of services online that they previously accessed via other channels; now more than ever, booking travel, managing our finances, gambling, downloading films and other leisure activities are all increasingly done online. But while this movement online has been widely documented, its effects on workforces has not. As Sector Skills Councils we (SSCs) are determined to understand and address future skills and productivity challenges, meaning that understanding online trading is essential. This is why six SSCs; GoSkills, People 1st, Skillsmart Retail, Skillset, e-skills UK and the Financial Services Skills Council, have worked together to understand how online trading is changing working patterns in a wide range of consumer facing sectors. Using in-depth interviews with industry experts and employers, this is the first study of its kind conducted in the United Kingdom. It focuses on how organisations have begun to restructure to exploit the full potential that online trading offers. Furthermore it explores how traditional job roles are being challenged and how new roles are emerging. Many of those working today will see their job roles requiring new and exciting combinations of skills. Already, the findings of this research are helping us work with our employers to we have the world-class skills needed by the UK. We are delighted to present them together in this report.

Anne Seaman, Skillsmart Retail

Karen Price, e-skills UK

Brian Wisdom, People 1st

Peter Huntington, GoSkills

Dina Collins, Skillset

Teresa Sayers, Financial Services

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 1  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ..................................................................................... 7  SKILLS TRENDS IN ENABLING SECTORS ................................................................................................ 7  SKILLS TRENDS IN CONSUMER FACING ENTERPRISES ........................................................................... 8 



INTRODUCTION, BACKGROUND AND METHODOLOGY ............................... 9  Methodological approach ........................................................................................................... 10  Structure of the report ................................................................................................................ 10 



THE ‘ENABLERS’ ............................................................................................. 12  How the enablers help other businesses to trade online ....................................................... 12  How the online offer has become more sophisticated ............................................................ 14  Drivers behind sophistication: customer expectations and maximising business benefit 15  Changing team structures .......................................................................................................... 17  In-house or outsource? .............................................................................................................. 18  Current and future skills needs ................................................................................................. 19  Employer response to changing...
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