Source: Philadelphia Business Journal, Michelle Caffery
A King of Prussia-based e-commerce technology and operations company is launching a nationwide push to fill 20,000 seasonal jobs in time for the holiday shopping season.
Radial, which formed earlier this year through the merger of eBay Enterprises and e-commerce company Innotrac, operates 26 fulfillment centers throughout the country and will go into overdrive from mid-November to just before Christmas, said its Chief Strategy Officer Stefan Weitz.
The job boost won’t be coming to the Philadelphia area. The bulk of the positions, centered on picking and packing products, are aimed at staffing Radial’s warehouses in states like Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Nevada.
The hiring spree might not supply workers in the region with seasonal work, but Weitz said it stems from Radial’s own growth. The 20,000 job fulfillment goal is at least 5,000 more than last year, he said, an increase of about 35 percent. Its permanent warehouse staff numbers about 7,000 and about 600 employees work at its headquarters operating its technology and customer relations.
Demand for e-commerce service, and especially seasonal workers, is swelling because Radial’s commercial partners are seeing a similar rise in online purchasing activity, said Weitz.
“Our retailers that we work with are projecting an increase in sales. We’ve just seen year over year that this industry is seeing more e-commerce as people enjoy the convenience of shopping online,” said Weitz.
More specifically, people expect the same kind of ease of ordering, quick delivery and responsive customer service that they get from other major online retailers like Amazon, he said. The big problem is that creating and funding those kinds of high-level operations is costly, said Weitz. Which is where he said Radial steps in.
“We give brands and retailers the ability to offer Amazon-like customer service at a price they can afford,” he said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, total e-commerce shipment and sales revenue in the retail trade sector increased by 14.3 percent from 2013 to 2014, the most recent year for which data was available. News reports nationwide have highlighted individual retailers opening distribution warehouses in areas like Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, but Weitz said their targeted customers don’t include major players, like Walmart, that have more than $1 billion in online sales.
Many big-to-mega retailers are making the transition to in-house e-commerce or has already established a system. They instead markets to companies posting annual sales between $20 million to $300 million, said Weitz. Kate Spade, Dick’s Sporting Goods, DSW, Toys R Us and Petsmart are their clients, and Weitz said they’re expanding their target to a wider range in the mid-market.
Those companies enlist Radial to take the bulk of the workload off their backs, as Radial hard work encompasses the entire online shopping process, from the software that allows customers to purchase items to the human capital, real estate and distribution network that transports the goods to customers, he said.
“We handle the entire customer experience for the retailer, everything from taking the order, figuring out where to ship it from, actually doing the shopping and doing the customer service on that end to make sure customers are delighted,” said Weitz, who’s been on board at Radial for about six months after coming from Microsoft. The bulk of Radial’s online commerce capabilities was based in its former life as eBay Enterprise, which eBay sold for $925 million to a private equity consortium. Since then, Weitz said they’ve “been on a growth spurt.”