Scaling Ecommerce Businesses with Temporary Labor

April 5, 2022

Are you an ecommerce entrepreneur finding yourself in countless situations where there is simply just not enough of you? With the high demand on your time and energy that comes from a growing business, you might be wondering how you can create more leverage to juggle all your tasks. Before you panic, let us share a great option to get the extra help you need, when you need it. On-demand labor is a model that can help small and growing businesses access an extra workforce only when needed. Through this model, entrepreneurs can meet business demand while saving money by leveraging a temporary logistics workforce. This strategy empowers your budding ecommerce business to reduce the cost of guesswork and respond promptly to fluctuations in demand.

What challenges does Temporary Labor resolve?

Many small ecommerce businesses resort to guesswork when planning capacity. Although advanced prediction technologies exist, it’s difficult to overcome some amount of uncertainty. Additionally, most small ecommerce businesses consist of solopreneurs or small teams and often lack the resources to hire full-time labor to respond to spikes in demand. Therefore, there is an ongoing concern about having the manpower to respond to changes in demand.

Luckily, on-demand labor can assist your business in resolving this issue. With access to a temporary labor pool, your business keeps going with the minimum number of full-timers. This way, your small ecommerce business can maximize its resources while keeping up with fluctuations in demand. If an issue with current full-time workers arises, you can easily pull from the on-demand reservoir to bridge the gaps.

How does on-demand labor work?

The temporary labor model helps you connect with extra workers to help in meeting the demands for big orders. The hiring company (you) only signs a temporary contract with the on-demand workers, for a few hours, days or weeks depending on their need.

With this model, you advertise a work opportunity, qualified persons bid the chance, and you pick the best bidders. Businesses using this model lower their costs by retaining fewer full-timers. Furthermore, when your full-timers cannot attend their shifts, temporary labor lets you keep up with your business goals.

Once you’ve determined who to offer the assignment to, the temporary workers will come during the agreed time, do their assignment and leave once the job is completed.

Saltbox eForce loading boxes. Source: Saltbox.

Here are the main benefits of using on-demand or temporary labor for your business:

1. Access to professional and vetted labor

Building a logistics workforce is a challenging process, and it can be difficult to gauge qualified and trustworthy job applicants. Building a team through temporary labor enables you to access a pool of professionals pre-vetted by the platform you’re using. Companies also review workers and leave comments, so you can confidently screen for both experience and review quality to select a temporary worker perfect for your needs.

2. Prompt response to demand

Outfitting your business to meet fluctuations in demand can be tough for most businesses. As a remedy to the challenge, most businesses resort to overtime or recruiting more workers, which aren't the best options. Having access to temporary labor to respond to the sudden demand is the better option and allows you to pay for work only when it is needed.

3. No intermediary commitment is needed

Most staffing platforms need commitment amounts for using their solutions. On the other hand, on-demand labor platforms enable you to post an opportunity when you require temporary labor. Once the workers finish the work, you compensate the platform for the worker's rate and the platform's charge. So, here you utilize the platform when the need arises and only pay for what you use.

4. No administrative expenses

On-demand labor platforms don't require extra expenses for administration. With a top-notch platform for sourcing workers, you advertise opportunities and accept bids.

Is on-demand labor the right choice for you?

If you experience a lack in productivity, changing demand, or a long lead duration, you can overcome these challenges through temporary labor alongside your full-time staff. Addressing these challenges through standard methods for hiring full-time labor may stall productivity or simply not be possible due to a limitation in resources. Thus, on-demand labor is a great flexible option to address staffing needs as they arise. This powerful and scalable workforce solution is ideal for entrepreneurs who are in need of a little assistance while scaling their ecommerce business to respond to demand volatility.  

How Saltbox eForce can help ecommerce business

Scaling an ecommerce business can be challenging if you are a solopreneur or small team without a logistics workforce. Fortunately, Saltbox can help. Members in our co-warehousing locations have access to our Elastic Workforce (eForce), a group of on-site support, trained operational experts, whom Members can book for anywhere from 15 minutes or several hours over several days. With Saltbox eForce, you don’t have to worry about posting jobs to a platform, screening candidates, or coordinating labor - our team is onsite to get to know your business and project so they can hit the ground running quickly and you can focus on growing your business. Our eForce can tackle a wide range of projects, including:

  • Inventory receiving and sorting
  • Returns processing
  • Knitting and assembly
  • Process optimization
  • Special projects
Saltbox workers. Source: Saltbox.

Saltbox x Shinery: Crushing shipping for Good Morning America

One tremendous benefit of Saltbox eForce is the ability it provides our Members to take on opportunities they may normally be anxious to commit to. Take our Saltbox Atlanta member Shinery, who was invited on Good Morning America’s Deals & Steals segment, for example.

In order to be featured on GMA, Shinery’s lean team of 3 had to commit to ship out 3,000 orders promptly in 3 days after the segment aired. Normally, founder Brea Fullerton would have hesitated to take this on, but Saltbox eForce provided on-site support labor, or as we like to call it, an extension of her team, and together they were able to pick, pack and ship all orders in just two days!

Check out the full story on how they did it here.

What next?

If you are scaling your ecommerce company with limited resources, spikes in demand, or just need extra hands on special projects, on-site support labor can be a great solution. With a Saltbox membership, you not only gain access to a dedicated functional workspace for your business but also a trained team of professionals to help tackle any task when you need it. Learn more about our eForce team and other logistics services, then schedule a tour at your local Saltbox!


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