The use of self-service technologies and electronic mail in the retail industry is an increasing phenomenon. The research question is directed on the problems of employment, whether the application of electronic mail and self-service checkouts influence the employment indexes in retail establishments. The research question that will be explored is the following: Does the implementation of self-service checkouts and electronic mail technologies eliminate jobs or create employment? Studies that have been directed on automation and technology infer that there are restrictions to the point where the requisite for human labour can be eliminated (Campbell, Maglio & Davis 2011).
It has been observed by scholars that the categories of technologies that include robotics, computers and electronic mail have eliminated the requirement for certain categories of labour (Wyatt & Hecker 2006). Consequently, there is specific uncertainty with regard to the manner by which the electronic mail and the self-service checkouts influence the need for labour in retail establishments and to what degree the self-service checkouts may cause a displacement in employment positions.
Details of the Outcomes of Technology and the Retraining of Personnel
Another perspective pertains to the problem of abilities and the context to which the electronic mail and the self-service checkouts are becoming substantial contributors to technology skill prejudice. The term deskilling pertains to the eradication or decrease of skilled labour resources by means of the application of technology or social administration. This is a procedure that critics assert is motivated by the commercial needs to decrease the labour expenses. Models of this type of employment replacement are the application of robotics in the production of automobiles, the implementation of temporary employees in clinical endeavours and the application of technology in the banking and insurance sectors (Uncles 2006). In comparison, retraining which is often referenced as re-educating ,details an individual procedure by which the presentation of technological innovations have the outcome of an enhancement of new abilities . In between these two perspectives on employment is the mixed influence position. In the mixed influence position, the application of technology eradicates the requirements for specific skills, while augmenting the requirements for other types of skills. The implementation of state of the art technology may eradicate the requirement for specific manual labour, while at the same time demonstrating the need for new operating skills (Campbell et al. 2011; Greval, Levy & Kumar 2009; Uncles 2006).
The attributes of skill bias are frequently detailed in the context of a mistaken correlation in sociological terms (Antsal 2005). Skill bias is a definition that is frequently applied by economic scholars in order to detail the manner by which the technological implementations in the work environment cause an increase need for high skilled or administrative positions in correlation to the manual labour. An important consideration is the manner by which the introduction of electronic mail and self-service checkouts in the retail industry increase the requirement for skilled labour or eliminate the need for skilled labour (Antsal 2005; Campbell et al. 2011; Greval et al. 2009).
There is a third consideration that pertains to the manner by which the electronic mail and the self-service checkouts are being applied in order to lower employment quality and to enable restructuring. Studies conducted in the service sector has demonstrated that establishments that include hotels and hospital have experienced substantial restructuring in order to decrease expenses and address increasing health care expenses (Andrews 2014). In considering the retail sector, that is also addressing increasing labour associated expenses; can it be detailed that the application of electronic mail and self-service checkouts being applied in order to facilitate a corresponding category of restructuring?
Nationally, the job statistics demonstrate that there was a decrease in employment in the retail sector that correlated with the introduction of the electronic mail and self-service technology. This appears to support the argument that the electronic mails and the self-service checkouts negatively influenced the employment indexes in retail establishments. Notwithstanding that there had been substantial decreases in employment during the beginning of the decade of the 2000s; a reduction in employment could be attributed to the influence of a national economic recession. It could be debated that it was the introduction of electronic mails and self-service checkouts being the causal attribute of the decline in employment indexes. In addition, in the event that electronic mails and self-service checkouts were being applied in order to diminish the requirement for labour, why has there been an increase in the need for labour in the retail sector over the past decade? In the event that the electronic mails and the self-service checkouts were being applied in order to decrease labour expenses, there would appear to be a consistent downward tendency in employment instead of an upward trend in employment (Andrews 2014; Antsal 2005; Uncles 2006).
Employment statistical indexes supply scarce evidence that the retail sector establishments are applying the electronic mails and self--service checkouts in order to decrease or eradicate employment positions. The studies have demonstrated the opposite. The retail segment has demonstrated a relative increase in employment indexes and employment related expenses. These studies place a substantial context of uncertainty on whether the application of electronic mails and self-service checkouts are influencing the employment indexes in the retail sectors (Campbell et al. 2011; Uncles 2006).
The application of qualitative information that incorporates observation, interviews and the introduction of secondary information sources will provide the greatest utility in reviewing why the anticipated effect has not taken place. The interviews that can be conducted with retail establishment supervisors in addition to the perspectives from the experts in the industry demonstrate that there are several considerations that comprehensively impact the manner by which the electronic mails and the self-service checkouts are applied in addition to reviewing the influence of electronic mails and self-service checkouts on employment indexes. These qualities could incorporate chronic turnover and shortages of labour. In addition other considerations are the application of labour in organized labour contractual clauses with regards to the application of technology in the retail sectors. The maintenance considerations will also be explored (Andrews 2014; Uncles 2006).
The research study has the intention of investigating the perception of the clients with regards to the use of electronic mails and self-service checkouts. This research will explore the shopping habits of the clients at the super stores that apply the use of electronic mails and self-service checkouts. A Wal-Mart store will be selected for this research. Wal-Mart is a large supermarket that markets grocery, office supplies, sporting goods, pet care products, automotive products and other categories of household merchandise. In this research, a quantitative research model will be applied. This quantitative research model will increase the efficiency of the study. The Wal-Mart store that will be explored receives electronic mail orders and has eight self-service checkout counters. Descriptive research methods will also be applied due to the attribute of their providing information upon which hypotheses can be constructed that delineate the relationship of one variable with the other. The study will include the distribution of a questionnaire to respondents.
The general population that will be applied in this research study is the population of Wal-Mart clients who apply electronic mail and self-service checkout counters on a regular basis. The clients will be interviewed in the Wal-Mart store subsequent to the use of the self-service checkout counter and requested for their participation in a research study. The perspectives of the clients with regards to the utilization of automated devices in their shopping experience will be reviewed.
It is not viable to include all of the clients who utilize a self-service checkout at Wal-Mart. A total population of fifty clients will be selected at random from the clients who shop at Wal-Mart.
Limitations of the Study
It is assumed that each of the selected respondents that are recruited for the study will provide honest answers with regards to the questions on the survey. The survey will be distributed by means of social media and originated from Surveymonkey.com. The questions are outlined in the Appendix.
As the responses from the entire respondent base has been gathered, the researcher will apply statistical evaluation in order to assess the information and will be facilitated by the application of SPSS in the provision of the statistical evaluations for this research study. The answers to the close ended structured questions will be graded in percentages. The percentage of the respondents who provide answers to each of the alternatives will be explored. The application of SPSS is one of the most extensively applied software packages that can be implemented for the study of data.
In order to ascertain if the application of electronic mails and self-service checkouts exerted an effect on the application of automated cashiers, a linear regression will be applied to the information that was collected in the survey. The information will be separated into three categories. These categories are electronic mail and self-service checkout use, preference and respondents. The preferences and the participants will be applied as the independent variables. The use of electronic mails and self-service checkouts will be applied as the dependent variable. Normality and validity will be confirmed by reviewing the multi-colinearity, independence of errors, normality of errors and residuals.
The data derived from the survey responses will be applied into the SPSS regression model. This will enable the testing with regards to the use of electronic mails and self-service cashiers on the employment indexes in the retail industries. The Pearson’s correlate will be applied in this test. The model will be examined for validity. The assumptions of multi-linearity, independence of errors, normality of errors and residuals will be explored.
- During your shopping experience, do you prefer shopping by means of electronic mail and self-service checkout or by interacting with a live cashier?
Close ended responses:
A). Live cashier
B). Electronic mail and self-service checkout
2. What is the frequency of your utilization of self-service checkouts and electronic mails in your consumer experience at Wal- Mart?
Close ended responses:
A). I utilize electronic mail and self-service checkout all of the time during my shopping experience at Wal- Mart.
B). I utilize electronic mail and self-service checkout occasionally during my shopping experience at Wal- Mart.
C). I never utilize electronic mail and self-service checkout during my shopping experience at Wal- Mart.
D). I don’t like utilizing electronic mail and self-service checkout all of the time during my shopping experience at Wal- Mart.
3. What is the extent of your internet usage?
Close ended responses:
A). I use the internet all of the time for my shopping and recreational experiences.
B). I moderately use the internet for my shopping and recreational experiences.
C). I occasionally use the internet for my shopping and recreational experiences.
D). I never use the internet for my shopping and recreational experiences.
Andrews, CK 2014.’The end of the (checkout) line. Automation, self-service and low-wage jobs in the supermarket industry’, American Economic Association.
Antsal, I 2005, ‘Technology –based self-service- From customer productivity toward customer value. PhD Thesis, University of Tennessee.
Campbell, CS, Maglio, PP and Davis, MM 2011,’From self-service to superservice: A resource mapping framework for co-creating value by shifting its boundary between provider and customer’, Information Systems and e- Business Management, 9(2), pp. 173- 191.
Greval, D, Levy, M and Kumar, V 2009, ‘Customer experience management in retailing: An ongoing framework’, Journal of Retailing, 85(1), pp. 1- 14.
Uncles, MD 2006, ‘Understanding retail customers’, In M Krafft and MK Martrala (ed.), Retailing in the 21st century, New York: Springer, pp. 159- 174.
Wyatt, ID and Hecker, DE 2006, ‘Occupational changes during the 20th century’, Monthly Labor Review, March 2006, pp. 35- 57.