No two technologies have entirely shaped the modern economy, like gig work and ecommerce tools. This interface is coming to another iteration of productivity now, with Amazon’s intention to start using gig workers to deliver from malls, giving a direct link between local production, digital sales, and the front door.
Essentially removing the middleman – the consumer – from the process of going from home to store, it’s a great example of exactly how the gig economy and ecommerce have dovetailed in a way that defines the modern consumer world. The question is how workers and consumers can remain protected at the lightning-fast pace of digital adoption.
Protections in place
To protect workers, several protections have created a situation in which gig economy professionals have the same level of protection as contracted, full-time employees. This includes matters concerning disability benefits, unemployment rates, and anti-discrimination laws. However, as the demand for goods purchased through ecommerce and then distributed by the gig economy has increased, pressures have been placed on businesses that can bite into those protections. This has recently received attention from President Biden, who, according to Reuters, is bringing in a labor proposal that will further help gig workers by placing further responsibility on contractors. This is ultimately a good thing, as shoppers who use ecommerce will be able to enjoy a greater level of assurance regarding the rights of those bringing the goods.
Flexibility and reactiveness
With these protections in place, many businesses are taking advantage of the gig economy to help them more flexibly manage the ebb and flow of sales throughout the seasons. As Insider magazine highlights, ecommerce has an unmistakable pattern of behavior regarding demand. Christmas, Black Friday, Thanksgiving in general, and Easter are likely times of higher activity; bringing in smaller numbers of gig workers to meet that demand has allowed for a positive feedback loop in which businesses and carriers can take more orders and continue to grow.
Ecommerce influencing the workers?
Just as gig economy workers have made the fast service of ecommerce possible, there are now suggestions that ecommerce could create better working conditions for gig workers. According to Nium, a global finance platform, there are increasing calls for contractors to use ecommerce to provide on-demand payments for couriers. Rather than producing pay in scheduled packets, couriers will be paid on the job, by the job, and with instant access to funds. This is, of course, only possible with the secure payments and authentication that ecommerce provides, but it is certainly an exciting proposition for the future.
Every way you look at it, ecommerce benefits from the gig economy – and vice-versa. It has been essential to ensure that workers are protected and can share the success of the burgeoning sector, and now, the actual benefits are being shown.