For Retailers, Attracting Software Developers a Hard Sell

Susan Hall
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Online sales on Cyber Monday reached their highest level yet at $1.25 billion, according to comScore figures, with revenues up 22 percent over last year. More than half the shoppers did so from work, reports Practical E-commerce, which might account in slightly fewer doing so from mobile devices than on Black Friday (10.8 percent of site visitors on Monday vs. 14.3 percent on Friday).


Sales revenue grew by 81 percent for small merchants using GoDaddy's Quick Shopping Cart and the IBM Coremetrics Benchmark Cyber Monday Report showed brisk sales in apparel and health and beauty items.


Though ramping up their digital channels - the story says sales are growing five times faster online than in stores - retailers are losing the war for software talent, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. I've written about retailers such as Best Buy and Lowe's that are staffing up in IT as they beef up their e-commerce and mobile strategies. Lowe's also is equipping sales associates with mobile devices to better help customers find what they're looking for, whether it's on the shelf or online, RIS News reports.


But the Bloomberg story notes that Silicon Valley comes with more glamour and deeper pockets. It quotes Harry Joiner, chief executive officer of, saying:

Demand is off the charts; it's been crazy,"


"They want to go work for companies where they can contribute something lasting," and see larger, older businesses as the "Death Star."

Forrester e-commerce analyst Sucharita Mulpuru says retailers wind up fighting for the scraps in the talent pool, saying:

"This isn't A-list development talent."



The story points to increased reliance on consultants and contractors, though some companies are making acquisitions to get the development talent they need. It mentions Walmart's purchase of search engine Kosmix for $300 million and Nordstrom's acquisition of HauteLook, a private-sale website, for $180 million. But even if talent comes through acquisitions, there's still the issue of getting those people to stay.

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