We can never go back.

This is a rant that came out of the GNS retail show that we recently attended and where we demonstrated the new automatic reconciliation report.

Since only we have these advanced functions people came and several emailed me to discuss it. People also went onto our Facebook page to discuss it with others.

Here is my rant, at present everyone is now working smarter. Here are some figures to prove it from of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Here is a graph of retail sales in Australia since 1982.

As you can see its going up, up and up about six times.

Here is the number of people employed in the retail sector

It went up slower until 2008, during which retail sales to 2008 went up about five times, the employment figure doubled. After 2008, the employment stabilised but retail sales kept going up.

If you do the figures based on these graphs you will see that the average worker in retail is now is about three times more productive, then in 1984. Note these figures do not include that people are working fewer hours and inflation.

Still what I found more interesting was to see what percentage of the workforce is in retail. The percentage is now dropping fast. Something certainly and dramatically happened in retail employment after 2000.

My first thought was that most of us started out in retail, but it does not look from these figures that our grandchildren will.

I think it's partly technology, which allows people to do more, cost of labour so forcing retail shops to experiment with the use of fewer employees and somewhat Australia's growing living standards as the retail sector is not where the big bucks are, nor is the work easy and people are moving into industries that have easier work and pay better.

Why do you think that traditional retailers are expanding their own on-line presence, partly as it requires far fewer workers? The labour in selling an item on-line through our web shop works out to being about 50 percent less than in the shop.

As such I see the new technologies such as the improvement in efficiency due to improved and faster stock reconciliation as a necessary for retail shops to stay alive. A lot of jobs are going in retail and there is no way that the existing processes can do them without dramatic improvement. The "good ole days" are behind us. Believe me that they were not all such "good ole days." I remember spending half a day with a coworker counting stock returns manually. While most of the memories are great of that day, the actual work was hard, difficult and very unproductive. My eyes went blurry after hours of trying to match up stock. After spending hour counting we discovered that we had different figure, and we had to go over it again.

Point of sale software must get better and we need to get better with it.