AllWork Launches Innovative On-Demand Work Platform for Retail and Brands

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Officially launched this week, AllWork is a work platform that enables consumer brands to place brand/product freelancer specialists into assignments at stores of any number of different retail businesses. From our perspective, AllWork is a truly instructive example of how digital work platforms can and will enable completely new ways of arranging work.

What Is AllWork?

AllWork’s website offers a pithy description: “AllWork is the easiest way to find, manage and pay freelancers on the retail floor.” But to provide a quick understanding of where AllWork fits in and what it does, let me conjure up an example from my own experience (cautioning, however, that this example is my own, not AllWork’s).

I occasionally shop at Best Buy. When I go to the computer section of the retail floor, I often encounter workers who are “brand representatives”/specialists for branded/products (like Apple, Microsoft, etc.) that are sold through Best Buy. These workers do not work for the retailer, Best Buy; they work on a contingent basis for the brand/product company. And a significant number of these workers are independents/freelancers.

AllWork is a platform that allows consumer brand companies to engage and deploy brand/product specialists into limited assignments at retail locations. In retail, AllWork notes in its announcement, there has been “no technology solution that is specifically designed to help brands and retailers adapt to the freelancer trend and leverage this new flexible workforce.”

"Shifting behaviors and preferences of millennials don’t align with current sourcing and management methods and the way traditional retail employers work,” AllWork CEO Glenn Laumeister said.

In response to this growing talent-solution gap, AllWork has brought to market a platform that, according to the press release, provides “everything a company needs to manage their workforce in one place. It empowers a business with an end-to-end solution for the management of recruiting, scheduling, training, communications, payments, reporting and HR administration.” Not only is AllWork’s business solution use case unique, its intermediation solution model is, as well — encouragingly born of a specific real-world problem needing a solution.

“The business was created out of a personal need,” said AllWork Chairman and founder Scott Gurfein. “I was spending over $300,000 per month on in-store talent to drive sales for my brand, and I had no way to measure the ROI to guide my spending. I was also exposed to huge liabilities trying to comply with the varying labor laws at the federal, state and even local levels.”

A Conversation with CEO Glenn Laumeister

To obtain some additional information about AllWork, we recently had a chance to catch up with Glenn Laumeister, who provided us with some company background and more insight into the business operational model and how the business is going to market.

AllWork considers its primary market the brand/product companies. AllWork has already been signing-on notable brands and establishing traction among brand companies that are showing much interest in the solution. Clients typically begin by bringing their own brand freelancers onto the platform. They also use the platform for sourcing additional brand specialists into their private talent pool/communities.

AllWork provides clients the use of the platform and other services. Clients pay a recurring fee that is based on the number of freelancers, wages paid and different software features used. AllWork acts as the employer of record/W2 payroller of the freelance specialists on behalf of clients. (Laumeister describes it as acting as a “PEO-light.”)

Laumeister is also quick to point out that the AllWork platform business is not transactional but rather relational. In other words, AllWork is designed to support long-term relationships between freelancers and brands not simply to execute isolated marketplace transactions. In addition to enabling brands to effectively manage their freelancers, Laumeister noted that AllWork is striving to help brands and retailers create unique and memorable in-store experiences with specialized talent.

Accordingly, another unique aspect of AllWork’s model is its social sourcing and community-of-interest approach to engaging and retaining brand-specialist freelancers. Starting with creating online social media groups (e.g., on Facebook), AllWork begins to build communities of interest around freelancing for brands. Freelancers in those public communities can elect to enroll into AllWork’s brand-aligned communities on the AllWork platforms, thus becoming eligible for brand-specific assignments and enjoy other community benefits. Laumeister emphasized that “communities are built around shared passions and interests, like beauty products and sporting goods, or consumer electronics, not just the brands themselves.”

Laumeister explained to us that AllWork will be targeting a range of different product category market segments, but to start it has focused on what it considers the highly attractive — no pun intended — market segment of beauty brands/products. Beauty brands/products are retailed in many kinds of outlets, from national chain pharmacies to major department stores. And where they are, there is usually a need for brand/product specialist freelancers with product and customer knowledge and a certain je ne sais quoi. AllWork brands its beauty segment platform as Cosmetics Peeps. (Check out the platform portal at and the Facebook group.)

Conclusion

We have noted repeatedly that the online work intermediation platform space is full of many platforms and is characterized by an evolution that has gone far beyond the original freelancer marketplace and crowdsourcing models. AllWork represents a new, unique product of this evolution based on learning from earlier platform plays, targeting more specific opportunities/use cases, and employing remix and innovation approaches to arrive at new platform models to pursue new go-to-market strategies. AllWork allows brands to easily, quickly, efficiently and compliantly put freelance brand/product specialists (a unique labor market segment) on retailers’ floors. And it gives those specialists a way to keep their dance cards full and their income flowing, while enjoying their independence and work-life flexibility.

If you are a contingent workforce manager at a consumer brand/product company, this is probably a cool and potentially beneficial solution you may want to check out for your business. If you are a practitioner not working for a consumer/brand company, you should still take note and take a look at an example of how online work intermediation platforms are becoming less of a thorny procurement problem and more of a business solution.

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