Retail organizations face the unique challenge of training sales associates on an often ever-changing catalog of products. Associates need to be knowledgeable about the latest items in the store as much as ones that have been sold for years.
Plus, Retail customers have never been so knowledgeable. They've often done their research online before ever setting foot in store. Retail salespeople need to be prepared to field more complex questions than ever and avoid being stumped by a well-informed customer.
Retail also runs the gamut as far as type of business. Some retail stores are exceedingly high-end with salespeople making six figures a year and others are big department store chains with salespeople earning small commissions on daily sales or none at all. The training requirements for Retail businesses can be as broad as the space itself. There's no one-size-fits-all prescription for success.
There are some common denominators, however, regardless of the type of Retail business you're creating a training program for.
- Focus on engagement. The Retail industry has a famously high turnover rate (upwards of 30% annually), so engaging employees in their work is key. Engaged employees don't tend to quit and they deliver better customer service. Create training programs that refine customer service skills, reinforce and/or introduce product knowledge, and deepen their commitment to company culture.
- Mobile, micro, and gamified. Retail salespeople are on-the-go types. Meet them where they are by empowering them to continue to expand their knowledge, while not taking away from time on the sales floor. Incorporate learning into the day-to-day flow of business by providing it across different devices and keeping lessons short and concise. It has to be available on phones and tablets, so that people can knock out courses on breaks or during slow periods. Gamify the whole program to keep them engaged and excited about competing with colleagues.
- Curate content. Retail L&D professionals have enough to tackle, without having to create every single training course from scratch. Take advantage of off-the-shelf content libraries that offer comprehensive packs designed specifically for customer service, with courses such as mastering telephone skills, handling complaints, and identifying customer needs.
See how these tips play out in real life by taking a look at how The Walking Company uses Litmos to deliver its training program to associates across the United States.
As the category leader in the comfort footwear market with customer service as the company’s number one priority with satisfaction guaranteed, The Walking Company faced a tall order in training its staff.
The company is dedicated to bringing the best comfort shoes from around the world to their customers with the goal of providing the most technically-advanced brands available, which means that salespeople have to comprehend a great deal of information to confidently sell these products. There's a lot of specific, technical know-how that must be conveyed to customers, who in many cases, as stated above, may have done a fair amount of research on their own, prior to entering the store.
The Walking Company chose Litmos to power their training programs as a way to centralize the learning of its complex set of products and to be able to track all related activity. The company also wanted to leverage Litmos' built-in gamification and micro-learning capabilities, as well as quizzing and certifications. Now, The Walking Company is seeing higher participation in courses, greater retention, and more interest from sales staff, who actually look forward to upcoming training courses, which hadn’t happened in the past.
Barry Weinstein, VP of Training, The Walking Company, explained:
"I immediately hung up from my demonstration and got my training department onto a call and asked them why I should not say yes… I was that impressed… When looking for an LMS, there’s really only one clear leader in the space and that’s Litmos.”
The Litmos training program enables salespeople to do their jobs more confidently and better represent the brand. Investing in learning pays off for the company by creating happier, more engaged, more productive employees and it pays off for the individuals themselves, who can make more money and commit to a company they believe in for the longer term.