Training – The Key To An Outstanding Customer Experience In Retail

Why The Right Training Is The Key To An Outstanding Customer Experience In Retail

Putting the store at the center of the customer journey is a real challenge. Particularly because doing so involves relying on human resources and managing thousands of unexpected elements. How can you ensure that your sales staff is aligned with brand values and objectives while also being capable of guaranteeing an outstanding and unique brand experiences at each point of sales? Perfectly adapted and continuous training for your teams is without a doubt part of the answer. How can you put this into place?

eBook Release: Training In The Retail Industry
eBook Release
Training In The Retail Industry
Discover the most practical tips for deploying a training strategy that focuses on staff member engagement and creates an outstanding customer experience!

Face-To-Face Training Cannot Adapt To Accelerated Business Cycles

Face-to-face training has long been the preferred training method for retailers. It helps create a relationship between the brand and the sales staff and also brings learners together to help develop community spirit and reinforce job commitment.

However, this method of training is poorly adapted to respond to accelerated business cycles. Our current environment is characterized by increasing product complexity and shorter business and product life cycles. In the face of these almost daily changes for some brands, it is impossible to effectively train sales staff by relying solely on face-to-face training; this option is far too rigid and costly to be effective.

Meanwhile, employees are in front of customers who have done research online before going to the store and sales staff must be able to demonstrate true expertise for each product to ensure brand credibility.

Traditional LMSs Lack Necessary Features

To meet these challenges, brands are beginning to turn to eLearning and have started using LMS platforms to manage their training programs. The problem? These platforms only partially meet retail-specific challenges.

Why is that? First and foremost, because we are talking about platforms that are extremely complex to use on an operational level. Creating training programs on these platforms generally requires advanced IT or web development skills – for example, knowing how to use SCORM. Then, you need to learn how to navigate an interface inherited from 90s-era design that in no way meets today's standards of usability or graphic design. Combine all that with an extremely slow creation and deployment process for new content as well as the associated costs (count an average of

30K€ per course[1] if you use an external designer) and the end result is an exceedingly rigid content production process. This system cannot cope with the constraints of a constantly evolving environment and accelerated business cycles, as is the case for the retail sector.

These formats are also poorly suited to adapt to the many technical constraints that can arise in complex organizations. Learners often do not have access to a computer with an internet connect, or even an email address that would give them access to the eLearning platform.

Finally, integrating these training sessions is difficult given that employees are in constant contact with clients during their working hours. The company must incur additional costs to train employees be either setting aside time that they could be spending with customers, or training outside of their working hours.

3 Ways To Transform The Store Into A Place Of Learning

To successfully fill their role, trainers need to base their approach on 3 pillars: offering tailor-made content for each shop, transforming training into a key performance indicator, and adapting to technical constraints.

1. Content Adapted To The Challenges Of Each Store

It is vital that employees from all stores have access to the same training programs to be able to offer a common, coherent brand experience to customers. Nevertheless, each point of sale faces different challenges and once the basics have been acquired, training content must be adapted to each store. This strategy is the answer to a two-fold problem: how to efficiently train your sale teams with content that is relevant to their specific situation, thereby increasing engagement rates. Adopting this approach allows you to increase the impact of each training program because they are useful to employees and are aligned with their in-store reality.

2. Make Performance Measurement A Training Objective

In a world where customer satisfaction is the yardstick of success, you need to be able to correlate training with sales performance. This involves real-time measurement of learner activity on your training platform and being able to cross-reference this data with your ERP in order to analyze them.

The trainer's role is therefore to understand the chain of causation between sales performance and training and to adapt training content accordingly. Having access to these data and analyzing them regularly allows for continuous improvement of the customer experience and increasing sales performance.

Combine Your Date To Improve Your Sales

Combining and using ERP and LMS data collectively can have a rapid impact. Let us imagine a cosmetics brand whose perfume sales are not meeting company objectives. The trainer can analyze training data to quickly see that training programs for these products are not being followed, or not being followed completely. Once the problem has been identified, the trainer can implement an adapted solution. They could, for example, create a more comprehensive and engaging training program that should improve the customer experience, and thus sales, for perfume.

3. Do Not Underestimate Constraints

Digital training often has a hard time making it to brick-and-mortar shops. Even the best online training program in the world cannot be followed by employees unless they have access to a computer. If training is to be effective, the necessary tools, adapted to the point of sales (absence of internet connection, lack of computer equipment, etc.), must be made available.

Sometimes underestimated by companies, deploying a new e-learning solution is often a complex affair. Retail is one of the sectors where the workforce is both large and the most geographically spread out. It is therefore necessary to have an effective internal communication strategy to ensure that employees at all points of sale use the platform regularly.

Best Practice

The Casino group was supported by 360Learning to integrate online training into their training process. With the mobile application and offline mode that we offer, sales staff can train without needing access to the internet or a computer. Multiple staff members can access training via a single email address (one per store), which allows employees that do not have a professional email address to access training programs. Lastly, 360Learning assisted Casino with their communication strategy and platform rollout to democratize its use among their 20,000 registered users.

If you want to learn more about how the right training can help you create an amazing customer experience in retail, download the eBook Training In The Retail Industry.


[1] 360Learning, Market benchmark, 2015

eBook Release: 360Learning
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