How To Turn Retail Challenges Into Opportunities With Training
iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

4 Ways To Turn The Threats Of The Retail Industry Into Wins With Online Retail Training

Today, the retail industry is being rocked by major changes in technology and consumer behavior. Just think about the introduction of eCommerce stores and automated checkouts, and how recessions have almost halved department store sales over the past 18 years (scary!)[1].

Retailers who fail to adapt to this change will, no doubt, follow the unfortunate path of companies that didn’t survive. But those who tackle their retail challenges with training, well, they are the retailers of the future. The question is, which one are you?

We hope you chose the second option. And if you didn’t, you still can. Because what’s still to come is everything you need to know about surviving threats to the retail industry with the help of training. Hold on to your seat, because we’re about to dive in.

Move From High Employee Turnover To Loyal Brand Ambassadors

Sure, every company in every industry deals with employee turnover. It’s natural. But do you know how much higher the workforce churn is for retailers? While the average turnover rate across all industries is around 19% [2], the retail industry sits at a whopping 60% [3].

And it hurts, too. Because replacing an employee means more recruitment costs, more training investment, and more time lapsed before the new recruit becomes productive. Not to mention all of the knowledge and experience employees take with them when they move on to new horizons; horizons that happen to linger just above the rooftop of your most intolerable rival!

But there’s a simple solution to this challenge, and it goes by the name of online retail training. Now, we’re not just talking about onboarding training (which, of course, is important). We’re talking about training that never ends.

You see, today, ongoing Learning and Development opportunities give employees something to look forward to each day. When workers sense that a company is investing in its growth and advancement, they feel appreciated and valued. In return, they offer their employer the greatest gift of all - their loyalty and advocacy.

So, it’s time you equip yourself with an LMS for retail training, like TalentLMS. When you combine an enterprise LMS with short, sharp and relevant content that’s accessible from any device, employees will be able to learn what they need on-the-go. And after all, who has time to look for their next job when there’s a world of learning to explore instead?

Turn Customer Expectations Into Customer Experiences

Go back for a second, and step into the shoes of a 10 years younger version of yourself. Can you remember what shopping was like? You had to travel to a nearby store, scan the aisles for the product you wanted, pin down assistance if you couldn’t find what you were looking for, stand in line to pay, swap cash with the cashier, get back in your car and drive home.

Fortunately, technology has revolutionized the way we shop. Today, a few clicks from the comfort of your couch get you any product, from anywhere in the world. No lines, no traveling, no fuss.

Now, it’s not to say that the old brick-and-mortar malls are spent. Because they’re not. People still enjoy browsing boutiques, touching and trying on clothes, and stopping for a cappuccino after their weekly grocery shopping. But the rise of online stores and automated shopping has made consumers, well, let’s call them ‘demanding’.

Consumers want to be able to do everything themselves, while also having access to help when they need it. They want the in-store experience, but also the option of shopping online. They want immediate gratification, but also to feel special and understood. In short, they want the best customer experience at every point of the purchasing journey.

This might sound tough, but in reality, customer expectations shouldn’t be seen as one of your retail problems. Rather, create an opportunity by using customer training. If you’re thinking that was a typo - it wasn’t. Customer training is actually a great tool to help customers get the most out of your products and services, like how to use them, and what features are available.

Plus, with the right LMS, you can deliver this training to customers all over the world, in their own languages, right to their mobile devices. Could it get any more convenient?

Make The Competition Irrelevant By Staying Ahead Of The Game

Have you ever walked out of a store without buying a product, just because the shop floor staff had poor communication skills? Or maybe they weren’t able to answer your questions about the product? Maybe they were even rude?

The point is, when it comes to the retail industry, front-line employees are in direct contact with customers. This gives them the power to influence customer decisions, for better or worse. If they use this power well, your company is bound to knock the socks off of its competitors. But, if your front-line employees become the reason for poor customer experiences or even just an average one, your competitors will be thanking you for the new business you just gave them.

So, how do you turn this challenge into an opportunity? You guessed it! Online retail training. By using the best retail training software, you can train your front-line employees (that’s in-store and online support) to provide exceptional customer service. Give them the knowledge and skills to succeed, and they will!

Keep them up to date on the latest in-store products (and products that are soon to be launched) with online courses. Teach them how to handle unhappy customers with eLearning games and branching scenarios. Or offer an online retail sales training series, including 3-minute videos by a Subject Matter Expert explaining the latest best practices in sales techniques.

Just remember that training will only set your front-line staff apart from the competition’s if learning turns into practice. In other words, provide employees with support and opportunities to apply their new knowledge and skills on the job, or they’ll soon forget what they’ve learned.

Help Training-Resistant Employees Invest In Their Own Growth

One of the retail industry issues everyone can relate to is the cost of training. Training takes time to develop, time to deliver, and time away from staff who have a ton of work to do. Time, of course, costs money. And if that wasn’t bad enough, you’re certain that most of the company staff either aren’t attending training or aren’t really learning anything when they do.

The challenge is that there are so many employees, located between head office, offices in other cities, various stores and a call center. Getting them all to a classroom for training is a logistical nightmare, which means that large groups of employees have to learn the same content, even when it’s not entirely relevant to them.

Well, online retail training could be the answer you’ve been searching for. Because it makes learning more efficient, more cost-effective, and a whole lot more personalized. For example, each employee can be assigned to the modules or courses that are most relevant to their job and experience.

Plus, mobile accessibility means that employees don’t have to travel for training, and don’t have to be pulled away from their jobs, either. Instead, each employee can use the downtime between shifts and sales to learn what they need, when they need it. By making training a choice, and offering tailored learning paths, employees are more likely to engage in their learning, and emotionally invest in their own growth.

Conclusion

The challenges the retail industry faces are far and wide. Those who fail to adapt will quickly be forgotten by once-loyal employees and consumers. On the other hand, those who leverage the power of online retail training to overcome their challenges will shape the future of shopping.

So, we ask you again, which one are you? And which one do you want to be?

References:

[1] Advance Retail Sales: Department Stores

[2] 2016 Human Capital Benchmarking Report

[3] 2016 Turnover Rates by Industry

eBook Release: eFront
eFront
Train your employees, partners and customers with eFront, the powerful learning management system that shapes to fit your needs.
Close