Retail employees help generate a large portion of a business’ revenue by helping shoppers find what they need, suggesting additional purchases, and providing exceptional customer service. Those services can help retail companies improve key metrics like:
- Customer service satisfaction
- Number and size of sales
- Customer and employee retention
Retail employees are a powerful force within a company, but without the proper skills they can be ineffective, struggling to influence purchases and support business goals. By implementing a few retail training tips, companies can promote a healthier bottom line and improve business results.
4 Retail Training Tips That Promote Better Business Results
1. Foster knowledge sharing via talent pairing -- If you want to develop well-rounded retail employees, make talent pairing an aspect of your retail training program. By pairing up employees with different skill sets, you can promote knowledge sharing, which is an effective form of social learning.
Some retail roles are more focused on sales and customer service, and others on metrics and organization of merchandise.
“Think about who you put in the position, especially if it’s someone who’s being internally moved or promoted,” stated Mohr Retail.¹ “Which strength do they bring to the role? And who might be able to balance them?”
When the right employees are paired up, they will strengthen one another by gleaning skills that might not be covered in their specific learning path. This could increase their performance and potentially boost sales.
2. “Sell” retail training to your employees -- Some employees may not take retail positions as seriously as other roles. They may view a retail position as a short-term job that pays the bills. This attitude ensures retail employees will not engage properly with training, preventing them from learning crucial skills that drive business results.
To get retail workers more invested in training, “sell” it to them by explaining how retail training will benefit them over the long haul and support their career goals. For example, let them know that skills learned in sales and customer service training make any type of professional more competitive and attractive to employers.
A contributor to Salesforce wrote, “Great customer service is the holy grail of business. Once you have it, it seems like it has the power to reveal all the secrets of success.”² Piquing retail employees’ interest in training will drive engagement and skills acquisition, which will eventually be reflected in your bottom line.
3. Offer retail trainees feedback -- Feedback is an important aspect of the employee training process. It gives retail trainees an idea of what type of progress they are making and engages them more deeply with training.
“Give your retail staff space to put their learning into action, try new things, and experiment with sales techniques,” stated How to Train Retail Staff.³ “Then give them feedback (or pair them with an experienced member of your retail staff to do the same).”
Large companies may find that giving employees feedback through online assessments and report cards via LMS reporting works best.
When employees are provided with feedback, they have the knowledge they need to strengthen their weakest skills. As their skill level increases, so will their ability to help a company reach its goals, such as retaining or acquiring more customers.
4. Implement microlearning to improve knowledge retention -- Ninety percent of the skills employees gain are lost within one year.4 This is a problem for short-term retail employees who don’t have much experience with a company.
To promote knowledge retention, deliver retail training in bite-sized nuggets, including story-based learning, gamified learning, competitive quizzes, and learning games.5
Not every retail training module should be short. However, most can be divided into smaller segments that can be more easily spaced, and all can be reinforced with microlearning nuggets.
By implementing microlearning, you will help retail employees retain more of the information they need to make sales and improve the customer experience, increasing customer loyalty and boosting revenue.
Effective Retail Training Improves Sales Skills and Employee Retention
Without effective sales and customer service training, retail employees will lack the skills they need to make sales and interact properly with customers. This will negatively affect revenue and decrease customer satisfaction. By implementing retail training tips that engage workers and improve their productivity, you can promote better business results. Quality training even helps to prevent staff churn, which can be a major issue for retail employees.6
1. Mohr Retail. Retail leadership: breaking it down and boosting results. http://mohrretail.com/retail-leadership-hacks-breaking-it-down-and-boosting-results/.
2. Salesforce. Your list of the most important customer service skills (according to data). https://www.salesforce.com/hub/service/important-customer-service-skills-list/#.
3. Continu. How to train retail staff: 8 pieces of advice from the pros. https://blog.continu.co/retail-training/.
4. Panopto. Why employee training fails and how to prevent it in your organization. https://www.panopto.com/blog/why-employee-training-fails/.
5. eLearning Industry. Ways microlearning increases attention and retention. https://elearningindustry.com/microlearning-increases-attention-retention-ways.
6. HR Zone. How regular training can reduce employee turnover. https://www.hrzone.com/talent/development/how-regular-training-can-reduce-employee-turnover.