Everything you need to know about the retail industry’s training needs and how e-learning can help

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In terms of global industries, there are very few that are bigger than retail. It employs millions of people around the world, and it’s a continuously growing industry. However, it’s a very dynamic industry, which is why its training needs have evolved very rapidly over the decades. It’s also one of the most competitive industries, and for a retailer to have an advantage over others, there’s nothing more important than training.

If you’re a retailer and don’t pay attention to these training needs, you’ll run into trouble sooner or later. So, read on to know 4 of the most critical training needs of the modern-day retail industry. After taking you through all the training needs, we’ll also focus on how e-learning can effectively meet those needs. Before we get started, we’d also like to remind you of the importance of commercial insurance in Australia. So, without any further delay, let’s dive right in.

Retail sales training

Retail sales training involves the training of in-store employees. The objective of this training is simple – to make employees confident at presenting products to customers and interacting with them for clarifying their queries. The ultimate goal of retail sales training is to create successful sales assistants out of in-store sales personnel. It is one of the most important forms of training for the retail industry, as it is notorious for its short transaction times.

For example, suppose a shopper visits your store. In that case, the in-store employees only have around 20 minutes (average transaction time) to present the products, demonstrate their use (if necessary) and close the sale. Believe it or not, most salespeople aren’t very efficient at doing their jobs, which is a significant problem for the retail industry.

New hire training or onboarding

New hire training or onboarding teaches sales personnel basic tasks such as opening and closing registers, ringing up sales, shipping, stocking shelves, picking web orders, and using mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems. Typically, salespeople whose careers are at their nascent stages have to undergo this form of training.

New hire training also acts as a type of orientation for newly-hired sales personnel. It gives them time to gel with their co-workers and to adapt to new working conditions. Without this training, it may become difficult for newly-hired sales staff to feel comfortable in their new surroundings.

Product knowledge training

Product knowledge training is all about increasing the theoretical and the practical knowledge of salespeople regarding the products they’re paid to sell. Apart from knowing the details and specs of all products, salespeople should also have a thorough understanding of products on offer from competing brands. Simply put, the salespeople will have the answers to any query that a shopper asks.

This form of training also teaches sales personnel regarding the compatibility of products with certain conditions. For example, a particular product at your retail store may not be safe to use for children below five years. If one of your sales staff is selling this product, this information should be relayed clearly to the customer.

Leadership training

Any retail store space needs leaders. Without leaders on the floor, there won’t be any supervision of the activities of the sales personnel. This can lead to the salespeople taking unfair advantage of the lack of control and not doing their best to close deals. However, the presence of an authority figure in the retail store space can completely change the way salespeople do things. Typically, store managers are responsible for monitoring the work of sales personnel.

Leadership training is also essential for keeping salespeople motivated. During festive periods, when retail stores are typically swarming with people, leaders need to push the sales personnel, who are likely to feel tired after several long days’ work. Leaders in a retail store may also be asked by their superiors to provide feedback on the performance of employees. For example, if a sales personnel isn’t working at his best, it’s up to the store manager to report his performance to his superiors. In this situation, it can be difficult for the store manager to report the performance of the sales staff. However, through leadership training, leaders can make difficult decisions efficiently, keeping in mind the retailer’s best interests.

The importance and benefits of e-learning in the retail industry

It’s the age of high-speed internet, and retailers that get their employees trained online are reaping great rewards. Online training or e-learning provides several benefits that outweigh those of real-world classroom training sessions. Let’s take a look at them in this section:

  • Learning on the job: E-learning allows new professionals in the retail industry to undergo training on the job. Salespeople don’t have to take time out of their busy schedules to accommodate these training courses. The courses consist of pre-recorded classes relayed through a software platform to a retail store, where employees can learn without leaving their jobs. This form of learning is effective because the theoretical knowledge that the employees gain can be practically implemented in the space around them. When it comes to conventional classroom-based training, the salespeople will likely forget a portion of the training they underwent.
  • Training without high overhead costs: If you train your employees conventionally in a classroom setting, you’d have to spend a lot of money on overhead expenses. For instance, if you’re renting a space, the rent would include the basic infrastructure of the area, such as electricity and equipment. You’d also have to pay the salespeople to travel to the training sessions, which can be pretty expensive in the long run.
  • Flexibility: With a conventional classroom-based training course, the salespeople are constantly pressured to reach a specific place at a particular time. If there’s an emergency, someone or the other may end up missing a class, which isn’t going to happen for a second time. As a result, the training becomes inefficient and ineffective in the long run. However, when it comes to e-learning, salespeople can access the lessons whenever they need them. If they can’t understand a particular assignment at one go, they can always go back and watch it again. This allows them to be flexible in their approach towards training, eliminating any pressure from the whole process.
  • Progress tracking: How much education the salespeople are retaining and how much of the included education is being implemented in the store are challenging to track in a conventional classroom training setting. However, e-learning retail training software has progress tracking features, allowing you to assess the progress of every salesperson.
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All in all, e-learning is the best way forward for meeting the retail industry’s four most essential training requirements.

Before this article comes to a close, we’d like to tell you that small business insurance policies are vital in today’s times for retailers. Insurance policies such as small business public liability insurance can provide a lot of financial protection to retailers. This type of insurance comes in particularly handy when any area of your retail business does accidental damage to other individuals and their properties. If you want to know more about the types of insurance policies available for small businesses, click here.