The retail industry has experienced exponential growth in the last few years.
The global retail market generated sales worth nearly $23.6 trillion in 2018 and is expected to yield sales close to $27 trillion by 2022. (source)
Yes, the retail industry is growing fast, but a fierce level of competition accompanies it.
Retailers need to meet the ever-evolving expectations of the consumers to stay ahead in the race. It should not be astonishing that the demand for top-performing talents who possess the right skills for retail sales and customer relationship management is very much in need.
This has naturally paved the way for effective retail training programs for pushing the employees to perform better now and in the future. A good retail training program helps employees understand the requirements of their job better, thus reducing employee turnover.
Retail turnover is now 1.5 times the general industry rate (source)
A finely-tuned retail training program can help your staff understand the company’s products and its goals. This can convert your workforce into valuable employees who are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to provide a good buying experience to the customers. This article will help you determine areas on which you can focus to enhance the performance of your employees, which in turn will help you boost your sales as well.
What is Retail Training?
Retail training is a process that teaches your employees how to engage with customers in your store. It is important as, unlike employees in other sales sectors, a retail employee is expected to understand and address a customer’s needs within minutes with no prior data. The training, therefore, focuses on how to build a rapport with the customer, analyze their requirements, and efficiently assist them. This not only requires them to be quick on their feet but also maintain a hospitable and safe shopping environment.
For this purpose, retail training concentrates on increasing employees’ knowledge of the store and all its products. Staff members should also be trained to identify customers in need of assistance and answer any and all queries regarding the store or any of its products. They should be able to convey the uses and benefits of the products so that a customer can make a well-informed decision. This will help enhance customers’ shopping experience, increase their confidence in the store’s products and make sure they return.
According to data from a study by Bain & Company, a 5% gain in customer retention can increase a store’s profits by around 25% to 95%. (source)
To effectively communicate with customers, retail training also focuses on the development of workers’ soft skills. Simply knowing about the products of your store is not enough, especially if the employee cannot convey this information in a way that catches the buyers’ attention and convinces them to make a purchase.
The development of communication skills can also teach employees how to close all their sales. Building a connection with the customer can also help them up-sell and cross-sell products to them according to their needs. Furthermore, a scenario-based sales training initiative can also give employees an idea regarding how to treat different customers and diffuse a problematic situation. This can help a store not lose out on valuable consumers.
Why is retail training important?
Retail training is essential as it is one of the most cost-effective ways for a store to boost its sales. Without proper training, employees, who can be one of the store’s greatest assets, remain unutilized. They may not know how to assist customers bringing down customer satisfaction. They may also be unable to close their sales and cost the store. On the other hand, a well-trained employee can boost customer satisfaction by addressing all their needs. This builds customer loyalty and guarantees that clients return to the store for future purchases.
73% buyers claim that customer service is one of the most vital factors that influences their purchasing decisions. 43% of all customers are willing to pay more for greater convenience when shopping, while 42% would pay more for a friendly interaction
A good shopping experience will also encourage buyers to refer a store to their friends and expand the store’s customer base.
Five ways in which you can make your retail training more performance-oriented.
1. Product training
As mentioned above, product training is the backbone of retail training. It helps employees be prepared for all of the customers’ doubts and helps assist them better. An employee who cannot answer product-related questions may earn your store bad reviews and cause the customer to take their business elsewhere. Knowledge about products also allows employees to provide faster service, a factor which is becoming increasingly important to customers amid the rise of online shopping.
2. Focusing on customer experience
The training plan should focus on teaching workers how to create an optimal shopping experience for buyers.
58% of consumers switch companies because of bad customer service experience. (Source)
Staff members must be trained to be polite to customers and listen carefully to their needs. They should also be trained to address any potential problems a customer could face and to maintain their calm in all situations. Attention should also be paid to the proper management and placement of products in the store so that a customer does not face difficulty in navigating the premises.
3. Offering incentives and appreciation to employees
Incentivizing good performance by employees can help them stay motivated and encourage them to do better. They also boost healthy competition amongst colleagues. The incentives could be monetary, like a store gift card or a bonus. However, managers should also try to boost morale by showing appreciation for their work. This will not only inspire staff members to work harder but also help them identify the efficacy of their performance.
4. Customer feedback
It is highly essential for stores to implement a customer feedback program. A manual or virtual feedback form should be provided to each customer as they leave the store. These forms should enquire about their shopping experience and their thoughts about the customer service they received. This will not only make customers feel that their concerns are heard but will also help recognize problem areas in the store. Using this feedback, managers could design custom training programs for employees that focus on their individual strengths and weaknesses.
5. Equip employees with adequate technological tools
Workers should be provided with the appropriate technological tools that can aid them in doing their jobs better. Managers could consider giving employees a tablet to help them remember product specifications and other information to assist the customer better. The devices could also be installed with programs that can track foot traffic in the store, analyze the purchases made by customers, and compare the conversion rate with previous weeks. Such programs can help understand customer preferences and optimize work.
Apart from focusing on these aspects, there are a couple of other factors which trainers should also keep in mind. Training programs should implement blended learning, which is a mix of in-person and online training. This will make the program more flexible and will also cut down the training period. Managers must also remember to keep their training modules engaging and straightforward to ensure that employees can retain the information that they provide. Regular tests and assessments should also be conducted to check how effective the training program has been for the workers. They should also take frequent feedback from the employees themselves. By doing this, they can understand the problems they have been facing during the training.
Managers should also take the time to know their employees as this will allow them to understand their motivations and preferred learning methods. This information can be used to optimize and customize the training program according to their needs. Online modules could also be gamified to hold the attention of employees. Earning points or badges after completing tests or assignments will provide staff members a sense of achievement and motivate them to work better.
Thus, an effective retail training program can turn your employees into valuable assets and allow retail stores to better compete with online shopping portals that are growing in popularity. To ensure that your retail sales training plan is impactful and performance-oriented, you can use the Disprz platform.
Disprz will help your employees develop functional, digital, and behavioral skills. It will also assist in improving these skills through daily lessons, quizzes, and tasks that are quick and engaging. The platform features an AI-powered learning engine that can help you create content for all employee-grade levels across your company. It offers customizable skill-based modules that can be modified to target your company’s needs. This will allow you to create a training program that is beneficial for your employees. This, in turn, will ensure customer retention, boost your business and sales, and create brand loyalty in customers. Request a free demo to find out how Disprz can help you in training your employees.