The retail industry has experienced exponential growth in the last few years. In fact, 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 consumers to stay ahead in the race. This high level of competition has paved the way for effective retail training programs. These programs are needed to push retail employees to perform better now and in the future. 

What is retail training?

Retail training is a process that teaches your employees how to engage with customers in your store. A finely-tuned retail training program can help your staff understand the company’s products and goals. This knowledge converts your workforce into valuable employees who are equipped with the skills required to provide a good buying experience for your customers.  

Unlike employees in other sales sectors, a retail employee is expected to understand and address a customer’s immediate needs 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 to maintain a hospitable and safe shopping environment.

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 in bringing down customer satisfaction. They may also be unable to close their sales which costs 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.

7 ways to enhance your retail training program to boost employee performance

1. Provide product training 

Product training is the backbone of retail training. Your training program must focus on employee knowledge of the store and all its products. It helps employees be prepared for all of the customers’ doubts and will enable the team to provide better assistance. 

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. Focus on customer experience

Your retail training program should focus on teaching workers how to create an optimal shopping experience for buyers. Staff members who can convey the uses and benefits of the products help your customers make a well-informed buying decisions. This will enhances the 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)

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. Offer incentives and appreciation to employees

Incentivizing top performers will motivate your entire team to perform better. These incentives also boost healthy competition amongst colleagues. The incentives can be monetary, like a store gift card or a bonus, or managers can boost morale by showing appreciation for an employee’s work. This will not only inspire staff members to work harder but also keep them motivated to participate in future training programs to continuously upskill and boost 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 retail training programs for employees that focus on their individual strengths and weaknesses.

5. Equip employees with adequate tools

Retail employees should be provided with the appropriate tools needed to perform their jobs effectively. Managers need to consider giving employees a tablet to help them remember product specifications and other information to assist the customer better. The devices must also containing programs that can track foot traffic in the store, analyze customer purchases, and compare the conversion rate with previous weeks. Such programs can help your employees understand customer preferences and optimize work.

6. Embrace a Blended Learning Approach

Retails companies around the world are embracing the power of blended learning to enhance their retail training programs. This modern learning technique is a mix of in-person and online training that makes learning more flexible and cuts down on the time needed to train. This approach gives your employees the chance to onboard quickly, gain the essential product knowledge and continue to build their skillsets in the flow of work. 

7. Personalize the Learning Experience

Managers must 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 retail training program according to their needs. Personalizing the learning experience allows your retail workers to see the career path that they can take and the internal mobility options available to them. Employees who are looking to grow their careers with your retail company are more inclined to want to boost their performance.

Disprz will help your retail 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 features an AI-powered learning platform 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.

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