Retail is one of the largest industries; according to Plunkett Research, there are 15,000 million employees in US alone contributing about 8% to the Nation’s GDP. Training needs of such a diverse workforce are many, product training being one. Product knowledge is important for sales people and customer service personnel and has a direct bearing on the sales. So, how can a large retail force be efficiently trained on a very wide range of products?
ELearning Solution for Product Knowledge Training:
The turnover of employees in retail stores is usually high, which means it may not be financially viable to organize classroom training for each and every employee who is hired. That said, you cannot ignore the need to train either. On the job training takes place but you cannot be sure of the quality of training being imparted as it depends on the proficiency of the immediate supervisor who is in charge of training the new recruit. In this context, eLearning proves to be useful for the following reasons:
- You can have a standard training module that a new hire can take along with the on the job training. So, new recruits can get firsthand experience of the latest concepts or inputs through online training.
- Another benefit of product training through eLearning is that every employee receives consistent and professional training on products, features and benefits, giving no room for misrepresentation of facts and inconsistencies in communication.
- Training can be accessed by sales people during their lean time cutting down the need to devote a prolonged and dedicated training schedule. By developing short modules, an insignificant amount of time of say, 15 to 30 minutes over a period of 1 week can be devoted to access the online modules. It is fairly doable when compared to organizing a classroom training that requires more time, resources and skilled trainers.
- It becomes easy to provide periodic updates about new products, as the products and promotions change frequently in the retail industry.
- Space is a constraint in retail sector and most of the time dedicated training space is not financially as well as practically viable. Retail staff can access training using desktops or even through mobile devices such as laptops, tablet PCs or Smartphones. Nike, the leading sports goods manufacturer has successfully used such devices to train their retail staff.
In the retail industry, the familiarity of the staff with the products is important since it is only with adequate knowledge of the products will the retail staff be able to guide customers to the right products based on their needs. Training cannot be dispensed with because of lack of space, time, or money as it would prove disadvantageous to the retailer. However, eLearning can provide options to make training a more affordable and viable option to bring employees up to speed with the retail industry demands.