Delivering effective retail sales training to your associates can be incredibly challenging.
- Staff is often part-time, and you may not see particular associates for days.
- Staff turnover is very high, with new people joining and others leaving frequently.
- In-store technology, from the network to the equipment, is frequently subpar.
- Legally, you may be unable to deliver training in specific ways.
- And often, to deliver retail sales training programs, you need to pull associates off the floor to take training instead of helping customers.
You don’t need an LMS for retail; you need solutions to deliver retail training that can overcome all of these challenges (and the dozens of others we didn’t mention).
In this article, we will provide guidance, and we will do so by covering the following topics:
- How is retail selling different from organizational selling?
- Discuss how store training is often delivered today.
- Share a few retail sales training tips
- Provide our guidance on the right technologies to support training, and it probably will not involve an LMS for retail.
Note: Retail selling covers a lot of different areas. In this article, we are focused on store-based retail sales environments.
How is retail selling different from organizational selling?
If you have never been a retail sales associate, you may not fully understand the unique challenges and differences between the two.
That’s why we are starting here.
Unlike organizational, or B2B selling:
- Sales are very transactional and very fast.
- Retail sales tend to be less consultative, but not in all cases. Larger retail purchases (e.g., houses, cars) are often very consultative.
- It is sometimes easier to generate more significant sales by well-positioned displays and well-trained staff who can suggest that one-additional item the buyer may need/want.
However, in both environments, the seller should look for opportunities to understand the buyer’s underlying needs and use this information to assist them and sell them solutions.
Okay, we should all be clear on how retail selling differs from organizational selling.
How is retail sales training delivered today?
In some retailers, the staff meets before store opening with the store manager to review critical tasks, assignments, new promotional offers and receive updates.
When this does occur, as new staff comes in, they may receive these updates from the manager or a lead on the floor, or they may simply have to go into the backroom to the manager’s desk and review updates on a corkboard.
In other cases, training is ad hoc and very informal, with a mix of on-the-fly informational dumps, shadowing other staff, or just reviewing sticky notes on the register stand.
Too often, information and training are either never delivered or rarely reinforced, and the store staff is expected to pick it up independently.
Tips for delivering effective retail sales training
Keep them on the floor
Retail sales are interrupt-driven. Customers come and go on their schedule, not yours.
Find ways to deliver training and coaching in a manner that keeps associates on the floor to service customers as they come in.
Keep it bite-sizes
As we said in the last section, retail sales are interrupt-driven.
Use bite-sized learning, less than 3-5 minutes in length, to deliver the information your retail associates need as they have time to consume it.
High turnover, inconsistent schedules, and an interrupt-driven environment can confuse who has received the training.
The store manager, and perhaps the operations or L&D teams at HQ, want to know who received the training on the daily task checklist, the new return policy, daily promotions, the updated floor plans, and other communications and training.
What tech should you use for delivering training in a retail environment?
For regularly training and communications, you need a solution that:
- Works on the store floor (think mobile)
- Is lightweight for slow networks and old equipment
- Supports bite-sized content and other forms of training assets
- Supports local laws around privacy and work times
Your team at HQ will still need to deliver compliance-based training, so you can’t completely get away from the LMS. However, teams should use the LMS for the minimum training delivery possible as most retail LMS solutions don’t meet our criteria.
Therefore, our recommendations for the solutions to consider for your “retail LMS” is not an LMS.
We suggest using monday.com as your best option for managing, delivering, and tracking your retail store environment training.
- monday.com’s task tracking capabilities will support the deployment of your training with visibility into who has taken the training.
- The mobile app is lightweight and easy to use.
- It supports storage and playback of videos, PDFs, and other non-LMS formats (i.e., SCORM, AICC, etc.).