Finding an eLearning course developer for the retail sector is challenging. Adding to that—retail organizations have to constantly battle the challenge of high attrition rates. Research shows that while the average turnover for all industries in the U.S. stands at 15%, the average turnover rates in the retail industry stand at 60%. According to Human Resources Today, this turnover translates to $19 million in costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training. A constantly revolving turnover thus impacts a company’s bottom line substantially by compounding costs. While improving recruitment practices is essential, retail organizations also need to focus heavily on their learning and development initiatives to improve employee engagement and consequently reduce turnover rates. They also need to ensure that they have the right ammunition to bridge the skills gap, increase worker productivity, and remain competitive in the market.
As learning and development begins to take centre stage for retail organizations, organizations have to ensure that their learning partner can measure up to the tall order. Since not all are created equal in the learning and development universe, here is the list of essentials that retail organizations should look for in their L&D partner to ensure that the retail training courses are effective and that they deliver the desired impact.
The capability to create retail courses
Well, of course! Retail has evolved phenomenally over the past decade. Today retailers are selling specialized products. They have different work cultures and environments. For example, the selling skills needed for selling an Ikea product will have to be different from a regular furniture format. Why? Because Ikea is all about the freedom to explore, self-assembly, and a do-it-yourself approach. This is a different approach from a conventional retailer and here the conversations with buyers would perhaps become necessary only to address deeper issues or specific questions.
Expertise in creating retail-specific courses is definitely a point to look out for. Along with this, it is essential to have the capacity to create custom retail courses that have to be optimized keeping in mind the job roles and skill sets. So, the L&D provider should be able to create retail management courses, store management courses, and courses to train retail sales associates.
Taking a one-size-fits-all approach in creating retail courses is not a recipe for success. Since all retailers are not created equal, retail management courses have to be highly customized and role-specific. Training retail sales associates should, for example, not only focus on training on product knowledge but also has to focus on training in computer skills and sales strategies. To provide a comprehensive yet effective retail training program, the L&D partner must have superior information gathering capabilities. Identifying the retail KPI’s, understanding them, isolating the right questions to ask to ensure maximum retail course comprehensiveness, and then curating customized retail courses, therefore, becomes an essential ability.
Considering the dispersed nature of the retail industry, leveraging technologies such as eLearning and online courses is critical. Online courses can be personalized and designed to meet the learning requirements of the learner. eLearning technologies such as gamification, video, mobile learning etc. facilitate learning delivery and enable better learning outcomes. For example, retail games courses can be leveraged to train employees on mundane (but necessary) topics such as compliance, without adding to the cognitive load.
The eLearning company also must know how to use interactivity to accentuate the learning outcomes. Interactivity in online retail courses has to be employed keeping in mind the retail KPI’s, the expected outcomes, the technology infrastructure, and the learner needs etc. to reduce learning complexity and facilitate better learning outcomes.
Ongoing classroom training can not only impact employee productivity time but can also be a logistical nightmare to navigate. Retail courses lend themselves well to online training. But is online training enough? With a growing millennial workforce, the expectation from learning and development initiatives is that these will be mobile friendly. The challenge is the associates cannot take time out from the schedule while on the job to train. Expecting them to consume training while they are off the clock is also unrealistic. This means a mix of course elements that can be consumed over short periods could be the key. The L&D partner thus has to have the competence to create mobile-friendly online courses that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Since information is disseminated in small and bite-sized nuggets, knowledge retention is greater as they can navigate the course at their own pace.
Along with looking for these factors, retail and store management courses have to be personalized. The L&D partner has to possess the capability to offer personalization capabilities to ensure better engagement rates. The partner should be able to leverage data-driven insights to identify the drop-off points of the learners, assess the learning gaps and learner pain-points to proactively improve the learning content and consequently improve learning outcomes. The ideal partner will be able to drive the continuous learning objectives of a retail firm—and that will make the difference in the end.
At eNyota, we are constantly on the lookout to address the retail industry’s challenges. We know the complications and nuances of training an almost never-ending inflow of staff, however, it is due to this very reason that training your new employees becomes important. Get in touch with us at Contactus@enyotalearning.com or click here to know more about how we can help your organization with eLearning built to train the retail force.