Three Retail Training Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Overcoming the Myths of Retail Training

In a world of shrinking budgets, increased demands and fewer staff retail training companies like ours are often asked “what is the best way to achieve a good return on investment for the training dollar.”

The reason retailers are concerned about their training investment is because they may have struggled with achieving a good ROI in the past.  They want their training to matter and to make a difference where it matters… on the sales line and the bottom line.  This is why we need to debunk certain long held, but incorrect, assumptions about retail training.

Assumption One:  If you make people attend training, they will learn

It seems to make sense that if you make training – whether instructor-led or elearning – mandatory then your team members will actually learn what you are trying to teach them.   This is not the case.  While you might be able to hold your audience physically captive, your employees’ minds are always roaming.  What is the risk?  Disengaged employees who do not learn.

The solution is to earn your audience's attention.   You do this by engaging with retail training professionals who understand the day-to-day issues that your team members deal with and then combine that knowledge with interactive techniques that converts training from something your employees have to do to something they want to do.

Assumption Two: If your employees learn, they will remember

Retail training professionals understand that employees like yours have a challenge with retention.  Even if you develop and present the best training program possible, the average team member will forget more than 50% of what they we learned within a day and will only retain about 20% of the information within thirty days.  Since most retailers do “one and done” training, it is no wonder that they become frustrated with their training ROI.

The solution is to use repetition and rhythm.  Instead of focusing on “big” training, retailers should consider conducting several smaller events.  As an example, this could include an initial kick-off meeting, followed up with an e-learning refresher a week later, followed by a homework assignment followed up with another instructor-led session.  Studies have shown that by using a rhythm like this retention increases to over 80% and  – more critically – positive change is sustained.

Assumption Three: If your employees remember the training information you will get results

Many retail trainers use pre-tests, post-tests and assessments to verify whether or not their training has had an impact.  The fact is that these tools do not measure impact.  They measure learning. 

The ultimate purpose of any training is to impact the behaviors and the activities that your sales representatives and their managers exhibit in the workplace.  It is only by changing habits that you will get the training ROI that you are looking for.  Training can show your team members what they need to do and how they need to do it, but in the end, old habits die hard.

The solution is to implement a plan for coaching and follow-up.  Your store and field leaders need to be aware of the information that has been communicated in the training, what the expected behavioral changes you expect and the desired result in your KPIs is.  Then they can reinforce the training and drive results where it counts most…on the floor with the customer!

Are you looking to improve your results?  Then contact Retail Training Services about our Top Check Selling System and Top Check Performance Management programs.