How to Use a Learning Management System for Retail Employee Training
The retail industry has been under immense pressure for the last three years. Businesses have had to induce changes in their operations repeatedly, starting during the COVID-19 pandemic and massive lockdowns, and following with recent layoffs in anticipation of an economic slowdown.
In times of economic uncertainty, one of the key assets for any retailer is still their team and their ability to generate sales.
Regardless of whether a job is or isn’t seasonal, retail employees should keep getting consistent training to help businesses find their new way to customers through the turbulence.
Let’s see how you can achieve that in your retail company with proper training software – a Learning Management System (LMS).
What Is A Learning Management System ?
A learning management system is a platform for organizational training that helps businesses streamline training processes, educate their staff and partners, and thus drive business growth.
LMSs were basically designed to substitute classroom training with more efficient eLearning that takes up less time and involves fewer resources.
For companies that rely heavily on face-to-face training, an LMS is still a great option to combine both approaches and save time on administrative tasks.
In terms of functionality, an LMS platform enables admins and team supervisors to manage access to in-house learning materials, automate enrollments and assignments, and track learner performance.
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Benefits of Using an LMS for Employee Training
It’s not uncommon for organizations to launch training sporadically or keep them quite nominal just to tick the box.
A lack of in-house expertise and competent staff leads to inefficient operations and putting out fires instead of growing talent intentionally.
A learning management system is a comprehensive solution to make training consistent and manageable.
Introducing an LMS to the company is the first step to putting training processes in order and quickly establishing core areas of training that are critical to any business: induction and compliance.
In the longer run, a learning management system can become an essential asset to build a culture of learning and achieve greater integrity.
Key Characteristics of Training in the Retail Industry
The retail industry has a certain peculiarity in that it has higher staff turnover, busy seasons during the year, and relies heavily on frontline employees.
Plus, it is exposed to bigger sociodemographic trends, changing consumer behaviors, and employees’ growing expectations. All of these add to the importance of training and make it more complex and truly multifaceted.
In general, training retail employees can be characterized by the following:
- Many trainings take place on the shop floor with an instructor
- Training distracts employees from work or results in working long hours
- The contents of instructor-led sessions can differ significantly
- On-site training in branches and local offices can be inconsistent
Given these factors, growing and retaining talent becomes a challenging task for retailers. But the good news is that a learning management system is able to help greatly with that dynamic.
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5 LMS Use Cases in Retail Training
Let’s cover the major 5 scenarios in which learning management systems can enhance training workflows and make a positive impact on the operations of a retail company.
Before entrusting new hires with the warehouse, store, or cashier’s desk, or letting them work with customers, it’s essential to get them on board with your business.
Training retail employees through an LMS will help you introduce the company properly and engage new hires from Day 1, or even during preboarding.
You can upload materials on corporate culture, give an overview of the products provided, cover chief competitors in the market, and more.
This helps to save the time and effort of seasoned team members and answer employees’ top questions about the company and their role in advance.
On your LMS platform, any number of new hires can be enrolled in unified courses required for an effective start in your company. They become more productive while training anytime in a learning management system app on their personal devices.
In this way, there’s no need to fit the training into the trainer’s busy schedule. Using an LMS for retail employee onboarding offers greater flexibility and ultimately results in reducing the time needed for onboarding.
Product knowledge training
Training retail employees is unfeasible without ingraining product knowledge into them. But your team should not only know the specs of a product, but what differentiates it from other options, and this requires a step-by-step approach to product training.
It’s not enough to briefly cover a product line once – it’s important to immerse employees into the context of every product while also introducing them to particular brands that your business works with.
By using a learning management system, you enable learners to gain product knowledge incrementally, thus providing a good foundation for additional work.
You don’t have to cram new information into their heads hoping that they’ll memorize everything and manage to retain the knowledge provided.
Instead, your retail employees can progress through a track of eLearning modules and product tutorials covering product portfolios, packages, merchandising, etc.
In case of updates or expansion of the product line, you’ll be able to update your product training program quickly and re-enroll employees in training in a few clicks.
In that same track, you can add summative assessments for employees to solidify their knowledge and demonstrate their understanding of the product. These can be interactive flashcards to match products with their descriptions or with solutions they provide to customers. Interactive exercises prompt learners to play a little bit and boost their engagement with no more mindless clicking.
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Sales and customer service training
This is all about sales, right? Your business will do just fine provided that your team has decent and resource-effective sales training. But what if it eats up too much time and money or literally takes up time on your sales floor? If it does, you might need to seriously consider using an LMS.
Conducting sales and customer service training through a learning management system will help you consolidate internal expertise in a single place with no need to conduct time-sensitive face-to-face trainings repeatedly and overload your trainers.
The system is able to guide your sales and customer service team to a better understanding of your shoppers without your help.
Online training programs given through an LMS can mirror a customer journey map and cover each of its stages perfectly. Plus, an LMS makes it easier to scale sales training for newcomers: everybody can learn how to use a POS or apply merchandising rules in minutes, without distracting colleagues.
Moreover, learners can study while on a break or during their commute, and refer to needed sales techniques at the point of need.
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Workplace sanitary standards, fire safety, cash handling procedures, and other highly regulated realms of retail operations require greater attention. And no wonder: their violation is costly.
To serve customers and grow sales in a safe condition, retail businesses have to establish decent compliance training.
Luckily, compliance is one of those training scenarios that can be moved online easily and become less of a headache for training managers.
Just upload existing compliance manuals and memos to your learning management system, enroll employees, set deadlines, and track how they progress through the materials – it’s as simple as that.
You can also run assessments to test employee compliance awareness and assign refresher courses periodically.
An LMS like Coursify.me will store all the training data in clear reports that you can use to prove compliance further to the higher management.
Support your local affiliates
It’s hard to provide local offices, stores, or affiliates with exactly the same learning experience. On-site training might be consistent on paper but differ significantly in reality.
Unfortunately, this can compromise the integrity of the company’s approach to customers, carry reputational risks, and cause a drop in sales in a particular region.
With an LMS, retail chains get a robust solution that can streamline employee and partner training in different regions.
Learning platforms make it possible to centralize learning, deliver the same training content from the shop floor to the top floor, and track how each store is performing thanks to dynamic reports.
So, if you see that any of the stores are lagging behind, you can find the root of the problem quickly and assign the needed training.
How to Choose a Learning Management System for Retail Training
If you feel that an LMS might be just what your retail business needs, that’s perfect.
Here are a few key elements of a good learning management system for the retail industry.
- Scalability. It’s great if the system can grow with your business and suit your budget at each stage, for anything from a small shop to a retail giant. Look for the LMS that will enable you to add more users and have access to enterprise-level features as your business develops.
- Flexible structure. A good LMS for retail is able to reflect the company’s structure and hierarchy by featuring multiple user roles and levels of access. It helps build a well-established system of training across the entire organization and involves managers in the process.
- Robust reporting. Your learning management system should be good with numbers. Opt for the one that delivers clear reports on training and provides deep insights into learner performance. No less importantly, reporting should be quick and highly customizable so as to meet your precise needs.
- Mobile app. An LMS with a mobile app can be a real game changer for retailers. It enables learning on the go and literally fits in one’s pocket so you don’t have to take your employees off the floor and close the shop to train them.
Opting for a proper learning management system can help retail businesses establish an effective system of training.
Take a chance to navigate times of economic uncertainty successfully with streamlined induction, product and compliance training, as well as sales and customer service programs held online.
Coursify.me is a dynamic and customizable eLearning platform (LMS) that provides all the resources you might need.
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With focus on corporate education, the platform is prepared to fully support corporate training environments.
An eLearning system present in more than 60 countries, Coursify.me is ready for you to upload your courses and start training your team.
To learn more, visit our website, test the platform and see why we are the best option for your business.