In the age of omni-channel retail, the need for brands to create continuity across all their sales channels is increasingly important. Where brands now want consumers to have a consistent experience with their products wherever they may find them, the challenge of managing external factors impacting this is becoming a huge priority for a variety of brands across the globe. Without educating every part of your knowledge supply chain, the chance of creating a seamless experience for consumers is a hapless task.
Throughout the years, brands in the sports and outdoor space have been using routine methods of store visits and live training seminars as a way of trying to maximise sales-associate affiliation to their products, oftentimes in exchange for deals or free products. In an age of increasing digitisation, the investment from brands to the sales associates that represent them needs to go much deeper than a bi-annual in person store visits and the occasional free piece of kit.
Whilst training is undoubtedly one of the most important ways for brands to control their message across all their channels, live in-store visit create;
- Huge costs for retailers bringing staff in out of hours or paying overtime
- Huge costs for brand reps who have to pay travel & resource expense
- Opportunity cost for retailers if their sales staff are pulled away from the shop floor
- Wasted hours of training by brands in situations where staff turnover is high
- Poor knowledge retention- without regular and reinforced learning, sales associates cannot retain the information long enough for it to be effective.
- Research into the forgetting curve shows almost 90% of information you receive just once is forgotten within a week… not the best way to ensure experiences are consistent all day every day!
And whilst it is easy to look at the pain points that impact the business case for what training you should undertake, what we mustn’t forget is the impact that poor training and poor training practices can have on the motivation of sales associate to learn.
Staff training, in its own way should be a motivational tool for your team- and that’s probably the way you, as a brand or retailer feel about it. It shows you are willing to invest time and resources into them to help them perform to their fullest potential and maximise the interaction they have with every customer. Whilst there is no question that every attempt to increase the amount of training accessible to staff is a positive move, the way training is presented, delivered and managed in your business can have a huge impact on the level of engagement it will receive from staff.
Sales associates want bitesize, easy to access and engaging training delivered to them in a way that they consume anytime, anywhere. Training that fits in with their schedule, not works’- NO ONE wants to be dragged back into store after hours or on their days off to sit through a training seminar they will forget all about a week later!
Motivation of Sales Associates to Train
Think about the staff you currently have to train. Maybe you are a store owner and you have tips and tricks from your internal knowledge base and own experience that you like to share with your team. Maybe you are a training representative of a brand or distributor. Either way, I am sure you can identify a few individuals who are self-motivated to train, learn and develop professionals skills, and also some who just don’t want to.
There are internal factors that are way out of your control when it comes to how predisposed an individual is to training. Equally, there are a load of simple yet effective things you as a brand or retailer can do to make training more fun, accessible and engaging in order to motivate staff to learn.
We know for example that millennials are making up an increasing % of the workforce. Sales associates in this age bracket (like all millennials), are tech savvy and enjoy learning through short-form video and on mobile devices. This not only makes training accessible at all times so they can engage with it at their own pace, it also means that your training content can be repeated and revisited.
Reinforced learning is the only way that knowledge is truly retained. By having a bank of content accessible through an online platform;
- The issue of knowledge loss due to turnover is mitigated
- Less confident staff members can train at their own pace outside of the ‘classroom environment’
- Training can be easily repeated and reinforced
GAMIFY THE TRAINING EXPERIENCE
Using quizzes and follow-up questions to test the knowledge retention of your team is not only best practice for learning, but it can also help to create social competition amongst your team that can motivate team members to participate.
By tracking training attendance and performance you can create leaderboards for individuals, teams and even regions in order to create a sense of competition that can be driven by some form of reward for those showing that they are willing to put the time and effort into engaging with your training materials.
Running quarterly competitions that align with your seasonal releases, for example, is a great way to ensure that staff are training on the right products at the right time throughout the year.
Mix it Up
Think about the type of training you are delivering to sales associates. Are they seeing the same person every day, are they receiving basically the same tutorial they have received every single time you come into store or delivered a lesson?
If the answer to either of those is ‘Yes’ then there are some REALLY simple things you can do to make training more exciting
1 – Show staff someone they’ve never seen before!
From the CEO to the product development team, there are loads of people in your organisation that have been involved in the production of the products they sell. Think about ways you can get staff to buy into your message by inviting them to see ‘behind the brand’. A personalised message to each of your key accounts from someone in the C-Suit, a concept explanation from one of your design team, or even a video or lesson delivered (in video form) from a trainer from a different region are great ways to generate more interest in your training.
This can work for both brands looking to educate those outside of their organisation and for retailers looking to enhance the tribal knowledge within their teams.
2 – Peer Learning
Think about the sales floor your staff operate on. Whilst the formal training that your staff may receive from brands and external training experts is the same, there is always one or two members of the team who perform better when it comes to generating and closing sales.
Why is that? That staff member clearly has some ‘secret sauce’ that can and should become part of your tribal knowledge. Is there a way of explaining the benefit to a consumer just so much more effective than what others are doing? If so, why not utilise online training platforms and get them to shoot a quick 45 second video explaining how they have had success selling product X?
Just think, you could go from one member of staff having this knowledge internally, to thousands of staff having this as part of a tribal knowledge base in literally 2 minutes!
We all love learning from and with our peers. Peer learning, especially in small collaborative groups, nurtures and fosters the development of:
- Self-directed learning skills, and thus lays the foundation for lifelong continuing self-education
- Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- Communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills [Read more]
- All of which are valuable traits to foster in your organisation.
If you would like to learn more about how you can harness the increased digitalisation of training in retail to motivate staff to learn, stop by the main stage at Outdoor Friedrichshafen. Birger Dreher, DACH manager for Myagi deliver his presentation ‘’Why retailer training needs to get digital’’ where he will dive into these points and explore in greater detail how a digital approach to retail training and close collaboration between brands and retailers will help deliver a better customer experience and increase sales for you.
Join Birger: OutDoor Show Friedrichshafen, Germany, Foyer East at Entrance East, Main Stage from 15:00 – 16:00 on Monday the 18th June! ADD TO CALENDAR