“The Customer is King.” Always has been, always will be.
But today’s customers are a totally different breed!
They want to research products online, and buy online or in the store. They want product information on their laptop, tablet or smartphone—at home, on the go, or even in the store. They want a seamless experience through all shopping channels.
These customers also place higher expectations on sales associates: They want associates to be experts on ALL the products they sell—in the store, plus online. They want associates to be as “tech savvy” as they are. And they want associates to provide product recommendations based on their own knowledge and expertise, as well as customers’ individual preferences and past purchases.
Most retailers agree that creating an omni-channel strategy is the best way to meet these new customer demands. But, when hourly paid sales associates are critical for omni-channel success, this solution isn’t as simple as it sounds. After all, associates must not only know how to sell, but also become product evangelists, distribution experts, and customer service advocates too.
Beefing up associate knowledge is one of the most significant ways retailers can up the success factor of their omni-channel strategy.
Yet, 40% of retailers report that store associate training is a major barrier to omni-channel success.
Conventional training methods just don’t cut it. It’s not enough to simply shove employees into more training sessions: this takes associates off the floor and they just forget what they learn anyway. To truly increase associate knowledge for omni-channel success, retailers need to re-think employee learning completely.
Modern learning approaches are leveraging brain science research to dramatically improve knowledge retention and help create more confident sales associates, who are better equipped to service customers. Here are 5 eLearning components that are critical for effective associate training in an omni-channel environment:
- Daily, bite-sized learning counteracts information overload. Associates receive training in short bursts each day, rather than lengthy, one-time sessions. The daily learning reinforcement helps associates retain information for the long term—and also allows managers to deliver critical up-to-the-minute product and promotion updates.
- Personalized learning adapts to individual strengths and weaknesses to meet associates’ unique learning needs, instead of training everyone the same way. Areas where associates have high knowledge are continually reinforced, while areas where they are less knowledgeable receive more attention until they increase their learning.
- Mobile learning delivers information to associates when and where they want it—even to associates’ mobile devices on the store floor—so they can receive training on demand.
- Gamification makes learning fun—improving associates’ engagement and enhancing knowledge retention.
- Supports Coaching with reports for managers to help them detect knowledge gaps by the topic and individual, as well as identify top performers.
With the increased knowledge retention that comes from modern learning practices, retailers find associates have the knowledge and skills at their fingertips to better service customers in an omni-channel world.
Associate performance improves, along with business results.
Customer remains King!
Learn more about how companies, like Toys R Us, are increasing omni-channel adoption with sales associates by accessing our omni-channel webinar recording.
Written by Laura Martin