5 Tips for Designing Effective Online Training for Retailers

Posted by Jessica Arenz - April 05, 2016


It’s hard to stand out in the retail world. You need to have a strong brand and outstanding customer service to build an experience that brings people back for more. Staff interactions are key to that experience, and training is what makes good staff members great. Retailers have increasingly used videos to train employees: According to a recent
Retail TouchPoints report.

3 out of 4 retailers use videos for training, and online delivery makes it convenient. If you’re looking to design online training courses for your employees, here’s what you need to know to do it right.

Cover All Factors of Customer Service

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of customer service when it comes to retail staff skills. But think about all the different factors that go into strong customer service:

  • Familiarity with the product. When your staff members fully understand the product or service they’re selling, they can make customized recommendations or give insights customers need to make a decision.
  • Inventory knowledge. If the product isn’t here, where can a customer get another one? Knowing how the supply chain works can help your retail staff better direct customers to other locations or inform them about wait times.
  • System training. Understanding how to use POS and other technology means the difference between a confident associate and a frustrated one. Which would you rather work with?

Online learning modules can get retail associates up to speed on all these topics and more. It’s not just about smiling and saying “have a good day” — it means empowering employees to be the best ambassadors possible for your brand.

Include Soft Skills

Collaboration, communication, leadership and management skills are all important to your retail staff. And even though these may seem to be inherent traits, you can teach them just as you can teach people how to find a product in a storeroom.

Identify your top performers and have them role play different internal and external customer service situations to model the behaviors you expect from your employees.

Let Your Brand Drive It

Any online training you put together for your employees will need to communicate your brand clearly and effectively. Whether you have two stores or 200, your customers will expect that the experience at all of them will be similar, and that goes for online training as much as it does for store layouts, your logo and your slogan.

It’s easy to build online training modules that reflect your brand and its values through color, the narration style, the graphics and images used in it, as well as messages from company leaders or managers. Use your online learning as a vehicle to reinforce and strengthen your brand.

Consider the Delivery

Think about your audience carefully when developing online training. Where will they be viewing these modules — will they be at work, or at home? Does the program require certain browser configurations? Is is still effective on mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets? Determine how and when your employees will be going through their training to ensure you build the most effective courses possible.

Aim for All Levels

Customer-facing employees aren’t the only ones who can use online retail training. Managers, administrative staff, IT and others can all benefit from online training modules that address the issues they may face in their departments, or common HR concerns such as harassment.

Online training courses that keep people up to date about the company’s standards and expectations will remind them that their work is just as important as people who serve customers directly, and that they are expected to deliver on your brand’s promise.



Topics: online training tips, design online training, retail online training

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