Using e-Learning to Gain Competitive Advantage in the Australian Retail Industry

With
the evolving retail
environment
 and
customers shifting to online channels for purchase, the emphasis is to build a
workforce that is not only focused on sales but is keen on pleasing the
customer with high levels of customer service. 

As far as industries go, retail is one of the largest in the
world; currently worth USD 600 billion and it’s set to nearly double to USD 1 trillion by 2020.  But right now, the industry is facing
considerable challenges to anticipate evolving customer demands.

In Australia, that includes sales staff knowing intimately
what they’re selling. Customers today are more conscious and demand more
knowledge on the products they’re thinking of purchasing.  That is why it’s important to give them the required
training.

You can learn more about e-learning for procurement and supply chain on our e-learning page.

Presently retail companies opt for several employee training programs to train their staff on
different aspects of their jobs. It is critical to provide adequate training as
a large percentage of the retail workforce deals directly with customers. For
example, the floor sales staff must be familiar with the internal processes of the company, product
details and sales’ best practices.

Efficient Investment
in Training

As Australian Retailers
Association
recently wrote, “employee training is an essential
investment to ensure your staff can efficiently manage all aspects of your
retail business. A well-trained employee is more productive and more
fulfilled”.

It’s no surprise that one of the top 7 viable areas of
investment is employee training.

As
a modern learning solution, e-learning helps bridge this gap by delivering
effective training with use of efficient learning solutions at a fraction of
the cost that is incurred using traditional modes of training. 

Benefits of e-Learning

Most of the world’s largest retail companies now use e-learning as a key
aspect of their staff training and development processes. Adopting digital
learning for training brings many benefits to the retail industry, and retail
players can make the best use of this mode of training to create a positive
impact.

Indeed, e-learning in retail brings value to brand and people.  Here are some of the benefits
of adopting digital learning
 for the retail sector: 

Speed of
implementation

One of the advantages
of e-learning courses
 is that they are easy to deploy since there
are no limitations of time and place. It is up to the retailers to find the
right training programs that are updated with the latest information on new
products or policies, delivered in a consistent manner.

For instance, for sales staff working on the shop floor, information on
products is crucial to help them make effective sales and answer customer
queries. In such cases, product training is crucial. A good way for effective
training is to provide product information in the form of microlearning modules
that can be accessed by employees on their mobile devices. In this way,
employees can quickly refer to this information before making a sales
pitch. 

Cut down costs

The retail workforce is certainly vast, and it is a challenge to get
employees together at one place for training since it might not be
cost-effective. The good thing about e-learning courses is that employees can
follow their training at different locations simultaneously, and on diverse training
topics, based on what is required.

This helps to save costs compared to traditional learning, which incurs
travel costs, and costs for location and classroom materials. It is a great
benefit for global companies since all their employees can be trained on the
same topics in any part of the world. 

Train on diverse topics

Digital learning is flexible enough to meet the demands of various
training needs in the retail sector. These consist of new hire training,
leadership training, operational training, product training or software
training. For instance, for sales training, e-learning courses with
scenarios that cover how to identify customer needs, handle their queries, or make
a sale or close one can effectively teach sales skills to employees.

Scenarios can be used once again for customer service training to teach
employees how to handle customer complaints and objections. Business leaders
should not forget that good customer service adds value to the business and
must not be neglected.

Gay Mortimer, associate professor at the Queensland University of
Technology Business School and retail expert, says a positive customer
experience is now more important than ever. “Retailers will need to consider how they
create not just positive in-store experiences for their customers, but relevant
experiences. In order to do so, retailers will need to understand specifically
who their customers are and what they seek.”

Besides, process training to train staff on in-store procedures can be
delivered as e-learning courses to ensure store operations run smoothly. For
example, animated videos accessible on mobile devices that explain the physical
activities and tasks retail employees have to perform on the shop floor. 

Track learner performance

One of the major advantages of digital learning is that it helps
training managers track learners’ progress. Through an LMS, it becomes easy to
track geographically dispersed employees. This allows managers to find out how
many employees have completed the course, how many are yet to take it, and how
many are mid-way through.

Additionally, an LMS can also be used to send reminders and updates to
employees. It helps managing courses easier, considering the large number of
people to be trained. 

Learn anytime, anywhere

E-learning designed to be responsive can be accessed on multiple devices.
Employees have the opportunity to learn anytime and anywhere because they can
access the courses on the device of their choice. This is mainly significant to
retail employees because they will be able to learn when they have some
downtime. 

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