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Why employee training matters in retail

Why employee training matters in retail

When you consider how much you invest in your employees, specifically in payroll, you can see how vital regular improvements in service and skills are. Training the staff properly can boost your revenue and reputation as a business. Consider what you could gain from bolstering your current training regimen.

The importance of training
Oftentimes retail positions are hourly, part-time jobs, which lends the industry to be one of reasonably high turnovers because some employees are also students or work second jobs. As a result, it may sound like a waste of resources to invest heavily in ongoing training. In reality, those employees – regardless of how long they remain on the payroll – play a significant role in your store’s success. According to The Retailer’s Advantage, paying employees for one hour of training time can easily be earned back though the resulting increase in sales. This is because they interact directly with customers, who are the most essential factor in your profitability.

Consider all of the seemingly small actions your staff performs that ultimately affect a customer’s experience. From answering the phone to greeting patrons as they walk in and answering all potential questions competently, the details add up to create part of your brand image.

What to cover in sessions
PROFIT outlined four key training topics that can improve your overall success.

Perhaps most importantly, employees must be equipped with customer service skills. If they’re adept at complimenting guests, providing helpful advice and improving repeat business, your revenue will likely reflect it. That skill set, according to the source, can result in the conversion of shoppers to buyers and an increase in value for the customer. Secondly, staff members may be more successful if you hold them accountable for product knowledge. They should be able to recall and recite the details and perks associated with the merchandise, and do so with enthusiasm, PROFIT explained.

Both of those abilities lead you to the third topic – the sale. Help employees understand what questions they should ask customers, how to react when customers are displeased and ways to gage what a shopper is feeling. Additionally, provide tips for closing a sale and suggesting add-on products. The Retailer’s Advantage recommended creating training sessions regarding asking customers for testimonials, gathering customer information for future use and understanding scenarios where it’s okay to negotiate on prices.

Finally, employees can benefit from learning the ins and outs of daily operational tasks. These include opening and closing responsibilities such as turning ambient lights on or off, stocking inventory, providing for store security, handling cash and sales receipts, and receiving product shipments.

How to structure training
Assuming you adopt the tactic to hold hour-long training sessions on a weekly basis, it’ll help to choose a specific topic each week, PROFIT stated. However, you must consider the various learning styles that your employees have. Create a mixture of mediums such as discussions, training videos and hands-on lessons as you move through the list of skills. For example, you could improve on the neatness of store displays and inventory organization by practicing with folding boards.

The source suggested boosting employees’ interest in such training with incentives. Try asking customers if any sales associates helped them and forming a reward system.