Improving Retail Skills Through On-Line Training: Case Study
As part of our retail operations practice we frequently are focused on helping our clients by getting our retail training consultants working alongside of the client’s training and development team. The following is an example of how we were able to assist a retailer to maintain growth, reduce expense, and improve profits through implementing an on-line training solution.
The Problem: Managing Retail Growth and Acquisition
One of our ongoing clients is a regional retailer of sporting goods and supplies. With 85 store locations in 13 states, over 800 retail sales reps and store managers, and a plan for rapid expansion through the acquisition of smaller retailers they were encountering a number of challenges which had a negative impact on both their sales revenue and their bottom line. They know that they would not be able to sustain their retail growth plan without addressing the following problems:
- Inconsistent practices across established and new retail locations
- High costs associated with travel for trainers
- Inability to monitor training and other activities remotely
- Inconsistent sales results across territories
- Lost opportunities due to lack of operational knowledge/compliance
The Solution: Improving Consistency and Results by Improving Retail Skills
Whether you have 2 retail stores of 500 locations the issues our client was encountering are not unique. In fact, every multi-unit retailer has issues with cost containment, inconsistent results, and lost opportunities. The key is developing a methodology that allows you to overcome them.
In this case we were able to recommend that the retailer implement a web-based learning portal – commonly referred to as an LMS – that would help them to overcome these challenges. Coupled with on-line retail courses, this system allowed the retailer to ensure that all team members were trained on the basic retail skills they needed to succeed and drive the business quickly.
All Company employees were required to complete training on the Company’s values and history; retail customer service standards, retail selling skills, point-of sale systems, and store merchandising standards. Store Managers were also brought up to speed with retail management courses such as time management, recruiting, interviewing, and goal setting.
These retail courses averaged 15-20 minutes in length so that they could be completed between customers and all retail training could successfully implemented within 30 days of the start.
Additional benefits of implementing the LMS were that the company was able to leverage it for store surveys and automated checklists. That allowed them to track and improve compliance on key activities such as changing out store displays, store maintenance, and even district manager store visits!
The Result: Retail Skills Training Improves Results
As a result of creating a standardized system for retail skills training and reporting the client was able to achieve a higher degree of operational and sales efficiency while reducing training costs.
- Over 700 Retail Reps became “certified” in customer service, retail selling skills, and visual imaging within 30 days
- All Store Managers completed retail skills training in goal setting, time management and visual imaging within 30 days
- Training costs are projected to be reduced by up to 20% per employee on an annualized basis
- Personnel at new locations are integrated into the Company significantly faster than in the past mean fewer calls to IT, merchandising, and the store help-line
- Store compliance for basic merchandising practices has improved by over 15% through using the real-time reporting capabilities of the LMS
Would you like to learn more about how you can improve your profits through implementing affordable retail skills training programs? If so, contact us for a free one-hour consultation and needs assessment!
- David Goodwin is the Principal of the Retail Advocacy Group. As a 30 year veteran of the retail industry he has hired, trained, and performance managed thousands of retail sales representatives and retail managers. You can learn more about instructor-led, e-learning, and other training solutions for retailers at www.retailertrainingservices.com.