How Online Training Improves Business for Retailers

By Lola Famure

When it comes to using technology to drive profit and brand loyalty, retailers are among the best. From products sold to point of service and inventory management systems used to track and sell them, embracing innovation can become a competitive advantage. With the recent years’ events making digital-first the standard across most industries, companies that pivot to use these tools will end up ahead of the curve in the post-pandemic era.

For many retailers, the global impact of Covid has caused them to rethink their approach to learning. Online learning has become mission-critical in combatting the current wave of the great resignation, an all too common occurrence in the retail space. Retailers that invested in a scalable learning management system (LMS) are already seeing the benefits. Not only have these organizations been able to keep employees updated and informed through a centralized online hub, but they’ve also positioned themselves for growth now that economies have reopened.

Expedite Onboarding
Onboarding new employees while combatting high employee turnover rates is a fundamental action for all companies. And the quicker it happens, the shorter the time to productivity. Time is money, especially in retail. When retailers provide training in an easy-to-access online portal, they’re setting employees up for success from day one. It gives employees access to the training needed to be productive within the organization, and the confidence to commit to growth and development.

Increase Knowledge Retention
According to research and analyst firm Brandon Hall, e-learning typically requires 40 to 60 per cent less employee time than learning the same material in a traditional setting. Efficiency like that would impact the bottom line of any business. Still, in an industry where profit margins can be slim and turnover high, retailers have more to gain than most from implementing e-learning best practices.

Anyone concerned that delivering training through a LMS sacrifices quality for speed need not worry. The Research Institute of America found e-learning increases knowledge retention rates by 25 to 60 per cent, up from eight to 10 per cent for face-to-face learning.

Improve Customer Satisfaction
Finding time to learn is a real challenge for most people. On average, only one per cent of the workweek is dedicated to training and development. In the retail industry, planning ahead for training can be particularly difficult to manage given the ebbs and flows of foot traffic and varying needs of different consumers. With e-learning, training can be quickly and easily accessed, allowing employees to start without interrupting their workflow.

There is a difference between employees using their smartphones to browse social media on company time and employing it as a tool to do their job. When product knowledge materials and company policies are mobile-friendly, it empowers employees to sell with confidence. If they don’t know the answer, they know where to find it in the moment.

Set Compliance Training on Autopilot
While retailer compliance may feel like a chore, it is necessary to protect staff, information, reputation and bottom line. Whether it’s data security, physical safety or employee behaviour, providing reliable compliance training ensures staff and organizations are safe.

By moving from in-person to online training, retailers can save time and eliminate costly human errors by automating enrolments, delivering training and ensuring records are always accurate and up-to-date.

Create a Single Source of Truth
One of the main reasons in-person training has remained a staple in workplaces is because of the value of consistent training. But due to Covid, face-to-face training has not always been an option. Most companies shifted to a fully remote work environment with the onset of the pandemic. Now, many are moving to hybrid work environments rather than returning to an entire in-office culture.

As retailers face many of the same challenges as other industries, implementing an online learning strategy — wholeheartedly or as part of a hybrid model — is an effective way to improve efficiency, manage learning effectively and provide a single, reliable source of truth. There are plenty of ways to get the job done in a pinch but investing in a long-term, scalable e-learning solution gives businesses a solid foundation to combat these challenges and build their future.

Lola Famure is the creative director/writer for Absorb Software, a learning technology company with an industry-leading and award-winning learning management system trusted by businesses, governments, healthcare providers, educators and non-profit organizations worldwide.

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