My favorite topic of conversation at family holiday gatherings is explaining exactly what it is I do.
You know how when you work at a company and you need to learn how to do stuff? Yeah, we like, make the programs that teach you the stuff.
Sometimes I am more articulate than that. But it should be noted that I’m usually mid-meatball bite while I’m trying to explain this. After some very polite questions that indicate they're more-or-less following what I'm saying, I find myself grappling for examples of this “stuff” that we are teaching. And after even more tangential rambling (I am very fun at parties!), I stumble into the realm of retail sales.
So like, if there are new products at a store and you need to learn about them quickly, we would design a course about that information. And you might play a game or do an activitiy or click through some screens to further famliarize yourself with the content.
This always seems to work. Aunts and uncles alike perk up when this example is dropped because it just makes so much sense. I agree with them.
To me, the retail industry seems like the perfect environment for the use of e-learning. Christopher Pappas over at e-Learning Industry validated my assumptions by calling out the following 5 benefits of using e-learning in retail:
- Employees stay up-to-date with the latest products and services
- Improved employee retention
- Increased sales and customer satisfaction
- More knowledge retention and less resource allocation
- Gives retail employees access to information when and where they need it the most
What do we already know about retail? The first thing that comes to mind is sales clerks’ ability to do [seemingly] a million things at once. We’ve all been at a mall on a busy day, watching these super heroes simultaneously re-stock, fold, run a price check, and help a customer. And in the middle of all this, they’re still expected to take the time to learn something. This is when custom e-learning sticks out as the best solution. These employees can use their own downtime to expose themselves to as much or as little new information as they deem appropriate. When we develop custom simulations or gamified experiences, we are also providing learners with the incentive and momentum to continue playing again later.
We also know that retail involves knowing a lot of minutiae about lots and lots of different products. Are these gloves water proof? Do these shoes come in black? When you say, “slim fit,” how slim are we talking? When you’re working on the floor, you’re responsible for having the answers to these questions committed to memory. Remember using flashcards in school, and how helpful those were when you needed to study for a test? E-learning in retail has a similar effect. By practicing and taking the time to re-access this knowledge, learners have a higher rate of retention, thus creating a better experience for everyone else in the store.
Which leads me to what I think is the most important connection between custom e-learning and retail: increased sales. At the end of the day, we are working for you, and we want your business to develop and thrive. Customers are more likely to trust in and generally enjoy a sales clerk who is knowledgeable about his or her job. There is a greater sense of comfort for customers when they know they are in good, well-educated hands. By learning the content on their own time, and then being able to use it in real-life situations, they are gaining the confidence that’s necessary for a successful sale.
I love when e-learning makes sense and the connection between audience and product are crystal clear. Maybe I’m biased (I am!), but using e-learning as a solution to your retail training needs is an incredibly effective way to ensure the success of your learners. And at the very least, it gives me something to talk about with my family.