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Retail Training: How an LMS improves retail operations

Like any industry, retail businesses have their own set of needs. When they look for a retail training solution, one-size-fits-all online learning might help a little bit. It won’t necessarily meet their specific training needs.

Like so much in life, a little thought at the early stages of a training and development plan will improve your chances of success.

Retail training with an LMS

Let’s see how a Learning Management System can help you get the most out of your retail business. Bear with us while we go all hypothetical…

Diamond Discs is a popular chain of music stores with around 100 branches nationwide. They’ve seen a massive drop in profits as their customers have turned more towards digital downloads. With finances at crisis-point, they need to find ways to plug the gaps in their processes.

After much analysis, they discover that they are spending a lot of money on a training programme that isn’t delivering the results they are looking for. Despite focussing their training on customer service, they find themselves close to the bottom of polls for customer satisfaction. On top of this, they are losing lots of money every year due to poor loss-prevention, stock management and administrative processes.

How can an LMS improve retail training?

1. Deliver retail training in a more efficient way.

GAME Learning Zone

Diamond Discs’ current retail training program has consisted of instructor-led training, instructional videos and outdated employee handbooks. Every few months, branch managers attend training seminars at Diamond Discs’ head office. Transport costs and instructor fees add up, and the absence of managers in branches can have an effect on efficiency (when the cat’s away…).

Although face-to-face training and classroom sessions have their place, it isn’t the most efficient way of delivering training. With the right LMS and some custom-made eLearning, Diamond Discs can move most of their training online, meaning that the learning content can be accessed at any time and from anywhere.

2. Use tests and assessments to identify learning needs.

Right now, the management of Diamond Discs knows that there are some gaps in the employees’ knowledge but they can’t be more specific than that. Without proper training needs analysis, they have no idea where best to invest their training spend.

Sure they could take a gamble based on the figures they have but it’s that kind of thinking that has put them in their current position.

Most LMSs will come equipped with testing and reporting functions but it’s up to the administrators and managers to use them effectively. Of course, it helps when these functions are as user-friendly as possible. The managers can design a test to assess specific training needs and send it out to all employees. You can then use the reporting function to:

  • find out who has completed the test
  • find out how they have performed
  • identify the biggest weaknesses.

Once they’ve achieved this, Diamond Discs can take their next steps from a much more secure position.

3. Create Learning Campaigns for Individual Issues

One of the most effective ways of training staff is to launch a learning campaign. Diamond Discs have decided to create some eLearning units to help improve customer service. They can choose between rapid eLearning or custom-built eLearning. With rapid eLearning, the company’s own L&D department need to produce a storyboard document listing all of the learning goals and describing how they are dealt with.

Bespoke or custom eLearning involves a bigger financial investment. Diamond Discs would need to outsource the content creation to instructional designers. These learning professionals can deliver the information in a more focused way.

Whichever path they choose to take, they will be developing a course that is individual to their business and something to which the learners can relate. You can apply a learning campaign to all aspects of the retail business and teach anything including:

  • Stock management processes (booking in, storage, etc.)
  • Cash office procedures (cashing up, weekly & monthly procedures)
  • Payroll
  • Improving product knowledge
  • Health and safety compliance

By managing all of their learning materials on an online learning platform, Diamond Discs can also ensure that their curriculum is kept up to date at all times. With this solution in place, they won’t have to rely on employee handbooks and they can avoid the expense of reprinting updated versions every couple of years.

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4. Enable and encourage informal learning

Formal learning (instructional literature, classroom sessions, etc.) is an important part of any L&D programme but it only accounts for 10% of all work-based learning. The rest is achieved through on-the-job experience and interaction with colleagues. As this kind of learning is, by its nature, hard to plan, many managers choose to ignore it.

However, by creating a culture of knowledge-sharing, Diamond Discs can reap the benefits of informal and social learning without having to do anything else. That’s the beauty of informal learning – it happens all by itself! What does this have to do with their LMS, though? Well, today, the Learning Management Systems that are proving to make a real difference to company culture are those that are designed to take full advantage of the missing 90%.

As providers the world’s #1 retail LMS, we have seen retail companies flourish after employing the right tools. GAME Retail is the largest high-street video game retailer in the UK. Since they used the Academy LMS to create the GAME Learning Zone, they’ve boosted employee engagement, improved organisational knowledge and created an online community for their learners. Find out exactly how they did it by downloading the GAME Learning Zone Case Study.

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