3 Ways eLearning Can Benefit Retail and Other High-Turnover Industries

The way we sell has changed, and the way we train our people to sell has to change to reflect that. In this article, we look at how we can better meet the expectations of modern buyers with eLearning that helps salespeople highlight product USPs, and address customer needs.

Tim is looking to buy a new couch.

He and his wife jump in their car and drive to the local furniture store. They talk to a salesperson who shows them some options in their price range. They like a couple of them and ask for the best possible deal. They’re told they can have a 10% discount. They push for more, but the salesperson re-emphasizes product quality, the brand’s staying power, and their warranty. The couple pay and leave convinced they’re getting the best deal.

Except, while this story would make sense back in the 90s, does it reflect current buying habits?

The whole dynamic of business has changed, and some of the most successful retail businesses in the world do not have physical stores. Customers, meanwhile, are potentially more knowledgeable—it’s difficult for a sales professional to dictate to customers what’s trending, what’s high quality, and what’s reasonably priced. If they need to check anything, customers can get reviews, price comparisons, and easy access to competitor storefronts at a moment’s notice.

Retail sales have become more challenging in the face of increasingly well-informed customers. However, salespeople still need to have fantastic product knowledge. After all, it’s difficult to establish trust with your customers when they know more about the product than your salespeople.

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Why Is It Important to Train Staff With the Latest Information?

When customers arrive at a retail location or digital storefront with their minds made up, there’s still scope for salespeople to add information that secures a sale. However, only through effective training can you equip your sales reps to add value to the customer.

When you get training right, you’ll find that your teams:

  • Achieve higher win rates
  • Offer better solutions to customer issues
  • Accomplish better interactions with customers
  • Successfully challenge client preconceptions
  • More frequently win customer trust

3 Ways That Training Can Address Retail’s Biggest Challenges

Here are three ideas for using training—for not only your staff, but also your customers—to address the challenges of modern retail sales.

1) Highlighting USPs in the Context of Heavy Competition From the Wider Market

There are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of businesses in any given industry that offer the same product range as each other. Nevertheless, those products will differ in some way, whether in terms of design, quality, pricing, or aftersales support. It’s critical that your sales teams are informed about what makes your version of any given product a good option for the customer. However, it can be challenging for them to not only reach this level of understanding but to maintain this knowledge as updates roll out.

You must therefore find ways of educating your workforce that fit around their day-to-day responsibilities. This is one area in which eLearning excels—if it can easily be consumed before a shift starts, or during a break or lull in customer traffic, it will go some way to complimenting the high level of customer education that you can expect from modern consumers.

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2) Training for the Right End of the Sales Process

Customers do almost all of their research into your product, your company, your reviews, your competitors, and your pricing before they walk into your store or check your website/app. They’re probably only there to make a final decision.

It’s therefore important that your salespeople are trained to help customers narrow down options, and challenge them with knowledge that is most easily overlooked or hard to find. eLearning needs to help salespeople win the sale—not to act as a tour guide to items they’ve already seen and made up their mind about.

3) Changing Customer Decisions Through Customer Education

“How to change the customer’s decision” really is a billion-dollar question.

Customer education is the answer—whether via your employees or via dedicated resources aimed at the customers themselves, you need to actively train them to understand the reasons to choose you over your competitors. This process has to happen well before the customer arrives, ready to buy.

Customer education has a number of benefits. For one, it reduces your support burden and frees up your customer service managers and support representatives to have higher-value interactions. However, it can also be fantastic for increasing word of mouth and enhancing the perception of your expertise—the more knowledgable you make your customers feel, the more knowledgable they believe you are!

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How to Provide the Perfect Training Environment

Whether you’re training employees or customers, it’s important to make sure your approach to content delivery is effective and interactive. This is where eLearning, facilitated via a proper Learning Management System (LMS) comes in.

If you want to learn more about how Open LMS can help you improve your sales, please contact us today.

Rakesh Venkatapuram
About the author

Rakesh Venkatapuram

Account Executive for APAC

Entrepreneur, expert in designing digital solutions for small and medium business. Helping APAC businesses in re-designing their e-learning capabilities

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