Since the retail industry officially met the internet, we've seen a number of significant changes to the way things were once done. Brick and mortar locations are no longer the only places where people can purchase items, as online shopping has become a preferred method for many. Employee training has had to adapt as well.
Online training is becoming an increasingly popular option for companies looking to provide their workers with the best possible training. In fact, the eLearning market surpassed $315 billion in 2021 and is expected to continue at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% between 2022 and 2028 – with no signs of slowing down.
This is especially true in the retail industry, which is constantly evolving to meet the needs of consumers. Retail employees need to be able to keep up with new technologies, changes in products and services, and shifting customer demands - and online training is essential to helping them get there.
What are the benefits your retail employees will reap with the online training? Let's take a look.
1. Learn seamlessly - any time, anywhere
During the pandemic, it was (and still is) important for employees to be able to learn new information quickly and easily from anywhere. More than 20 million new learners registered for online training courses in 2021.
Source: World Economic Forum, 2022
Without the ability to train online, many companies would have had to close their doors – and this is especially true for the retail sector.
Online training remains a common practice in 2022, and 90% of businesses plan to offer some form of online training in the future. Online platforms make it easy to integrate learning with companies’ current systems for an even more seamless learning experience. They also enable retail employees to learn within the flow of work rather than being pulled away from their stations for sit-down training.
Despite this, however, only 14% of frontline retail workers are being given mobile-optimized training programs; outdated computer programs are still dominating, and for no good reason.
Another serious advantage to online training is mobile-friendliness, which gives employees the ability to work on the go. Especially in the retail sector, training platforms have historically felt outdated and only suited to desktop use, but companies are now using them for the needs of a more mobile generation by developing mobile learning platforms and courses that can be accessed on phones and tablets.
2. Save money by re-skilling
Because online training is incredibly flexible in terms of where and when it can take place, employees can be trained more frequently – and this is a great opportunity to re-skill current employees, rather than hire new ones.
This year’s LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report found that 79% of L&D professionals believe it is considerably less expensive to re-skill employees than to hire new ones. The same report also found that companies actively providing opportunities for their employees to upskill on the go (internal mobility) are able to retain employees for twice as long as their less mobile counterparts.
For the retail space in particular, businesses can save considerable amounts of money through online training. Why? Because by using mobile training solutions, there’s no money lost on setting up in-person training sessions and pulling staff away from the shop floor to complete their modules.
3. Provide incentive to stay
Saving money by reskilling isn’t the only financial gain, however; businesses can also cut back considerably by decreasing their turnover rates.
Turnover rates are through the roof in 2022, and are predicted to reach an all-time high this year's turnover statistics. The cost of replacing a retail employee can be between half and two times their salary – and considering that the retail turnover rate currently sits at over 60%, this is cause for concern.
Providing online training for your retail employees is one way to decrease turnover rates and save on the cost of replacement. Studies show that employees who receive regular training are ten times more engaged in their work; not only that, but their companies see a 50% decrease in turnover.
Since online training is far more flexible than in-person learning, and skills development is a top motivation for employees in 2022, it's a great way to keep your employees engaged and interested in their work. They can learn at their own pace, review the material as many times as they need to, and even access it from home.
Tigo is a great example of a company that utilizes online training. With sales agents spread out throughout the entire country, the leading provider of cable and mobile services needed a way to scale up their training for employees and update transfer of vital information.
After implementing eduMe's mobile-based training solution, the company reported a 66% increase in sales in just 3 months and a drastic reduction in training time and cost. Their training was able to pay for itself (and more).
4. Get better outcomes
Just as there are many benefits to online training for the whole company, positive sides for the individual employees being trained are noticeable as well. Online training during the widespread lockdown in 2021 was proven to get superior results than training done in person.
According to research by NovoEd, in fact, 79% of L&D leaders reported seeing much higher performance levels and engagement from employees who had received online training rather than in-person training.
Among other factors, these impressive statistics can likely be attributed to the flexible and self-paced nature of online training. Employees learned in a way that worked best for them, which led to a more successful learning experience.
Imagine being able to hit more sales targets and boosting the customer service standard across your entire retail team? That’s the potential outcome managers can look forward to with the implementation of more engaging and flexible online training.
It’s also worth noting that this style of learning – flexible and self-paced – is far more conducive to long-term knowledge retention. The consistency that comes with the ability to revisit content over, allows employees to stay on top of product information, discounts and campaigns, and other details like returns processes.
5. Train employees in less time
Many companies waste both their and employees' time on training that is not effective; for instance, outdated computer programs or repetitive in-person sessions that simply aren’t engaging. Online training helps to alleviate this by providing a more concise and direct way of delivering information.
eduMe’s mobile learning platform has been found to reduce training time by 70% and increase completion rates by 400%, saving time for employees and money for their employers. Rather than lingering over inefficient and outdated methods of training, employees can now be up and running in a fraction of the time.
Furthermore, by providing employees with specific tools and resources that they can access at any time, online training empowers them with the ability to develop an employee schedule that works for them.
This autonomy is key to the modern workforce, which is increasingly juggling work and family responsibilities. Build a retail employee scheduling strategy that allows them to take training modules at their convenience, making it more likely that they will complete the required training in its entirety.
In 2022, switching to digital training is one of the most time, cost, and labor-effective methods of upskilling your retail workers. There are many benefits for employees and we've gone through five of the most notable - rest assured that online training can offer a whole plethora of advantages to the modern employee.
It's more important than ever for retail businesses to provide their employees with quality online training so they can stay ahead of the curve and keep up with the latest advancements in their industry.
Retailers who don't offer online training may find that their employees are less productive, less knowledgeable about the latest products and services, and more likely to leave for a competitor who does provide this valuable resource.
If you're ready to improve your retail business with online training, consider the benefits outlined in this article - your employees will surely appreciate it!
Rob Press - Content Marketing Manager at Deputy
Rob is a content marketing manager at Deputy, a robust scheduling software that can be used to manage your workforce in a wide variety of different industries. Aside from helping businesses reach operational efficiency, he keeps up to date with the latest trends in SaaS, B2B, and technology in general.