There’s no other way to say it: The retail industry has been chaotic in recent years.
Between supply chain issues, the COVID-19 pandemic, cyclical lockdowns, social unrest and economic turmoil, the industry that puts customer satisfaction as a top priority hasn’t had it easy.
Speaking of customer satisfaction, consumer preferences have been rapidly fluctuating too — some say even at hyper-speed! The pandemic turned the retail industry upside down. Lockdowns, closures and layoffs all came at once. Retailers had to adapt or be left behind. Online shopping and curbside pick-up meant a need for retailers to have robust e-commerce platforms set up quickly and staff trained to keep up with new and emerging store trends.
The retail industry has been no stranger to the labor shortage trend. The Wall Street Journal has coined the term, “The Great Reset”, to describe the current retail landscape and the after-effects of labor shortages. We are in an era where old models of staffing are gone and replaced with systems that must provide modern employee value propositions for fulfillment beyond just compensation.
It’s a tough battle to win on all fronts for retailers, juggling customers’ advancing requirements and retaining staff to help keep up with consumer demands during a climate of strong turbulence.
As many of us learned over the past few years, when undergoing a difficult adversary, innovation is your secret weapon.
For many retailers, this innovation comes in the form of learning technology.
Learning technologies have allowed many retailers to prepare employees for success, provide a sense of fulfillment and upskill them to become experts — churning out a team that is well-equipped to successfully deliver the best service possible to your customers, despite all the current challenges in the industry. However, many retailers lack the infrastructure necessary to provide classroom training. Learning technology can help to make training more accessible for all employees.
Without a learning solution in place, it’s difficult to track learning progress and provide accessible tools for success on the sales floor. One solution is to leverage a tool that likely almost all retail employees have: a mobile device, providing a modern, accessible and easy-to-use solution that learners have at their fingertips — making learning available on the go.
With employees having access to sales enablement tools right at their fingertips, they are able to sell products even more effectively, creating exceptional customer experiences.
Accessible learning technology prepares retail staff for success in a way that is employee driven, decreases turnover, boosts employee engagement and delivers better service to customers.
Learning Helps Staff Navigate Change With Confidence
As consumer tastes change, employees are your best asset in meeting these changes. However, they need to be trained to do so!
Regardless of the industry, retailers can use learning technology to help navigate change related to new products, new technologies, new operating procedures and regulatory compliance.
Retailers looking to roll out new in-store trends consistently across different branches, such as promotions and campaigns, will have an easier time delivering the information employees need to pull off activations successfully with a proper learning solution that is easy to use and learn on the go.
Having the ability to track learners’ progress can also help reward top learners, incentivizing staff to become product experts faster and serving your customers better.
Upskilling and Reskilling Provide Fulfillment
In the aftermath of The Great Resignation, the retail industry must reimagine its workforce in order to boost company culture and retain its product and sales experts.
However, these employees will only stay with proper career pathing, as the current labor market craves more purpose and fulfillment within their jobs.
With learning technologies, employees can be trained to take on higher positions, leadership roles or other in-demand jobs within the company. By providing talent with the learning resources available to upskill and reskill, retail superstars can be created and promoted from within.
When workers feel fulfilled and their work has a purpose, turnovers drop drastically and your employees become more innovative and engaged in creating better experiences for your customers.
As best said in Oliver Wyman’s Modern Learning for Retail insights, “The way a company shapes, reskills, and reorganizes its employees will play a fundamental role in its ability to respond to the future of work. Modern learning ensures that responsiveness becomes ingrained and, when done right, a source of competitive advantage.”
While it’s impossible to overcome a pandemic or supply chain disruptions with training, retailers can leverage innovation to play to their strongest assets: their people.
By retaining and uplifting the best employees, your workforce becomes your best line of defense in today’s turbulent business environment, while also delivering the best service possible to consumers.