Retailers get a competitive edge with workplace training

Brick-and-mortar stores are under pressure to reduce costs, shrink, compete online, grow omnichannel and improve customer service in the new retail landscape. Retailers who are competitive and know their customers must provide relevant training to their workers. This will enable them to meet and exceed these demands while staying competitive. Learning must be reinforced on an ongoing basis. This helps retailers transform poor or mediocre customer service experiences into one customers remember and value.

Axonify released the results of its annual State of Workplace Training Study. This study was conducted by Ipsos, a global market research firm. The study was designed to provide a holistic view of workplace training in different industries including retail and to highlight the importance providing the right training to achieve measurable business results.

The Current State of Retail Training

The most striking finding in the research was that 32% of retail employees don’t receive formal training. This is more than any industry surveyed. Only 77 percent of retail workers believe that training is crucial in helping them achieve their key performance goals, compared to 90 percent of all employees. Nearly half (45%) of retail employees receive online job training. The rest receive classroom training.

Comparatively to other industries, retail employees are less likely to believe that training is helpful in their job. Retail associates are reporting a decline in engagement. Only 31 percent said they were very engaged, a drop of 5 percent over the previous year’s survey. Retailers have good news: 92 percent believe that formal workplace training has a positive impact on their job engagement.

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Employees want to succeed in their job. If they are given the opportunity to learn, employees will be more confident and can see that their employer is investing their future. These are some keys to building a modern training program.

  • The importance of experience for every associate. Retailers understand that different positions have different needs. Retail associates with less experience may need to revisit certain elements of product training sessions or onboarding, while those with more experience may require coaching. Associate who work in different areas of the store may require different types of knowledge. To be able to do their jobs well, associates need personalized and relevant training.
  • Provide on-the-job training for associates anywhere and anytime. Low engagement can have a negative impact on retention, productivity, and the bottom line of a retailer. For their workforce, employers must provide on-the-job training anywhere and anytime. Microlearning technology — which delivers content in short bursts to learners via mobile or desktop devices — can be used to help integrate learning into natural workflows. It doesn’t add another aspect to the employee’s already hectic day.
  • Offer employees continuous, engaging learning opportunities. Employees should receive frequent, regular training that is appealing. Employees are more likely to remember information if they are presented in short bursts each day that are tied to rewards or games. One major U.S. retailer used microlearning to reduce the number of safety incidents in its distribution centers, and increase employee awareness and retention regarding safety practices. This organization was able achieve its goals by creating short daily videos that included safety questions and offered rewards.

According to this survey, retailers credit training as a key component of their job success. Traditional training methods are becoming increasingly ineffective because they are too narrow and one-size-fits all. This puts employees at risk of losing their competitive edge and putting retailers at disadvantage. The key to success is to create a learning environment that is less about events and more focused on what workers need in small, bite-sized chunks.


Nine West to File Bankruptcy and Sell Intellectual Property

According to a Thursday report, Footwear retailer Nine West will file for bankruptcy as soon as this week. The bankruptcy filing is not the only matter. The White Plains, New York-based company plans to sell its intellectual property, according to a Thursday report. Authentic Brands Group is a licensing firm that recently announced it would buy clothing brand Nautica. Reuters reported citing sources who are familiar with the matter. Nine West will use the proceeds of the sale to pay off approximately $1.5 billion of outstanding debt. Nine West failed to make a March debt payment. According to the report, Nine West had thirty days to make the payment or declare bankruptcy. Nine West intends to continue operations and creditors will receive shares of the business instead of making debt payments.

Total Retail’s Turn: After a six-year record for retail bankruptcies in 2017, this first half of the year saw its fair share, highlighted by Toys”R”Us closing down. This would seem to be the new norm. Brick-and-mortar retailers that are overly leveraged by debt due to their large physical footprints and declining foot traffic are having difficulty surviving without the help of a bankruptcy filing. Nine West is the latest. Retailers must use their stores to gain an advantage in the omnichannel shop journey. This is more than transactional. To make your store a hub of activity and vital to the future, integrate services, omnichannel fulfillment, BOPIS, ship to store, and experiences.