The world of retail, whether it be on the high street or online, and mobile technology go hand in hand. Now more than ever before, consumers turn to their smartphone or tablet to locate nearby stores, find out information about the latest trends or to make a purchase. There can be little to no doubt that mobile devices will be an integral part of the retail industry. But while this is all well and good for consumers, what about the companies and people that work in this increasingly digital environment? Thankfully, mobile sales training technology is on hand to help them too…
Smartphones that feature digital wallets are making transactions a remarkably straightforward process while tablets act as an all-in-one POS system, personal shopper and inventory database. But mobile devices can also be incredibly powerful training tools for retail staff, especially when you consider the nature of the industry and the people who tend to find themselves in these positions. Even though retail employs around 14.4 million people in the US, the industry also has the highest rate of employee turnover.
Ask any college student or university graduate what career they want to pursue and few will long for a life behind the sales counter. However, seeing as 36 per cent of the workplace will be made up of millennials by the end of 2014, there is an increasing need for the retail industry to appeal to this generation. And one of the best ways to do that is via mobile…
As mentioned previously, several people that enter the retail industry aren’t in it for the long term. A lot of the time, these individuals will be from the millennial generation, a group of active and ambitious youngsters that have grown up with technology, want more from a job than just money and believe the work-life balance is of the upmost importance. With a 35 per cent underemployment rate, lots of millennials find themselves in retail jobs as a simple stopgap to something better.
Even though they still need to be trained, a lack of interest, concern or enthusiasm about the role can make this undertaking rather tricky. But by taking advantage of mobile devices, which are used by almost all millennials and generate a fair amount of enthusiasm and interest, training becomes a lot easier. Especially when you introduce accelerated learning and spaced repetition.
By giving employees the power to make their own decisions and actively participate in learning, they are more likely to absorb information. This is enhanced when training materials are studied a few times over a longer period of time. Wranx Drills for example are short quizzes of 10 questions a day that display both the question and answer, which is proven to improve long-term memory.
Although several traditional retail-training techniques remain effective and successful, the majority of millennials require a little bit more stimulation than just reading off a whiteboard or answering the teacher’s questions. But training via mobile introduces audio and visuals that are much more interesting and engaging. What’s more, employees are bound to be familiar with these devices and will have no trouble responding to questions or tasks. They are going to be more receptive to an interactive learning technique too.
In addition to stimulating sights and sounds, gamification is another training tactic that can be used in a retail environment. Some retailers might set themselves sales targets or bonuses based on commission, but there is no reason why competition can’t be introduced to training scenarios too. Wranx uses science driven techniques that have been proven to increase an employee’s learning capacity by introducing and enhancing competition, engagement, accomplishment and gratification.
Our gamification model gives members of staff the opportunity to attain over 300 different achievements, which are won by demonstrating knowledge about certain topics. By explicitly telling employees know what is required for each award, every individual will know exactly what to do. They will also be able to compete on a leader board against colleagues and associates.
Most of the time, retail-training takes place away from the sales floor in the manager’s office or a back room somewhere. In addition to being fairly uninspiring, it also means that employees aren’t spending time where they are needed most. But if you train your staff using a mobile device, they can be in the right place at the right time. During busy periods, employees can help out customers, be of assistance and ultimately make more sales. But when things get a little quiet, they are able to utilise their smartphone or tablet and start learning on the job. This also provides more scope for real-life scenarios and role-playing in the actual working environment.
While several employees prefer to undertake training during working hours, many would rather acquire new skills in their own time, at a time and place where they feel more comfortable. In a retail environment, certain members of staff might not be at ease or fully focused on the teaching in front of them, which is bound to have negative results. On top of that, information might not be retained and training could well be a waste of time. But here at Wranx, we believe training should be flexible and adaptive for all employees.
By letting staff learn when its convenient and appropriate for them to do so, favourable outcomes will undoubtedly be achieved.
By making our solution available on smartphones, tablets and desktops PCs, employees can start, pick up and put down their training schedules as and when they feel like it. However, as an employer you’ll also be able to update content remotely and track individual progress. With our entire solution hosted in the cloud, there is no need to download client software either. Therefore, even if retail members of staff aren’t interest in long-term employment or an enduring career, training via mobile has benefits for every party. Smartphones and tablets keep individuals engaged, entertained, interested, alert and above all else, successful in their jobs.
Image by: Martin Howard – CC BY 2.0