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The Shift To Online Training: The Trick to Making it Stick

The rise in the popularity of online training, or e-learning, isn’t slowing down, especially in the retail sector.  More and more retailers are building their own Learning Management Systems, or using a third party solution, and are looking for more cost effective, sustainable training solutions. Classroom style training or one-on-one job shadowing type training is falling by the wayside.

At Graff Retail, we have been offering online training for retailers since 2009, so we know a thing or two about this approach to training. 

Consider these advantages:

  1. Online training saves on instruction time.  Video-based training can cover more content in a shorter amount of time, which gets your staff and managers equipped and back out on the sales floor talking to customers and making sales!
  2. Online saves money and resources.  This doesn’t need much of an explanation.  Think of the last training workshop you pulled together for your store managers or your frontline teams?  How much work was that?  How much did it cost to fly them all in to one location, rent the venue and offer lunch?
  3. The very nature of online training makes reinforcing the training more realistic, especially when compared to classroom training.  Sustainable training systems are possible through properly designed online training solutions.
  4. Staff turnover is decreased with any kind of training.  Retailers that are offering online training know that creating ongoing learning opportunities keeps staff in their jobs even longer.

But with all this independent learning going on, how do you know it’s working and making a difference in your store performance? 

Good question.  The biggest mistake is in thinking of the online platform as a place to house your existing training program, where staff login and just read PDF documents or watch videos and sign off thinking they are done. 

If you really want to make your online training effective, you need to create an ongoing system, not a training program that resides on an e-learning platform.  The magic is in what happens out on the sales floor after the training videos have been watched.  Does your online training have a life offline too?  What support tools are you providing to your Managers so they can coach these skills out on the sales floor and keep the training alive on a daily basis?  What components can staff take away with them, after they log off, to keep their selling and management skills top of mind? 

Bottom line: 

If you want any kind of training to work, you have to keep it alive on an ongoing basis.  It’s like going to the gym.  You can’t train at the gym for 1 month and then consider yourself in the best shape of your life!  You have to keep at it every day, every week, if you want to be in top condition.  It’s the same with retail sales and management training.  Training should be a system that is a part of your daily operations, not a program or a workshop that you offer 2 times a year.  If you want to win at retail, you have to train for it…continuously! 

Need help creating a training system? 

Watch this short video and then give us a call! 

905-842-1275 –

Blog Authors: Mary & Kim

Mary GordonKim McCutcheon

Mary Gordon and Kim McCutcheon have been supporting retail front lines for as long as they can remember. A dynamic duo, Mary and Kim understand what it takes to make training work at store level and know how to inspire, coach and support retail teams in all of their training endeavours.

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