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The Critical Detail for Training Workers in Retail

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Audri Adhyas Paul
March 24, 2024
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Restaurant Customer Service Training

The world of retail is carefully crafted with many interconnected, intricate details. The sequence of the aisles, the placement of products on the shelves – each little detail holds important meanings, and every transaction holds the potential to shape the bottom line. Workers are the glue that holds this intricately detailed world together, and therefore, the importance of well-trained workers cannot be overstated. Whether it's providing exceptional customer service, managing inventory, or driving sales, the proficiency of retail staff directly impacts the success of a business.  

Recognizing this, every retail company invests significant resources in training its workforce, employing various methods ranging from traditional in-person sessions to digital e-learning platforms. However, despite these efforts, a critical issue plagues the retail training landscape: low adoption. In this blog, we'll delve into this problem, and attempt to unfold a solution to transform the way we approach retail employee training.


Understanding the Retail Environment

Before we delve into the intricacies of training adoption, let's first paint a picture of the retail landscape. Characterized by fast-paced environments, diverse customer interactions, and constant operational demands, the retail industry presents unique challenges for its workforce. From frontline associates to store managers, each role requires specialized skills and knowledge to navigate the complexities of the retail environment effectively.


The Problem with Existing Training

Despite the recognition of the importance of training, existing solutions often fall short of their intended goals.  

One of the most common methods of employee training in retail has been the trusty training manual. These comprehensive documents aim to provide employees with the necessary information and guidelines to perform their roles effectively. However, in today's fast-paced digital age, the static nature of traditional training manuals often fails to capture the attention and engagement of modern learners. Employees may find themselves slogging through pages of text, struggling to retain information in an uninspiring format that lacks interactivity and visual appeal.

In-person training sessions are considered an effective way to train employees. However, these sessions come with their own set of challenges, particularly in the retail industry where time is of the essence. Scheduling in-person training sessions can be a logistical nightmare, requiring coordination between multiple stakeholders and disrupting daily operations. Moreover, dedicating valuable time and resources to conduct these sessions may not always yield the desired results, especially if employees feel overwhelmed or disengaged during the training process.

With the advent of digital technology, many retail companies have turned to online training platforms as a solution to their training woes. However, while promising in theory, digital training solutions often overlook the most crucial segment of the retail workforce: deskless employees. Without access to laptops or computers, these frontline workers are left out of the training loop, resulting in dismal adoption rates and incomplete training journeys.  

Even when employees do have access to digital training platforms, they may still face challenges in staying engaged and motivated throughout the training process. Without proper incentives to keep them motivated, employees may quickly lose interest and abandon the training altogether. The average attention span of humans has significantly dwindled in recent years, making it more important than ever to deliver training content in a format that is both engaging and digestible.

In essence, the problem with existing training methodologies in retail boils down to a lack of engagement, accessibility, and incentives. Without addressing these fundamental issues, companies will continue to struggle with low adoption rates and ineffective training outcomes. It's time for a paradigm shift—a reimagining of retail training that prioritizes the needs of modern learners and leverages innovative solutions to drive engagement, retention, and ultimately, success.


The Key Detail in Retail Employee Training: Adoption

At the heart of the training conundrum lies a pivotal detail: adoption. Without widespread adoption, even the most well-designed training programs are destined to falter. All existing training methods fall short in this regard. Workers either don’t engage with training materials, or even if they do, they stop within a short amount of time. So, how can we address this challenge and ensure that retail training initiatives resonate with employees? The answer lies in embracing mobile-first, gamified training solutions that prioritize engagement and accessibility.  

A large portion of the retail workforce is deskless: supermarket workers, cashiers, floor assistants. By delivering training content directly to employees' mobiles, companies can meet employees where they are—both literally and figuratively. This accessibility ensures that training is not confined to the constraints of a physical location or time, empowering employees to engage with the content at their convenience, whether it's during downtime on the shop floor or during their commute to work.  

In the battle for employees' attention, engagement is key. Traditional training materials often fall short in this regard, failing to captivate employees' interest and leaving them disengaged. To combat this, training content must be designed with engagement in mind, leveraging multimedia elements such as videos, interactive quizzes, and simulations to create an immersive learning experience. By incorporating gamification elements, such as leaderboards, badges, and rewards, companies can tap into employees' intrinsic motivation and drive sustained engagement with the training material.

Retail employees often find themselves juggling multiple responsibilities, leaving little time for lengthy training sessions. Microlearning offers a solution to this challenge by breaking down complex concepts into bite-sized modules that can be consumed in short bursts. By delivering training content in digestible increments, companies can accommodate employees' busy schedules and maximize knowledge retention. Moreover, microlearning allows for just-in-time training, enabling employees to access relevant information precisely when they need it, whether it's troubleshooting a technical issue or handling a customer inquiry.  

Incentives and rewards play a crucial role in driving adoption by providing employees with tangible incentives to engage with the training material. By tying training completion to rewards, such as monetary bonuses, gift cards, or recognition within the organization, companies can create a sense of accountability and motivation among employees. Moreover, rewards serve as a powerful tool for reinforcing desired behaviors and fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement.  

One such solution provider leading the charge is spoon.tech. Their innovative mobile-first platform leverages gamification elements to make training sessions not only informative but also enjoyable. Through features like built-in cash rewards, employees are incentivized to complete training modules, earning instant monetary rewards for their efforts. This not only boosts adoption rates but also instills a sense of accomplishment and motivation among employees.


Overcoming Obstacles and Resistance

Of course, implementing a new training paradigm is not without its challenges. Resistance to change, skepticism about the effectiveness of digital solutions, and concerns about data privacy are all valid considerations that must be addressed. However, the key to overcoming these challenges lies in open communication and involvement of employees. Management should communicate clearly to the employees why a new training method is needed, and the numerous benefits it will bring to the employees, such as cash rewards, time saving, reducing the monotony of existing training methods.

Another solution can be rolling the solution out in phases, on a trial basis. Training solution providers such as spoon.tech, for instance, often offer free trials to their clients so that companies can test it out and see how well it is accepted among the workers.  


In conclusion, the adoption conundrum in retail employee training represents a significant barrier to unlocking the full potential of the workforce. By reimagining training solutions through a mobile-first, gamified lens and incorporating tangible monetary rewards, companies can overcome traditional barriers to adoption and empower their employees to excel in their roles. With innovative platforms like spoon.tech leading the way, the future of retail training is bright, promising a workforce that is not only well-trained but also highly engaged and motivated. So, let's embrace this evolution in training methodology and pave the way for a more efficient, empowered, and successful retail industry.

If you found that blog helpful and want to boost the training adoption for your retail employees, get in touch with spoon.tech by filling out this form. You can also e-mail us at hello@spoon.tech and call us at +43 670 655 56 82.

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Audri Adhyas Paul

Hi, I'm Audri, a Master's student in Digital Economy at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and an enthusiast of the food and hospitality sector. Digital transformation in the hospitality sector is an intersection of my practice and passion, and I love to write on that topic. Let's connect on LinkedIn to chat more!

Audri Adhyas Paul

Hi, I'm Audri, a Master's student in Digital Economy at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and an enthusiast of the food and hospitality sector. Digital transformation in the hospitality sector is an intersection of my practice and passion, and I love to write on that topic. Let's connect on LinkedIn to chat more!

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