I used to think online retail sales training would be impossible to deliver in a compelling way that would grow sales. But I was wrong.
The Internet has changed not only the way businesses interact with customers, but also the ways in which we can prepare retail salespeople for greater levels of success.
Virtual training offers a wide range of benefits versus traditional training methods for salespeople looking to sharpen their current capabilities and build new skill sets.
Beyond the obvious advantages of your retail employees being able to complete an online course and modules at their own pace and according to their schedules, the best virtual training uses powerful interactive tools that engage today's learner and allow you to track progress in unprecedented ways.
Does online training work for retail?
Before we dive into the benefits of virtual sales training, let’s address a question I know many of you have:
When it comes to retail, does online sales training even work?
My answer is absolutely.
Online retail sales training ensures each of your store associates understands your selling process. It also improves customer service and increases your average ticket price — which means soaring close rates and higher profit margins.
Plus, there’s real data to support the efficacy of online training for retail.
A study by The Wharton School discovered sales associates who engaged in virtual sales training increased their sales rate by 1.8% for each online module taken.
Now, what about in-person sales training? There are pros, but there are notable cons, too. For one, it’s not easy to pull all of your retail employees off the floor and still keep your doors open for business.
If you pile heaps of information on your staff all at once, even veteran employees are apt to get bored or overwhelmed, ultimately retaining little of the sales instruction.
A fire hose of information seems right, but what I’m telling you is that true training must happen in bite-sized moments, which online can do better than in-person.
Virtual sales training that is interactive is an effective solution to growing retail sales. With the right retail sales training online, you get a proven system that trains your employees to:
- Engage with strangers
- Naturally and authentically build customer rapport and avoid customer service mistakes
- Close more deals — and add-on sales more effectively
And it’s not time-consuming, either. With just 10 minutes a week, your staff will get the ongoing support they need to create exceptional customer experiences that sell more in-store.
10 benefits of virtual sales training
Now that you know online training for retail could be a smart option for your store, let’s take a closer look at the specific benefits of virtual sales training:
1. Ease of use
Anyone who has to sell, regardless of their current level of experience, can learn from a wide range of online retail sales training programs powered by intuitive interfaces specially designed for ease of use.
Thanks to virtual sales training, anyone should be able to start the learning process immediately without a lot of explanation.
With sales training online that is fully interactive, you can ask questions of the learner throughout and record their answers in real-time to see how well they comprehend the information.
3. Instant access
Training programs are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Unlike an in-person trainer, your employees can log in and start learning whatever their schedule is.
4. Customization of the process
While many parts of the sales process are universal, some businesses have individual needs.
The best online training programs create additional training materials that can be customized for your retail store. This goes beyond product knowledge to showcase how the associate should present your merchandise or solution, in what order, and with what goal at each step.
Online employee training programs should be accessible from a variety of devices.
Whether learners are on a desktop, laptop, or tablet, they should be able to log in and learn anytime and anywhere. No classroom setting required. You can even use virtual programs for training remote employees.
There are no books to buy or lose, no binders to update and no complicated processes.
The sales training courses are all housed in one area. You can even upload your own job training materials and product knowledge lessons to augment the program.
7. Easy system management
Online retail sales training programs should be turn-key systems that do not require you to commit any other resources or course material to their management. Instruction should be provided to both the associate as well as their manager on how the system works, how learning is tracked, and what success looks like.
The best online training programs have comprehensive tracking and reporting tools, allowing management to see how their employees are faring at an at-a-glance basis.
You can also view statistics that track the pace of each learning program, which can be broken down by region, district, company division, and even individual stores.
This is one of the key advantages online courses have over traditional in-class seminars and training sessions — you don't have to dedicate a lot of time or human resources to enjoy their benefits.
The hardest part of training is knowing what to train, how to make it actionable, how to keep it brief, and how to make it stick. Online virtual retail sales training has figured all of that out — all you have to do is schedule employees to take the training off the floor and hold them accountable for what they were taught.
Rounding out the benefits of sales training programs is certifiability.
Once a learner has successfully completed their coursework, they should have a leaderboard or certificate that shows what they have achieved.
Start training your retail staff online
By taking advantage of an online training course, your salespeople will enhance their ability to attract and relate to customers, convert lookers into buyers, and generate repeat business with your customer base.
It all adds up to boosted confidence, enhanced professionalism, and an excellent return on your investment.
So, if you’re ready to see happier employees and high-value, repeat customers, stop mulling over the importance of sales training — and start training your retail staff online instead.