Should Your Retail Sales Training Be In-House or Online?

Group of retail staff on their laptops

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The long-held belief for getting your retail salespeople on the same team has been that an in-person training session is the only way to guarantee future sales success.

Bring in sales management and tell them to impart their selling skills to the rest of the staff.

That's the way that it’s done; that’s the way it has always been done.

Which was fine for a while.

But this strategy was inherently flawed. If you’re only telling your top sellers what they need to know, you have to appreciate that they will put their spin on how your instructions and coaching should be interpreted. This was an accepted fact that, before now, was just a part of the program – before online retail sales training.

When possible, a daylong event with me can be the impact day where your sales force is trained and motivated to adopt the selling program I teach. But when I leave, then what?

Until now, retailers had to go it alone for the most part.

Online training gives you accountable information transfer and a strategy to turn your goal of retail sales training into action.


This is key; no facts get lost from person to person.

Have you ever noticed a momma bird feeding her babies? She provides for her biggest first, then the smaller ones, and then the smaller ones. There is a reason the runt baby birds often don’t survive. The same happens when your best and brightest are trained, and then they are to give the information to the newbies. To finish the analogy, with online retail sales training, you get to put the best worm right into every baby bird’s mouth every time.

Here are some general things to look for in an online sales training program:

  • Ability to track the uptake and effectiveness of your programs down to region, district, and store levels.
  • Employees can send questions and receive real-time answers.
  • Actionable, impactful videos designed for today's learners.
  • Content taught by a top retail sales trainer.
  • Certificate of completion to ensure they know their stuff.
  • Engaging, entertaining, and user-friendly interfaces that focus the learner.


  • For your managers, look for things like:
  • Courses that are designed just for managers so they can make the retail sales training stick.
  • Instant access to measurable features and tools to track how your employees are progressing for reward or counsel.
  • One-on-one training delivered to your units anywhere in the world.
  • Scorecards to see how your employees are progressing.


A bonus of this direct interface is giving your sales representatives a strategy to use the information they’ve been given so that the result is consistent across your brand. A salesperson should be able to learn from one source how to:

  • Be genuine and know how to approach, engage, and sell to potential customers.
  • Be more human in an increasingly inhuman world.
  • Build rapport.
  • Get customers to return.
  • Get your merchandise out the door.
  • Make every stage of a sale meaningful.
  • Meet a customer's needs but encourage a customer's wants.
  • Move through every step of a sale.
  • Get the customers to say "Thank you" instead of beating your employees up for a discount.
  • Sell from confidence.

In Sum

Online retail sales training isn't a cure-all if you've hired poorly, have a poor selection of me-too merchandise, or have a lousy location.

But it can give you a competitive advantage if you have a benchmark level of service that will provide an exceptional experience for your customers and move your merchandise.