Help retail staff sell more by increasing their product knowledge

29 July 2020
Author: Mark Fraser

So far this week, we’ve discussed execution, and highlighted some of the ways that brands can get their execution right regardless of the season. However, execution is just one part of the puzzle when it comes to how brands can help retailers deliver the most value.

Knowledge is just as important when it comes to driving sales. Brands that invest in training retail staff on their category, products and services are equipping them with an extra tool they can use to covert consumers into buyers. This is not just something that’s important with considered purchases and big ticket items; if staff are shown how to establish consumer need, demonstrate a product correctly, or how to bring the consumer along on the sales journey then you’re guaranteed to see an uplift in sales.

Invest in Training Resource

Consumers expect retail staff to be product experts and often, retail staff are expected to do learning on their own time when it comes to new products. When consumers need to consider a purchase, such as on big ticket items like technology or cars, they are almost certainly going to have a multitude of questions for staff.

And whilst consumers are prone to researching products before they hit the store, up to half are still undecided before even they step foot in the door. These undecided consumers are 93% more likely to buy when they’re helped by a knowledgeable staff member.

Which begs the question, are you taking time to impart product knowledge to retail staff so that they can capitalise on those shoppers that are clearly looking for a reason to buy, but just need a little push over the edge?

If not, then you should think about investing in training resource. Research shows that sales are increased by 25% to 50% when shoppers are helped by those that know the brand’s products inside out.

As part of our outsourced field sales, we offer training and advocacy services to our partners so that we can train retail staff on how to be effective and knowledgeable. Our training approach allows retail colleagues to learn at their own pace, in their own learning style, and when the training is complete, we even follow it up with mystery shoppers to ensure the training was effective.

Take the Digital Approach

Traditionally, training staff on product features takes place face to face. However, as shown during the recent covid-19 pandemic, sometimes that’s just not possible. This means that brands need to find other approaches to training, that takes advantage of digital solutions to help keep the knowledge of retail staff in top condition.

This can take place in various ways. Trainers can deliver regular training sessions to staff remotely via video conferencing software, or they can develop apps that show staff different modules related to new products and features, with data being reported back to the trainers to show uptake and use; or you can take more innovative measures that gamifies training, having classes take place in virtual environments.

The latter is something our Microsoft team did recently to keep retail staff engaged and knowledgeable whilst their stores remained closed. They built an entire Currys PC World store from scratch in Minecraft, holding training sessions with retail staff and following up with quizzes to ensure the knowledge was embedded.

With many businesses being forced to move their operations online in recent times, a digital approach is not just innovative, but it can proved to be a highly cost effective way for brands to roll out effective training programs to people all over the country at once. The digital approach could be a game changer.

These are just some examples of the how brands can educate retail staff to generate more value in store. In our experience, we have found that these solutions have a measurable effect on sales, whilst also showing a brand’s products in the best light.

Stay tuned to our LinkedIn Page as we continue to talk about how brands can continue to thrive in retail. If you’d like more information on our training services, or any other field sales services, get in touch.

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