Retail staff training ideas for 2021: Six awesome examples

Learning and development in the retail industry has its own unique set of challenges. The modern retail employee needs support on the job. They’re not at a desk. They don’t have much time. They’re faced with constant change. But they still need training and in this environment, digital learning is your best friend.

We look at six retail staff training ideas, with real examples to inspire you.

retail staff training ideas

Whether we’re talking about customer service employees with online retailers or floor staff in large retail stores – your goal is the same. Well-trained, engaged and motivated employees who’ll deliver a great customer experience as a result.

Here are six ways elearning can help your retail business to upskill and train employees.

blueprint icon Some of the retail learning examples here have been produced using Learning Accelerator templates. This feature helps you create high quality engaging content 4x faster! It’s available to all Elucidat customers (and free trial users).

giftable exampleMost of these elearning examples can be gifted into your Elucidat account (or free trial) so you can see how they’re made and use them as a starting point for your own content! 

6 retail staff training ideas (+ examples)

1. Quick onboarding for practical tasks

Getting new hires and short term contract staff up to speed quickly is vital for any retail organizations. You can ease the learning curve by pulling together a series of short micro-learning onboarding topics that can be delivered before their start date or on the day they are about to start that particular task.

Quick onboarding for practical tasks

This demo about replenishing perishables is a great example 

  • Concentrate on a single task. Look for ways to make it focused, memorable and easy to view on a mobile.
  • Include a video of a real staff member doing that task – it’s a quick, easy way to show what to do.

blueprint iconLearning Accelerator template| See this example

2. Scenario-based retail sales training

When you introduce new products, you need employees to not only get to grips with those products but also be able to sell them to your customers. Product training itself isn’t always enough, and that’s where scenario-based elearning comes in: bringing the content to life and putting the product knowledge into context.

Click for a demo of how this can work (for both shop-based and call center sales staff), and keep in mind:

  • Scenarios don’t need to be complex; even the simplest scenario turns a fact-checking quiz into a more challenging test of the user’s ability to apply the learning in context.
  • You can direct the learner back to the product information if they don’t respond well in the scenario, reinforcing the learning further.

Scenario-based Retail staff training ideas

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3. Time-saving tailored learning journeys

In retail, confidence, knowledge and experience levels vary a lot between employees. Where some will need in-depth training information, others will only need a refresh.

You can cut down learning time and deliver a better experience by offering choice.

This Returns 101 example starts with an open exploratory menu that allows workers to pick the path that’s right for them. They have the option of a quick refresh, more detail or skipping straight to the quiz. It respects time, but also offers the depth of information if needed.

Open exploratory menu example

Watch the behind the scenes video that explains the design decisions behind this example.

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4. Point-of-need performance support

Sometimes, though, you don’t want to take retail staff away from the shop floor to learn about new products. Imagine a store where the stock changes regularly, though not drastically – like a shoe shop. A solution that lets staff check the details when they need (just-in-time performance support) rather than swot up ahead of time (just-in-case product training) could be a much better investment. It’s also quick to produce and easy to update.

Take a look at the ‘Arthur’ Brogue sales resource as an example, and remember:

  • The focus is on putting key information literally in the palms of their hands, so prioritize responsive design, perfect performance across mobile devices, and visual design that allows easy scanning and quick navigation.
  • This is about point-of-need information delivery, rather than deep learning or behavioural change so interactions may not be necessary; any you do include should be quick and easy to complete on a small touch screen.

on the job microlearning example

giftable exampleGiftable | See this example

5. Get retail staff onboard with in-depth processes

Whilst fast, focused onboarding resources like the one we shared first are great for getting people into their job quickly, sometimes more in-depth process training is needed. For example, your in-store customer service, running refunds, accepting deliveries in a warehouse and more. Yes, you’ll need to go through it step by step, but break it down into short chunks accessed by a menu.  And don’t just tell – show what good (and bad?) looks like, and make it active with contextualized questions. 

in depth process retail training

This example of in-depth retail process training takes new starters through in-store customer service, starting with effective ways to greet customers. It’s built from an Elucidat template so the content can be switched out for whatever your process is about. 

  • The learning is broken down into discreet topics, marked on a menu with clear labels and icons, so users can do a small chunk at a time – we recommend <15 mins per session, max. 
  • Each topic has a different, focused purpose – an overview of the process; a walkthrough of it; showing how it’s done with a video; a practice scenario; and a helpful recap at the end. 

blueprint iconLearning Accelerator template| See this example

6. Make product knowledge stick with games

Product knowledge is, well, knowledge, which can make it hard to stick. No one remembers a manual or info sheet! Look for opportunities to contextualise product knowledge with realistic customer scenarios – pick the right product for this person, for example. Also look to bring it to life with quizzes and games. Games can work particularly well with competitive salespeople!

This example of a product knowledge game is quick to create using an Elucidat template and includes fun feedback, scores and bonus badges.

Quick cook challenge gamification

  • Rewards learners with points and badges, and incentivises them to try again until they get a top score, whilst giving you a SCORM score.
  • Great as a refresher, or as a way to embed or learn new knowledge. Works really well on mobiles on the shop floor, so peers can compete and see who scores the highest.

blueprint iconLearning Accelerator template

The golden rules for retail staff training

There you have it: fave challenges of the retail environment and six ways elearning can help! Why not explore our Showcase for more examples of effective retail elearning?

Responsive design and point-of-need performance support are the two cornerstones of success when it comes to delivering learning and training to retail employees. Give them what they need, when they need it. (Actually, this is good advice beyond retail! See more about elearning best practices here.)

Those topics that do need to be covered ahead of time, just-in-case style, like customer service and other ‘softer’ skills? Scenario-based elearning can be a great way to train your employees, ensuring relevance and encouraging transfer of learning to the shop floor and interactions with customers.

Modern learning for retail: 2020 toolkit