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What is Retail Training? Benefits & Drawbacks

Updated: Dec 6, 2023


People going through training

Post-pandemic Singapore has seen healthy growth in its retail industry, as evidenced by the year-on-year surges in retail spending. This has widely been attributed to the increase in tourists after travel restrictions were lifted.


Interestingly, 9 in 10 retail business owners in Singapore have cited a lack of manpower in the retail sector. The employee shortage has been linked to a distinct lack of interest by workers to build careers in retail. The main reasons given have included long working hours, low wages and having to deal with unreasonable customers.


Additionally, employees also feel a lack of support and lack of training. In fact, about 69% of retail workers have never attended any formal training for their jobs in the past two years. They often have to resolve situations and challenges hands-on without any prior knowledge.


It is up to retailers to provide adequate support and training in order to encourage higher staff retention and reduce turnover rates.



What is Retail Training?


Retail training aims to equip stakeholders and employees in the retail industry with the tools necessary to navigate the retail landscape effectively and address obstacles that arise during daily business activities. This includes:


  • How to provide enhanced customer experiences

  • Strategies to increase sales

  • Understanding and having detailed knowledge of the products and services offered

  • Maintaining a shopping environment that is conducive, safe and clean

  • Upselling and cross-selling to customers, as well as how to close sales

  • How to handle customer complaints and feedback in a professional manner


In many cases, retail employees are provided with rudimentary knowledge of these aspects during the onboarding process. Very few retailers have a structured training program for their retail staff, and usually, these are the more established brands.



Why Should You Provide Retail Training For Your Staff?


Retail staff are often at the frontlines of your brand. They influence how customers perceive your business and will determine whether customers stay on with the brand and remain loyal. Here are some of the main benefits why you should provide retail training for your staff:



Provide Personalised Customer Experiences


Every customer is unique, with different needs and characteristics. As such, your brand must be able to adapt and provide personalised experiences that are tailored to each individual. Although some standard operating procedures should be in place, infusing a degree of human warmth and personal connection is equally paramount.


That’s why training your retail staff to provide that engagement is crucial. Without this personal element, customers may perceive your brand as impersonal and soulless.



Employ Knowledgeable Staff


Customers will feel more motivated to make purchases from staff members who can explain about products and services in detail. On the other hand, they will feel discouraged if they meet ignorant or apathetic staff.


Wouldn’t you prefer being greeted by enthusiastic staff who can answer questions, as opposed to staff who shrug and look bored while standing around the store? Keep in mind, however, that while enthusiasm can make customers feel more welcomed, it's crucial to maintain a balance. Overly excessive enthusiasm might intimidate or alienate customers.


Knowledgeable staff also serve as an alternative marketing channel, as they are able to recommend the most suitable solutions to the customers' needs. This not only encourages customer conversion but also cultivates customer loyalty.



Boost Potential Increased Sales


Retail training involves many aspects, not least of which includes strategic upselling and cross-selling. Upselling is the ability to convince a customer to buy a more premium version of the product they’re interested in, whereas cross-selling is the ability to sell related or supplementary products based on the customer’s original purchase.


Both of these skills can contribute to increasing the actual sales purchases at your outlets.



Reduce Employee Turnover Rates


High employee turnover rates can hurt a business, and the same can be said for retailers. The more resources you direct towards hiring new employees, the less you have to actually run and grow your brand.


Retaining employees for longer also means that you have a more experienced and skilled workforce. This will go a long way in building a positive working culture in your company and eventually contribute to healthier workplace performance.


Staff that stay with your company for the long term will also improve customer relationships, as returning customers feel a sense of belonging and familiarity when they encounter the same individuals.



Build Brand Consistency


Consistency is very important for any business. You want to present the same level of quality products and services no matter which retail employee is engaging with a customer. This means ensuring that all retail workers across the different departments are familiar with your brand’s products, policies, services, tone of voice, mission, standard operating procedures and so on.


Inconsistency can be detrimental to your company’s image and lead to confusion and loss of trust among customers. A disparity in tone of voice, for example, sends mixed signals and makes it difficult for your target audience to understand your brand’s identity and what it stands for.


Such discrepancies are one of the many reasons why retail training should be made mandatory for any business.



The Drawbacks of Retail Training


Crafting your own retail training program as a company can be challenging. You may not know where to start, or have the appropriate expertise to provide the training. The good news is that TaF.tc Retail Courses are available for training retail employees from various departments and levels.


For instance, C-suite executives from the retail industry may consider leadership programs, whereas front-of-store employees can benefit from customer experience courses.



Final Thoughts


Retail training programs, such as those offered by TaF.tc are designed to help retail employees grow with their brands. The more skilled retail employees are, the more confident they become at their tasks.


The programs can be undertaken by individuals, as well as corporate organisations. Register your interest and find out about TaF.tc’s corporate training programs.


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