Does sales training need to change in the face of online retail?

The past two years have been explosive for online retailing. Customers who had never purchased online were pressured into doing so, resulting in increased conversions and online sales, along with longer delivery times and a struggling supply chain.

But, with brick-and-mortar retail soon back on the cards, how will changing customer expectations for shopping change the way retailers should sell in-store?

“I think a lot of it depends on what category you’re targeting,” said Anya Anderson, managing director of retail training company RedSeed.

“There has never been a massive need in the high-volume, low-cost retail industry for team members to know a lot about products, and I don’t think it necessarily has to. exchange.”

At the high end, however, it is important that team members have a better understanding of their product line and are able to “diagnose” why a customer is asking for a particular product and what they can do to. help him.

This has become even more important as global and regional supply chain delays have meant that many retailers struggle to keep their products in stock, and rely on converting customers online through endless shopping in stores. aisles can put them on a waiting list of several months for stock.

“One of the key things people need to be able to understand is why a customer is asking for a specific product and then being able to ‘switch’ it to another,” Anderson said.

“In a high-end showroom, you probably don’t store everything: you can have a sofa available in five different colors, but you won’t have them all on hand. So what becomes important is not just knowing your products, but also determining what your customer really needs.

This is one of the reasons Anderson advocates that companies hire staff based on their interpersonal skills and to train their ability to communicate with customers rather than giving them a tour of product information and l ‘call a day.

Customers already have access to product information and reviews online, so if that’s all a seller can offer, they’ll struggle to connect with their customers and struggle to sell.

RedSeed’s learning management system is designed to keep training simple and engaging for employees, and offers courses in the fundamentals, as well as more intermediate and advanced concepts.

“For us, it’s always about changing behavior to improve results,” Anderson said.

“Few organizations create the right internal culture around training, where people want to do it rather than be forced to do it.”

According to Anderson, it is extremely important to make sure that the lessons taught actually reach the workshop, because only then can you be sure that behaviors have changed and that the results will improve.

Inside Retail and RedSeed are working together to create an industry report that will focus on what shoppers want and need from retail staff in order to feel supported, inspired, empowered and empowered. To receive a copy as soon as it becomes available, register your interest here.


To learn more about retail and service training courses, or to request a demonstration of the RedSeed Learning Platform and Content Library,
get in touch.


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Anne G. Cash

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