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Three reasons bricks and mortar retailers need to prioritise sales training

In today’s retail environment, there’s a number of things your business could be doing which in theory will improve your customer experience by making your in-store and online interactions more seamless.

By RedSeed | August 17, 2016 | News

Reason one: Sales training grows sales (... duh)

Having a lot of analytical minds on the team, we decided to crunch some numbers to see exactly what kind of gains our clients are getting out of our three sales programmes; Sell ‘em Something, Sell ‘em More and Sell it Faster.

We’ve always backed our product to improve sales figures for any retail sales team, and qualitative data has always pointed to this being true (aka our customers keep telling us it’s working for them).

“We’ve been through eighteen consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth.”

PAUL GIANOTTI
Executive GM, Operations
Warehouse Stationery

“Our moving annual turnover is at a record high, and we can attribute a lot of that to how we train our staff.”

KERRY MAEA
General Manager, Retail
Hallenstein Brothers

“Our items per sale have increased by well-over eighty percent.”

KARMA WETERE
National Retailer Manager
Max

We wanted to explore this a little more and find out exactly what the average rate of sales growth was for our clients. Then compare this to the average sales growth of similar-sized retailers who don’t use our training, so we could see how our training measured-up.

First let’s look at the average annual sales growth of RedSeed clients.

We’ve based our figures off the standard 36 month term for a RedSeed client - we could go on and on about why it’s 36 months but, long story short; it’s the best timeframe to embed a new training initiative in a large business and make it part of the business culture, rather than a one-off event.

When you look at the difference between year zero and year three, the average client can expect to see an 11 percent increase in annual sales figures. These numbers alone are quite impressive! But look at what happens when we compare these figures to comparable retailers over the same 36 months.

The average rate of growth of non-RedSeed retailer vs RedSeed retailers is almost half!

Reason two: People always come first

While consumers are beginning to make more purchases online, human capital is still the biggest driver of revenue in retail. Recent research shows that a majority of customers will still visit a flagship store as part of the buyer’s journey. It’s here where the make-or-break moments happen.

Once you’ve tempted your customer inside, what should be the first thing they see? A smiling, helpful-looking staff member. If the reality doesn’t match the expectation, it could mean no sale and – even worse – no repeat visit in-store or online!

“Now, more than ever, the importance of having someone there who looks happy and ready to help when a customer walks into a store can’t be over-emphasized” says Anya Anderson, CEO and Co-Founder of retail training specialists, RedSeed.

Think of training like the science of marginal gains. If you can get every team member on the shop floor to improve one small thing like the way they greet a customer, for example, the collective change and improvement will be unmissable!

Reason three: Great experiences make customers buy

Customers don’t want to just shop anymore. They expect an end-to-end experience that is in line with your brand, no matter where they go, or when they go there.

An ongoing argument amongst retailers is whether or not mystery shopping is a worthwhile investment.

On one hand, detractors will say it only shows a snapshot of your staff based on a single interaction which isn’t necessarily representative of your brand as a whole.

Advocates will say that a snapshot is all you need. If your goal is to provide a consistent experience, many small interactions should be sufficient enough to gain insight into your in store experience.

“Mystery shopping helps identify areas where staff are performing well, and where they need to ‘refresh’ their skills. It helps you be more targeted in training your staff.”

IAIN MANSON, 

Managing Director and Founder
Quality Shopper

Max Fashions, a New Zealand based women’s fashion retailer is a great example of how mystery shopping has been implemented well, and with purpose.

Using Quality Shopper, Max use their mystery shopper results to map the success of their RedSeed sales training programme. This means over time they’ve mapped their mystery shopper results to course completions and the overall training engagement of individual stores using RedSeed Energy as their key performance indicator.

Since implementing RedSeed in the business, Max have seen an overall growth in mystery shopper results of 10 percent across the business. What’s been highlighted by the shift in these KPI results is just how much training engagement affects output, and the overall customer experience within a business.

Not only did they find that increases in RedSeed Energy mapped to improvements in mystery shopper results, they also found the reverse is also true. Stores that saw a drop in energy also saw a large drop in mystery shopping results.

This tells us that when there is less emphasis on training, then there is a drop in performance to customers. This proves that it needs to be constant - not a one off event, so you need to be reminding and refreshing team member skills on an ongoing basis.

RedSeed Energy and mystery shopper increases

RedSeed and mystery shopper decreases

Max have identified four key areas which have shown noticeable improvements across their team since implementing RedSeed Sales Training:

●      Culture – if you don’t embrace RedSeed, you are not embracing Max’s customer service commitment and standards.

●      Language - RedSeed has become part of our everyday language. Coaching cards are used daily on the floor with team members; they use ‘RedSeed Speak’.

●      Feedback - Our service excellence awards, in-house awards based on feedback we receive through Facebook or our website, have increased from a few a month to at least six a week!

●      KPIs - The quality of each interaction has improved which has seen increases in several key areas for Max. Items per sale have increased well over 80 percent which means the average dollar increases too. We’ve also seen a rise in our average mystery shopper results.

Training engagement equals a better customer experience. Simple.

Reason four: Good sales training pays for itself

Now this is where our research took an exciting turn. One of the biggest barriers to investing in training is exactly that... the investment.

When you look at the cost of online training at face-value, it can seem like a large figure. This is often why a number of retailers look purchase an LMS and manage the training in-house, because of the perceived reduction in cost. But when you take into account all of the peripheral costs like; finding cover, travel, food, accommodation etc the cost begins to mount up.

We’ve got more on the hidden costs of traditional training here.

What they fail to take into account is exactly what’s involved in creating and managing training using an out-of-the-box, or even bespoke learning management system.

This article by The Association of Talent Development is sure to dispel any myths about in-house training being cheaper. And, if not, we’ve compared the figures below.

See a more detailed article on the cost of DIY training versus RedSeed here.

Now, it’s all very good and well to say that our product is cheaper, but that doesn’t actually help us prove that good training pays for itself. So we thought we’d let our interactive ROI calculator show you exactly what kind of ROI you could expect in your retail business.

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Montreal-based artist Vladimir Antaki believes that independent retailers are vital to their community’s culture, and has honoured them in his art series 'The Guardians'.

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