How to Empower Your Retail Team in 2024: The Crucial Role of Retail Sales Associate Training

The retail landscape is evolving, influenced by shifting consumer preferences, changing shopping habits and the closure of major retail locations. No matter the challenge, effective preparation is key. The onus is on brands and retailers to equip their frontline sales associates with the tools they need to thrive in this ever-changing landscape.

We took a peek into the current retail landscape with our all-new report, linked at the bottom of this article: Empowering Your Retail Team: From Task Fulfillment to Sales Leadership. How does the implementation of performance enablement technology affect frontline employees, their customers, and ultimately, sales success? Quite simply, how can such technology enhance the experience of those on the sales floor?

3 Highlights from Empowering Your Retail Team: From Task Fulfillment to Sales Leadership

  1. The contrast between the before vs. the after

Zebra Technologies’ 16th Annual Global Shopper Study highlights some interesting findings among both shoppers and sales associates:

statistics related to retail sales associate training

In the retail environment, the aspect of engagement is notably absent – according to a 2022 study from McKinsey, the quit rate for retail workers is more than 70% higher than in other industries across the United States. Enabling and empowering retail frontline staff today is crucial for several reasons, enhancing customer experiences, sales performance and consistent brand reputation among them.

To illustrate these points, in the report you’ll meet Marianne, a sales associate at a home decor store. We explore her current day-to-day duties on the sales floor, and then pose the question: what if? What if she was provided with an active and guided experience, one oriented around engagement rather than solely completing tasks?

2. The right activity delivered to the right individual at the right time can be the most impactful

Continuously reinforced product knowledge and training are both necessary and extremely beneficial, particularly in the retail realm as new styles emerge, product lines may be discontinued, and brands may adopt new technical fabrics.

Apart from just instructing associates about products, what about retail sales associate training that align with both the seller’s goals and the goals of the company? Taking a targeted and laser-focused approach, Rallyware leverages internal behavioral data and external sales performance data to do this. With a performance enablement platform, we can both create product experts and enable them for sales success.

The difference is remarkable. Salespeople who actively embraced the platform saw a 3X increase in their average order size compared to their less-engaged peers, our Global Sales Report highlighted.

With a performance enablement platform, sellers such as Marianne receive continuous support throughout the entirety of their day. Whether sorting and managing inventory or assisting customers, she is guided through specific tasks and provided with step-by-step instructions. For instance, a brand may have launched a new line of products for the Spring season. Marianne’s longtime customer, Jane, has purchased several items from previous seasons. Marianne would be prompted to notify Jane, and receive talking points and tips for communicating the new products.

3. The customer experience also takes center stage

The customer experience is essential, and it all starts with the sales associates who directly interact with them (notice the cycle here)? By knowledge that is seamlessly transferred between brands to retailers to associates, brands can optimize how potential customers experience the sale. If sellers like Marianne are well-informed, they become equipped to convey a brand’s narrative and products confidently and with understanding. If they are engaged, that will come across in their interactions with customers.

What’s more, providing real-time access to information such as customer data and purchase history, robust tools such as a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) help sellers establish relationships with customers. Such tools help associates build trust with customers, encouraging loyalty and repeat business. Based on her customer Jane’s purchase history and favorite product styles, could Marianne offer her a personalized promotion? What strategies and tactics would enable her to successfully execute this?

Today, store-level clienteling is becoming increasingly important. As Anthony Sloan, Senior VP of Merchandising and Planning at Swarovski noted in a recent interview with Rallyware, “for stores with high-shelf items, this has always been an element of what you do, but it’s now becoming more involved, more embedded in everyday operations… you’re creating that community connection, that real local feeling.”

In an era largely dominated by eCommerce, there’s still a longing for in-person connections as an integral part of the shopping experience. According to a survey from PWC, 52% of Canadian consumers report that knowledgeable and helpful sales associates are an appealing part of in-store shopping. Providing sales associates with tools to establish and sustain these connections is imperative.

Reimagine Your Retail Associate Strategy in 2024

Instead of a detailed analysis and in-depth report, this report is more of a what if scenario. What might the retail landscape resemble with certain enhancements? With performance enablement technology, this is all well within reach.

Learn more about why retail sales associate training is so important today. Uncover more insights, including customer success stories and a handy checklist for setting your team up for success, in the full report: Empowering Your Retail Team: From Task Fulfillment to Sales Leadership!