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Product knowledge training in retail


January 24, 2019



Microlearning for product knowledge

Product knowledge is essential for sales teams. Whether they’re spread throughout the world or distributed across one town, keeping staff up to date is a headache that needs to be addressed. The issue is particularly difficult for companies with high staff turn over or a constantly-changing consumer goods inventory. Fortunately, there is an answer: below we look at reasons why using microlearning for product knowledge is an effective solution.

What is product knowledge in retail training?

Choose an item that you know EVERYTHING about. Perhaps your mobile phone or that new bike you just bought. Maybe it is the designer outfit you got for your family wedding or your latest kitchen appliance. When you talk about this item, people feel like they are listening to the product manual. You know all the dimensions; can talk about the research behind the design and material choices; are able to list all the colors/sizes/models/etc. it comes in…in fact, there is almost nothing that you do not know. That’s product knowledge.

How Product Knwoledge is built in retail training?

In business, product knowledge is all the above…and more. It is also the set of processes around the product such as the planning, R&D, customer base (who is buying/using the product and for which purposes or goals), and knowing when it is time to end production of this particular version.

Building product knowledge in enterprise has many aspects, but perhaps the most important one is paying attention. Today’s websites deliver as standard a variety of logs and analytics. Are you looking at them? Your salespeople tell you about how it is in the field when they try to close the deal. Are you listening? Paying attention to all this information and sharing it as needed via product knowledge training creates a viable product knowledge cycle.

What has changed over the years?

BI (Before the Internet), most shoppers got their product information from salespeople. (Sometimes we got it from friends who bought the product, but that’s another story.) Since the internet, the majority of shoppers do their research online before even setting foot into a store. So, product knowledge has come onto webpages and via online chats via chatbots or live operators.

Despite that, it is still very important for instore salespeople to have excellent knowledge of their products. Sometimes, we realize that we have just a few more questions when we get to the cash register. Often, what looked perfect online doesn’t look the same when we get up close to it, so we are looking for expert guidance to help us make another choice. Thus, even though the delivery of product knowledge is somewhat different than before, its importance has not changed.

Microlearning for new products and brand consistency

As companies grow, keeping a consistent branding message across branches is important… but difficult. How do you maintain a consistent message all the way through a distribution chain? Furthermore, companies that have a fast-moving product portfolio need to constantly update their staff when new products are introduced. This frequently needs to occur across borders and at scale. Think of an FMCG company that has a global sales team which is introducing new products on a monthly basis: it can take more time to organise training than the lifespan of some products!

Microlearning delivered via mobile learning is an effective solution. The delivery of small, five-minute lessons regarding new product specifications across large teams is simple to achieve. There are some great examples of training microlessons.

Related: Microlearning for staff onboarding

A potential difficulty that could arise from this approach relates to engagement. This is where gamification can come into play. By making learning competitive and offering real rewards for completion and high performance, learners will become even more engaged in the courseware and completion rates will balloon.

Product knowledge training with SC Training (formerly EdApp) for Retail

If you’d like to know more about keeping staff up to date by using microlearning for product knowledge and how SC Training (formerly EdApp) can help your internal training practices with all of the above features, get in touch at enquiries@edapp.com. You can also try SC Training (formerly EdApp)’s Mobile LMS and authoring tool for free by signing up here.

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Scott Whitaker

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