Training Apps are Paying Off for Retailers

Today’s retail workers grow up with digital technology. It only makes sense to incorporate that technology into associate training. As retailers struggle to cope with the age-old problem of finding, training and retaining outstanding employees, they’re leveraging a tool that meets today’s workers where they live: digital devices. Millennials, defined as those born after 1981, make up the lion’s share of today’s retail workforce. According to Data USA, the average age of the retail workforce is 37.5 years, meaning those workers entered early adulthood at the same time handheld tools such as smartphones and tablets entered the marketplace. A recent article appearing on Deloitte Insights put it succinctly. “Millennials are digital natives, the article said. “Doing something on a mobile device at work is not a digital experience. That’s just called Tuesday.” And as time goes on, more and more people entering the retail workforce will have known those their entire lives. It’s more than adopting the latest cultural trend, though. Using those devices and the apps they host offers significant benefits for business operators. Deloitte’s research indicates that businesses that empower their employees with smartphones, tablets, and mobile technology enjoy a competitive advantage in recruiting and retention—especially in retail. And nowhere is the potential of those devices more apparent than when it comes to training, especially as retailers focus on service and the in-store experience as a way to differentiate themselves from online merchants. Fashion retailer Steve Madden, Lt., for example, turned to tablet-based training apps as part of an effort to elevate its in-store experience. In early 2018 the company partnered with technology firm Multimedia Plus to adopt MMP’s INCITE mobile associate communication platform throughout its operations, according to a story in retail trade publication WWD. Already used by several major retail brands, INCITE can help retail and restaurant operators improve communications and train employees via interactive, in-store mobile devices. Typical training modules are offering in bites-sized modules of two minutes or shorter, allowing associates to engage with them in the same manner in which they consume other media. INCITE helps train associates via state-of-the-art features including: • Video without streaming• Drag and drop publishing• Branded experiences• Real-time data• Quick and easy deployment• Security and scalability In addition to providing a consistent training experience across multiple locations, the INCITE platform provides managers and executives with data-rich metrics, including progress completing training materials and scores achieved on certifications. They can then measure that data against key performance indicators at levels ranging from individual employees to the entire organization, using that data as part of employee assessments. The platform can track completion dates for courses and prompt employees and managers when training deadlines are near.Steve Madden officials told WWD that its partnership with MMP allows “the sales associates [to] become true ambassadors. They [can] own their own personalized development and are able to build long-term relationships with customers.” To learn more about what INCITE can do for you, email or call 212-982-3229.