How to Train your Retail Employees and Turn them into Brand Ambassadors


By Madeline Ana Vidak


With basically every aspect of life moving more into the direction of automatization, technology, efficiency and fast pace environments, retailers have to rethink the ways they are training their retail employees. Why? Because they are the ambassadors of your brand, the first thing customers see when entering your shop, and the feeling they associate with your brand because of interactions with sales people in-store.

They highly contribute to the overall shopping experience of your customers. They will remember if the sales people in the store were friendly, helpful, too pushy and if they actually knew what they are selling (e.g. special offers, alignment with online/offline deals etc.). 

Traditional education is out-dated. It's no longer enough to have a on-boarding when a new team member is joining your company, no matter how well it might be. Continuous learning is key. It keeps retail employees informed about new trends, technologies, communication styles and much more. If there is one advantage physical retail has over e-Commerce it's definitely the real-life human interaction.


In this blog post we will cover 7 points that every retailer should consider when they are keen on improving the overall working space for their employees and therefore also enhance the shopping experience for their customers. The key points are:

  • Hire for attitude, train for skill

  • Feedback: giving and receiving

  • Modern and individual (e-)Learning

  • Why visual information is more powerful

  • Goal setting

  • Team building efforts

  • Turn your employees into brand ambassadors


Hire for attitude, train for skill

There will not only be people with retail experience applying for positions in your company. Some might have more experiences than others. The important factor from an HR perspective is to realize during the interview process if that person is eager to learn, adapt and fits into your company culture. You might be more impressed by a person who has already worked in retail and brings a lot of expertise to the table, but if that person is not willing to adapt to your cultural values and is not open to constantly learn new things, they might not be a good option to go for.


Provide and be open for feedback

Probably the most effective but underrated way to turn your retail employees not only into successful sales people but also into brand ambassadors who completely identify themselves with your company's values, is feedback.

Hosting special employee events once a year or even more frequently, where everyone can give feedback on things they want to see improving or give them feedback on their performance, can highly contribute to a higher identification with the brand.


Modern (e-)Learning


If you want to do things right, then you better deliver learning and knowledge in the way today's learner wants to receive it. Your employees don't differentiate so much from the modern customer. They are used to learn through video and mobile devices - just on the go, wherever they might be. Companies should acknowledge this and adjust their learning efforts to these new environments. Have you ever heard of e-Learning? It's a great way of training that can happen anytime and from any position. Another advantage is that they can be adjusted to different kinds of characters, since every person learns in a different way and pace.

E-Learning platforms are able to create a fun aspect within a training setting. Additionally in those programs, information is more often than not visualized, which has positive advantages as well.


Why are visuals more powerful?

To put it in simple terms: visuals hold more appeal than written text. You probably know yourself that you'll remember complex situations explained in a visual way better than when you read a two-pager about the same topic. The power of visuals shall never be underestimated when it comes to training. Those images store information better in the long-term memory, since they are directly processed in that storage. Your short-term memory by contrast only retains 7 bits of that information. 90% of information that is transmitted to your brain is visual. Furthermore, visual information is processed 60,000 x faster than written text. Do we need to say more? Learners are able to grasp visual presented information easier, since they stimulate imagination and affect the cognitive capabilities. The motivation to learn about new things is enhanced by engaging videos, interesting graphics and more.

Set business goals

To keep your employees motivated and structured, it's very important to set clear yet reachable business goals. Targets that are impossible to achieve are a strong demotivation and will more likely lead to opposite effects than you wish for. It's a proven fact that goal setting leads to higher productivity and performance. If people have a motivational driver they increase their effort and are forced to prioritize - which in turn enhances their long term focus on set goals.

Knowing exactly what's going on and having a clear view on projects and what they are useful for, is essential to keep your employees happy and motivated. There is nothing more frustrating than working hard towards something that you can not really grasp. Goals encourage employees to find meaning in their work and see it in context of a bigger picture instead of only having their own and specific tasks in mind.


Offer regular team building events


It's no secret that people who work together in a company, work better when they enjoy their team, their management and everyone involved in their everyday working day. When they come to work everyday with a smile on their face, you can be sure, they'll stay longer at your company and perform in a more efficient way. Therefore, it's very important to organise regular events that push for team building. This way employees can get to know each other outside of the usual working environment and bond on a personal level as well.

Nowadays, the corporate culture is more important than ever. People often chose to work for or stay at a company where they feel valued and team spirit is set on a high level.

Reassuring your employees that you value their work and motivation should definitely be on your general agenda.


Turn your employees into brand ambassadors

All things above shall move your employees of purely being "sales people" into real brand ambassadors. If they see that you value them, invest in trainings, goal settings and team events, they are more likely to identify themselves with your brand.

This identification will show off in the way they work and how they approach customers who walk into a store. If a person really stands behind the product they are selling, it will hopefully spark over to the customer as well and in turn will raise your revenue to levels where you want it to be.

Enhance in-store communication between your retail employees

How about improving internal communications between your retail employees. We've just learned that visual information and feedback is processed in a more efficient way. Why not apply this to the communication between stores? Check out our retail solution ShopShape that enhances in-store execution.