Why Engagement is the MVP of Retail Training 

by | Jun 5, 2023 | Atmosphere, eLearning, Engagament, HALIGHT

Ahh, the world of retail. A world where the customer is king, queen, and occasionally, the joker. In this world, the difference between a boring and a ‘holy cow!’ experiences lies in how your Sales Associates interact with the customers. Now, I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but cue suspenseful music, your business future hangs in the balance! 

I am kidding, but only slightly. 

Now, let’s talk about that what can turn retail newbies into customer satisfaction ninjas: Engagement in Retail Training. 

First, let’s do a little Retail Training 101. You see, it’s not just about memorizing products or procedures (although that’s part of it), it’s about making your associates understand the ‘Why’ behind the ‘What’. So, when you’re trying to teach your team how to upsell, cross-sell, or sell at all, you’ve got to make sure they’re interested in the first place. 

In fact, a study by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training found that engaged employees are likely to be happier, perform better, and stick around longer. In a cutthroat retail world, where employees often change jobs faster than a chameleon changes colors, having an engaged, satisfied, and stable workforce can give you a significant leg up. 

The How

It’s time to think about the ‘how’. How do you make sure they’re engaged?  

Firstly, make sure that training directly ties into what they do every day. No one wants to sit through a lecture about sales margins if they’re going to be on the shop floor helping customers find the right printer. Make it relevant and show them how the training can help them excel in their roles and, ultimately, in their career progression.  

Next, remember the old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The same applies to retail training. Encourage a sense of community within your sales associates. Regular pep talks, collaboration, and peer feedback can go a long way in making them feel like they’re part of something bigger. 

Gamification is another trick you can add to your training toolkit. Who doesn’t love a good game, right? Transform training into a competition or an adventure and watch your team’s engagement levels skyrocket. Badges, leaderboards, rewards – sprinkle them in like confetti. But remember, the real gain here isn’t just the ‘winning’ but the learning and the application of that learning in real-world scenarios. 

And finally, give your sales associates a voice. Listen to their feedback about the training. Are they finding it helpful? Boring? Challenging? It’s like having a tailor-made suit; the more it fits, the better it looks and feels. The more your training fits their needs, the better they will perform. 

All this might sound like a lot of work, but remember, an investment in your employees’ training is an investment in your business. And you can take that to the bank, literally. 

So go on, get out there, and engage your team. Because when your team is engaged, customers are happy. And when customers are happy, business booms. And when business booms, everyone’s happy!  

The Why

Alright, we’ve discussed the what and how of engaging in retail training. But let’s not stop here. Let’s dive deeper into the importance of engagement in retail training. I mean, we’ve got the spotlight on it, so let’s give it its due screen time. 

Let’s break it down into bite-sized nuggets: 

1. Learning the Material: Remember your school days? Yes, I know, some of you are going, “Please, not again!” But remember those classes where the teacher just rambled on and on, and all you could think of was what’s for lunch? Now, compare that with the classes where you participated, discussed, and debated. Which class do you think you learned more from? It’s a no-brainer, right? Similarly, if your sales associates are actively engaged in the training, they’re more likely to learn and be involved in the process.  

2. Information Retention: It’s one thing to learn something, and another to remember it. I’ve learned the lyrics to numerous songs, but if you ask me to recite them right now, I’d be at a loss (unless it’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’). This is where engagement comes into play again. When employees actively participate in the training instead of just going through it without thinking, they are more likely to remember what they have learned. And in the fast-paced retail world, where a customer’s question can range from “What’s the warranty on this blender?” to “Does this case come in other colors?”, having a memory bank of well-learned knowledge is key. 

3. Increases Applicability: Theory is great, but what use is it if it cannot be applied in practice? The great scientist Faraday said, “There’s nothing quite as practical as a good theory.” If your sales associates are personally invested in the training, it’s more likely that they’ll be able to apply their learning to real-world situations. They won’t be just repeating back learned responses but actually tailoring their interactions based on the customer’s needs. Remember, a happy customer is a repeat customer, and a repeat customer is, well, retail gold. 

4. Comfort with the Material: When someone is actively involved in learning, the material becomes less of an unknown entity and more of a familiar friend. This feeling of knowing makes them feel comfortable and sure of themselves. And in the world of retail, confidence is key. A confident sales associate can easily navigate customer questions, handle tricky situations, and ultimately, close the sale.  

Here’s the cherry on top: For sales associates who engage in training, the sales rate increases by 1.8% for every online module taken! This increase is nothing to scoff at in retail, where profit can be narrow. Think about it — more engaged employees, more sales, happier customers, happier you. It’s a win-win all around. 

Remember, engagement in retail training is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. So, whether you’re a retail giant or a small boutique owner, add a layer of engagement to your training regimen. Your business will thank you. 


Putz, Lisa-Maria, Florian Hofbauer, and Horst Treiblmaier. “Can Gamification Help to Improve Education? Findings from a Longitudinal Study.” Computers in Human Behavior 110 (2020): 106392. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2020.106392

Sailer, Michael, and Lisa Homner. “The Gamification of Learning: A Meta-Analysis.” Educational Psychology Review 32, no. 1 (2019): 77–112. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-019-09498-w

Wang, Yung-Fu, Ya-Fang Hsu, and Kwoting Fang. “The Key Elements of Gamification in Corporate Training – The Delphi Method.” Entertainment Computing 40 (2022): 100463. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.entcom.2021.100463


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