The holiday season is a stressful time for retail employees as they have to handle a storm of customers. Many retailers have to hire seasonal employees to handle the holiday rush, but training can be a difficult endeavor. How can retailers ensure employees learn quickly and retain the information all while working in a hectic environment? Can digital signage provide the key ingredient needed to get employees up to speed?
It's no secret that retailers are constantly training new employees due to high turnover, which can have negative effects on productivity and customer experience. "The retail industry is all too familiar with high turnover and a temporary or seasonal workforce. This means that employers are perpetually training, and in complex product environments, can leave employees ill-prepared to properly educate and persuade a customer," Casey Dubbs, marketing manager for Horizon Display, said in an email.
This situation gets worse during the holiday season, where retailers might hire up to 50 percent more staff, according to a story by Daryl Stokes, vice president of the Hughes Global Media Solutions Group. Digital signage can help deal with this crisis in a number of ways.
Offer training on demand
Managers cannot always be around to reinforce key messages or provide all the information employees need to perform their jobs properly. Digital signage in employee breakrooms can play training videos to reinforce key messages.
"Digital signage can aide the training process and create a robust and comprehensive training environment that educates the workforce in a uniform manner," Dubbs said. Stokes also recommends that digital signage and on-site training should work together to create a better training process.
"The successful retailer will create a practice where new hires are given a place to view information in an 'on-demand' fashion. They can take the time they need to watch and re-watch content until they feel they have achieved mastery — then go out on the show floor with a 'mentor' and experience what they have learned," Stokes said in the story. "By giving the new hire a chance to watch some material in advance, they turn the time with a mentor into a workshop experience rather than just a knowledge transfer."
Digital signage can also help more visual learners understand key messages.
"When looking at digital signage as part of a training program it is important to remember that some employees are visual learners, and to simply tell them or describe a task is not enough," Dana Michaelis,vice president of regional sales at NanoLumens, said in an email. "Digital signage can provide demonstrations and portrayals that can effectively reinforce other training programs."
Improve the sales process
Customers often become frustrated when they ask employees for information on a product, and the employee knows nothing about it. Digital signage can help bridge this gap through information displays on products. Employees can learn facts about the products, which they can then pass along to customers and increase sales.
"As an aide, digital displays can empower employees with the information shoppers are looking for, but also illustrations and product tutorials that can increase product interest and ultimately sales," Dubbs said.
Improve customer experience
Digital signage can also help retail employees improve customer experience. Displays at check out, for example, can be equipped with sensors to alert employees when customers need assistance.
"With the addition of sensors, digital signage displays can help alert employees when shoppers are waiting by the dressing room or are ready to check out," Dubbs said.
Displays throughout the store can also be used to alert employees to open new lines during peak hours or to assist a customer in a particular department.
Digital signage is only one key of many
Digital signage is an excellent tool for providing information and boosting customer's experience, but it can't hold up by itself. Employees still need experienced human trainers to get them up to speed on the hidden intricacies of their jobs. Digital signage can provide the tools to reinforce that training and craft a better holiday retail experience for customers and employees alike.
/ Bradley Cooper is a Technology Editor for DigitalSignageToday.com. His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.