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Training Gets Tills Ringing in Retail


Eighty-five per cent of shoppers would leave a store for another if sales staff do not fully understand the product they are selling.

A telephone survey, commissioned by the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI), asked 1000 people about their expectations of retail staff and found that over two-thirds of those questioned (67%) said they had gone home without buying a product because they found that the sales staff were not helpful.

The survey results emphasise the importance of training retail workers. Tasleem Chaudary, an ALI inspector of retail training said: “The results of our survey demonstrate that the high street stores that invest in staff training are those which are more likely to make the sale, particularly when the customer needs advice on the product they are looking for. This survey shows that good-quality training will have an impact on the bottom line."

The industry, which employs around three million people, takes £236 billion a year. Chaudary added that although informal training is always happening on the shop floor there are fewer retailers that invest in apprenticeships or NVQs.

Nigel Broome, Chief Executive of Skillsmart Retail, the sector skills council for the retail industry said that it was crucial employers committed to high quality training.

“The results of this survey highlight very clearly the value that customers place upon service generally and product knowledge in particular. The best retailers already know that it is service that will remain the point of competitive difference for the foreseeable future – making sure that staff understand the products they sell is crucial and could be the difference between a sale and a lost customer,” he said.


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