5 Ways To Use AR and VR for Retail Training

With the growing interest surrounding virtual and augmented reality technologies within employee training, retail companies are looking to level up their training courses with these technologies. But, is AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) always appropriate for retail training?

Luckily for these companies, AR and VR technologies can cover a host of training scenarios, from training on job-specific hard skills to helping employees develop soft skills, immersive reality (AR and VR) can almost do it all.

Read More: AR/VR: What’s the difference for learning?

In this article, we are going to discuss how immersive reality technology can be applied to retail training and take a look at a few examples of how companies are applying AR and VR to their retail training programs.

Why Should AR and VR Be Used With Retail Training?

In the retail industry, time is not only of the essence but time is also money! Companies need to train employees in a way that maximizes the use of their time and minimizes the number of mistakes made on the sales floor.

SHRM - 2018 Employee Turnover Rates

Furthermore, training employees can prove to be a financial risk to companies if employees make mistakes during training. Virtual and Augmented reality technologies offer a dynamic alternative to traditional retail training. These immersive technologies can offer risk-free, real-life environments and scenarios that allow employees to sharpen skills needed for the job.

SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) reports the average of a 60% turnover rate for retail employees. This is why it’s important to give your associates an engaging, immersive work experience from the beginning to get them on the floor faster and hopefully with your company long-term.

Here are a few areas of training where VR and AR technology can be used:

Retail Onboarding

An important part of retail training is getting employees acquainted with the company, products, and branding…and doing it fast. Considering retail associates are client-facing merely a couple of days after getting hired, onboarding can be one of the most crucial parts of retail training. But isn’t onboarding typically filling out papers and attending orientation? That is one aspect of the employee onboarding program, but successful onboarding can be so much more than that.

From allowing employees to virtually tour a sales floor to hosting virtual team introductions, immersive reality can expose new employees to aspects of the job and company branding before it’s time to perform.

Jet.com has launched a VR training experience that allows prospects to experience their office, meetings, and company culture before setting foot in the workplace. This VR training experience lets candidates get a feel for a company brand from the comfort of their own home.

Customer Service Training

We all know the phrase, “the customer is always right,” customer service stands as one of the most important facets of retail training. From navigating difficult conversations to service with a smile, retail employees have a lot to take note of. Companies can use AR and VR training to place employees in scenarios where their customer service skills can be put to the test, all without the risk of true one-to-one customer interaction.

Virtual reality technology can be employed to immerse retail associates in a situation where they must navigate how to appropriately deal with a disgruntled or difficult customer. This type of VR retail training enacts experiential learning, which is believed to be one of the most efficient learning methods. If employees find themselves in a scenario similar to the one they experienced in VR training, they will be able to recall the appropriate methods to navigate that situation.

Read More: The Reality of Learning: VR for Soft Skills Training

Product Knowledge Training

As we mentioned before, strong product knowledge is vital to the success of retail employees. You can put products in front of your associates without even having the products on location. With AR, your associates can see existing or new products and familiarize themselves with all of the components and how it works, right on a phone, tablet or headset.

AR has already played a huge role in getting customers familiar with products before they purchase them. For example, companies like IKEA are using AR for customers to view what furniture would look like in their homes before buying it.

So, couldn’t these types of AR programs work the other way around and help employees familiarize themselves with products? Absolutely! And since many AR platforms or apps can be accessed straight from a smartphone, this type of product knowledge training is much more cost-effective.

Sales Retail Training

Since a majority of retail sales require an employee to interact with customers, virtual reality can offer a stress-free role-play scenario where employees can try their hand at making a sale. Virtual reality role-play can aid an employee in three different areas to help them land a sale

  • Familiarity with products and other people
  • Empathy and an understanding of the customer
  • Conflict resolution

Excellent salespeople connect with customers, and as mentioned before, virtual reality can help employees practice the skills to make meaningful connections in a stress-free, risk-free environment!

Safety Retail Training

Unfortunately, training can require covering some more difficult topics, such as employee and customer safety. In retail, store employees might face dangerous situations where they have to deal with fires, natural disasters, violent customers, shoplifters, or even armed robberies. Companies need to prepare employees with a safe and proper protocol for situations like this. Virtual reality can offer retail training for these potentially dangerous situations without inviting the danger into the training session.

Though these situations come far and few between, it is still extremely important for employees to know what to do in a dangerous situation. Virtual reality experiences can equip employees with the skills and knowledge necessary to react to a dangerous situation appropriately.

Are Your Associates Ready for AR and VR Training Technologies?

As the interest in AR and VR training grows, retail companies should absolutely take advantage of training that is not only effective but engaging and experiential.

To learn more about how your retail team could benefit from AR/VR training, get in contact with one of our experts here.

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