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What Can the Corporate Training Industry Learn from Online Shopping?

Corporate Training Strategies Borrowed from Online Shopping  

Customer experience and engagement are one of the best marketing investments a company can make. The way online retailers craft their customer’s experience is a lot like crafting a learner’s experience in professional training. Each aspect of learning present on an e-commerce site works towards an objective which will ultimately benefit customers and increase sales. The effort and thought that goes into an employee’s experience should be as important, if not more so, than the customer experience.

Customers Like Learning, too

Luckily, all of the employees that participate in a professional learning activity are also customers somewhere else. They’re used to retail companies providing the answers to their questions in a way that is quick, accessible, and understandable. Since online shopping has helped customers become smarter and expectant of convenience, online retailers have established a lot of groundwork that can be applied to the corporate training industry. Here are a few e-commerce strategies that can apply to professional learning.

Anticipate Questions from Your Users

While it may not seem like it at first glance, customer learning touchpoints are already part of the customer experience in e-commerce. Let’s try following a customer’s e-commerce journey.

Say we are an outdoor retailer and our customer wants to buy a rain jacket online. They will likely have one or more of these common questions: How much is shipping? Can I return this? What jacket should I buy? What size should I buy? What material is this made from and what does that mean? How does this year’s model differ from last year’s? A good retailer anticipates these questions and has readily accessible content or support within the customer’s reach because they know that the right information at the right time is instrumental in making a sale.

Anticipating learners’ questions while planning a training solution works the same way. When learners engage with a training program, it’s important to think of the questions that they might have beforehand and answer those questions early on in the course. In retail, this access to information can clinch a sale, and in professional learning, this information builds context for the learners.

Quick Answers to Common Questions

FAQs are a great way to address common questions, concerns, or objections that customers may have. Links within each answer are a great way to lead customers to more information and actionable items. In our example, “How much is shipping?” “Can I return this?” would be prime candidates for an FAQ page. For instance, “Can I return this?” can provide an answer on the return policy with a link to the detailed guidelines on returning an item and/or a way to start that return.

When used right, this performance support tool can be an effective way to help customers in every part of their journey—whether they’re in the pre-purchase phase wanting to know where you manufacture your products or post-purchase seeking a repair.

For your employees, a handy guide to their key questions can save them time and energy. Instead of spending an hour slogging through a dense employee handbook, for example, they’ll find their common questions already addressed in an FAQ. This tool can also alleviate some of the burdens on managers or learning support team by letting employees easily find answers to their own

Make it Simple

You may have seen an infographic in an FAQ or on other parts of an e-commerce page. These microlearning objects are a great way to tell technical stories in a more understandable way. Take another look at the example question, “What material is this made out of and what does that mean?” Simply describing 2-layer, 2.5-layer, and 3-layer rain layers might be confusing. Instead, provide images to demonstrate each layer type, add a table comparing them in terms of price, durability, waterproofing, etc., and BAM! We’ve effectively helped our customer quickly understand whether that jacket is what they want.

Microlearning continues to be a powerful tool for professional development in corporate training. Our ability to condense large packages of information into something quick and accessible for learners has become incredible, and it’s something online retailers regularly take advantage of. Ease of understanding is paramount in professional learning—adult learners need information quickly and efficiently, which can be achieved with a bit of sprucing up and simplification.

Show, don’t Tell

Fade in. A woman comes into focus wearing the rain jacket as she hikes on a rugged trail in a downpour. A voiceover tells us the new 2019 features of this jacket. The rain stops and the sun crests over a tall peak—and scene. Before our customer even asked the question “How does this year’s model differ from last year’s?” the rain jacket company answered.

Who says learning videos can’t also be inspirational? Video content can be a great way to teach customers and employees about your brand and your company. In fact, there are a lot of ways you already use video to teach. For example, our retail store included these links under that rain jacket: our own review of the product, a motion graphic on how the material works, and a how-to video for cleaning waterproof material.

For some products or services, we use 3D modeling, 360° video, and AR/VR content to help learner interactions be more engaging, interactive, and immersive. As the cool factor goes up, so does the learner’s attention to the visuals and retention of information.  At AllenComm, we’ve developed Siteline to help take visual learning to the next level.

No matter the type, visual media is a great way to capture our learner’s interest, illustrate a process, simplify a complex idea, create interactive experiences, or tell a story. You already invest in great visuals for your customers, so use those resources to make corporate training just as engaging for your employees.

Customers like Teaching, too

Empowered with enough information about your products and your brand, customers can become advocates for your company—and so can your employees.

By creating an employee experience that prioritizes learning and provides performance support tools, you’re giving employees what they need to help themselves and your business.