3 benefits of investing in your team now with retail and POS training

Image: Edmond Dantès

Morale is vital to the success of retail: Happy employees make customers feel welcome.

And during times when customers are hesitant about making shopping trips to brick and mortar stores, retailers are wise to address reasons for dissatisfaction among associates.

Retail is always shifting, and even more so during COVID-19.

Investing in your team with training will improve morale and simultaneously boost productivity.

Here are 3 benefits of investing in your team with training in retail and POS skills.

Improve employee efficiency

Image: Polina Zimmerman

Speak to your employees to learn what they view as the team’s operational shortcomings.

Rather than prescribing what they need to learn, ask for their perception and work from there.

Often, they know where they need to improve, but don’t have the tools to do so.

Provide those tools and they will be more confident, and you’ll get a better employee.

Train new employees on important POS features in Retail Pro Prism with structured or on-demand training on the My Retail Pro resource portal, available free with an active Software Assurance plan.

You can download the POS video user guide from My Retail Pro to help your team in walking through the deep features in Retail Pro POS.

Better training at the POS increases transaction speed and improves the checkout experience for your customers.

With curbside pickup, some retailers are using mobile POS to allow customers to pay for orders reserved online from the convenience of their car when they pull up for curbside pickup.

Training on Retail Pro prepares employees for the switch to mobile POS as well, since you get access to all the same tools, whether on mobile or desktop.

Expand team skillsets

Cross-training employees for different jobs boosts morale and protects your business.

An employee who learns various jobs picks up more skills.

That puts an associate in a position for favorable recognition for different talents.

Cross-training also alleviates employee boredom because they’re not in a rut, performing the same tasks every day. 

Periodic cleaning to keep your team and customers safe may not feel like a high-skill job, but putting this task in the right perspective – as something that adds to customers’ ease and experience in your store – helps employees see more value in the task.

Employees who have been with your team longer and are more in tune with store needs can be trained to take up other operations tasks, like X and Z out reports and physical inventory tasks.

Increase employee retention

Employees who feel outdated are generally less happy than those who are up to date on their industry.

Offering employees the chance to learn new skills and improve existing ones makes them more invested in your business, and more likely to continue growing with you.

Your workers feel appreciated and appreciate the opportunity to grow.

In addition, training employees on new technologies and industry changes helps them stay current and do their jobs well.

Training in clienteling skills, too, can increase employee effectiveness on the sales floor and their interest in putting forth more and better customer support.

Customer history tools in Retail Pro Prism offer insights on past purchases and customer statistics to help your associates make more relevant suggestions and land a sale.

With COVID-19’s shift to online shopping, in-store associates have had more occasion to pivot on their daily tasks, with new responsibilities in cleaning and curbside pickup, among others.

Empowering your team to do their jobs well with Retail Pro training keep morale higher and associates happier.

Dubai Hosts Retail Pro University’s SYSxpo Training



Graduates of the 2017 SYSxpo event in Dubai. 


The third stop for this year’s SYSxpo global training tour was Dubai, UAE, where attendees from Retail Pro Business Partners in the Middle East region got an in-depth view of the latest version of Retail Pro Prism.

SYSxpo is a six-day, hands-on training providing technicians with practical knowledge for deploying, supporting, and servicing Retail Pro Prism. The course covers basic installation and troubleshooting as well as Retail Pro Prism’s core features and functionality. Also included are introductions to some of the newest features like the Promotions module, which continues to generate great interest at each of the locations visited so far.

The training was facilitated by Ket Venethongkham, Director of Retail Pro University. “The students attending SYSxpo in Dubai not only had the opportunity to get some very practical hands-on experience, but they also had the opportunity to see Retail Pro Prism working in a large retail environment,” said Venethongkham. “It really reinforces how flexible and robust Retail Pro Prism is when you see firsthand how effectively it is able to handle all aspects of retail store operations.”



Students learning about Retail Pro Prism during the SYSxpo event in Dubai


Students were also given an inside look at more advanced topics like:

  • Deploying Retail Pro Prism under different configurations, including the cloud
  • Leveraging REST and communications API for Retail Pro Prism plug-in development
  • Customizing the client-side user interface
  • Setting up and using the new Promotions module

Attending the Dubai conference were representatives from almost every business partner in the region including Crystal Mind, Diamond Soft, Inditech Middle East, Insight Consultancy Services, PricePoint, Retail Technology SA, and System Plus. Also in attendance was a new partner from Ghana, Cortex Ghana. Qwikcilver, a development partner for Retail Pro, was also represented.

Al Futtaim, one of Retail Pro International’s largest customers in the region, was one of many customers who attended SYSxpo. Al Futtaim also arranged for a tour of Robinsons, a luxury department store located in Festival City, Dubai. Students had a chance to see Retail Pro Prism in action at this location, which was a recent Retail Pro Prism deployment.








SYSxpo attendees had the opportunity to view Retail Pro Prism in action at Robinsons.


At the end of the six-day SYSxpo class, each participant received two Retail Pro certifications: Retail Pro Prism Systems Engineer (RPPSE) and Retail Pro Prism Applications Expert (RPPAE). Attending one of the five SYSxpo events in 2017 is the only way to obtain Retail Pro Prism certification at this time. The cost of certification is included in the session registration fees.

Additionally, technicians who need to renew their Retail Pro 9 certifications can do so at the event for no additional charge.

After the six-day training, some students stayed on for a 2-day workshop on Retail Pro Decisions, the new multi-source visual analytics module for Retail Pro. Retail Pro Decisions leverages Targit methodology, foundational analytics engine used by over 5,500 companies in 60 countries. This training was led by Danilo Rufino, Market Strategy Manager for Targit. The goal of this workshop was to introduce partners to Retail Pro Decisions and provide best practices for demonstrating and selling the solution.




Danilo Rufino (seated, right) demonstrates Retail Pro Decisions for students at the 2-day Retail Pro Decisions workshop following SYSxpo in Dubai.


The next stop on the global SYSxpo training tour is in sunny California from October 23rd to the 28th. The final session is scheduled for London from November 13th to November 18th.

Additionally, a five-day Retail Pro Decisions certification class will be held from October 17 to October 21 at Retail Pro headquarters in Folsom, California.

To get on the registration list, email training@retailpro.comwith your name, email address, and class location preference. Registration fees vary by class.



Retail Pro University Visits Bangkok for Global SYSxpo Training Tour


The 2017 SYSxpo Retail Pro Prism training tour continues in September with a week-long workshop at the InterContinental in Bangkok, Thailand. Open to all IT staff servicing Retail Pro Prism, the event was populated by technicians from Retail Pro Business Partner companies supporting Retail Pro users in the Asia Pacific regions.

Led by Retail Pro University Director, Ket Venethongkham, this hands-on training was the second of five events hosted in key metropolitan areas around the world. The third training event is happening this week in Dubai.

“It’s been wonderful getting to know our partner employees one-on-one,” Venethongkham said. “These are the people that work with Retail Pro Prism day-in and day-out and need to get deep into the technical details. I’m glad we can offer a class that caters specifically to them. We’ve had a lot of fun and many great discussions.”

20 technicians from Retail Pro partners throughout the Asia Pacific region attended the event, including RES Malaysia, Insight Consultancy, Adasoft, Genie Technologies, and Changyi Information Technologies, among others.


SYSxpo is designed to equip technicians to operate and support new features in recently released versions of the HTML-based Retail Pro Prism enterprise POS. Students are particularly interested in the live Skype Q & A session with senior Retail Pro Developers located at Retail Pro International headquarters in California.

The class equips technicians working directly with Retail Pro Prism to successfully install and troubleshoot the software. It also covers core features and functionality Retail Pro Prism, including new features like the powerful Promotions module, which continues to generate great interest. Technicians also gain deeper skill in more advanced topics like:

  • Configuration options for Retail Pro Prism deployment
  • How to host Retail Pro Prism in the cloud
  • Retail Pro Prism plug-in development
  • Leveraging the REST and communications API
  • Customizing the client-side user interface
  • How to build complex promotions


Prism Class Agenda




“We’re seeing tremendous support for Retail Pro Prism in the field,” Venethongkham said. “The technicians are bringing in their biggest retail challenges and want to take full advantage of what’s possible with Retail Pro Prism. I think they’re very happy with what they’re seeing.”




At the end of the six-day class, each participant received two Retail Pro certifications: Retail Pro Prism Systems Engineer (RPPSE) and Retail Pro Prism Applications Expert (RPPAE). Attending one of the five SYSxpo events in 2017 is the only way to obtain Retail Pro Prism certification at this time. The cost of certification is included in the session registration fees.

Additionally, technicians who need to renew their Retail Pro 9 certifications can do so at the event for no additional charge.

The next stop on the global SYSxpo training tour is in sunny California from October 23rd to the 28th. The final session is scheduled for London from November 13th to November 18th. Spots for this workshop are filling up fast. To get on the list, email training@retailpro.com with your name, email address, and class location preference. Registration fees vary by class.


2 Things Retailers Forfeit By Foregoing Employee Training



Providing customers in-store experiences that are unique, fun and yet still profitable is the challenge retailers with physical stores continue to face. The cornerstone to providing that vision to shoppers are employees.

Good employees keep a retailer running; great employees are its heart and soul. They believe in the product, brand or mission of the company. And they are customers themselves, so the know how to make shoppers feel special, convert browsers into buyers and cultivate loyalty.

But too many retailers underestimate the value of trained employees.

Just 35% of employers trained low-skill workers and hired them for high-skill jobs in 2015, and slightly fewer — 33% — plan to do the same this year, according to CareerBuilder. And while 68% of firms say they offer training programs, 50% say the budgets have not changed and 11% say budgets have decreased.

Here are 2 things retailers forfeit when they do no invest in training.


1. Cost Savings

Training can save retailers money. It reduces turnover, and staff retention reduces costs. It’s expensive to hire staff. It also provides the worker with the precise skills needed for his or her current position. It’s obvious that higher-end retailers, such as Nordstrom’s, think of service as a culture and use training to reinforce that ethic.

But smaller and lower-margin retailers are also embracing training for employees.

For example, Dollar General this month announced its full-year sales rose nearly 8%, and noted part of the reason for the sales bump were its managers.

During a conference call, CEO Todd Vasos said: “To strengthen our position for the long-term, we are making significant investments, primarily in compensation and training for our store managers given the critical role this position plays in our customer experience, as well as strategic initiatives.”

Dollar General saw a nearly 1% increase in same-store sales in 2016, and the discounter plans to open 1,000 more outlets this year. “In fiscal 2017, these investments will be focused on an increased compensation structure and additional training for our store managers, as they play a critical role in our customers’ experience and the profitability of each store.”


2. Staff Loyalty

Investing in employee training is a great way to improve your in-store service and get employees “on the same page” about what is expected, desirable, etc. In addition, employees expect some sort of training – Accenture found that 80% of 2016 college graduates expect some formal training from their employers.

Unfortunately, only 14% of employees would grade their company an “A” for the availability of training resources, according to another study from Spherion.

Training can make workers feel more marketable, which is appealing to staff but is often the reason employers shy away from it. Too many are concerned about training staff who will leave for a competitor. Given the high turnover rate at some retailers, it’s a valid concern.

However, while we think of providing high-quality service as driving customer loyalty, offering relevant employee training as a central benefit of a customer-service driven, flexible and creative work culture may be just the way to increase staff loyalty as well.

Two tips for effective employee training when you’re on a budget


How can you improve your team’s performance on the retail floor when you’ve got zero time and a tight budget? The chaotic life of retail often leaves you with little time to focus on proactive improvement and skill building for your sales associates. But continuous employee development is critical for the retailer who intends to build an effective sales team. Here are two quick ways to train your employees in the art of retail – when you’re on a budget.

Leverage Strong Employees for

On-the-Job Shadowing

In most companies, job shadowing is a technique that allows a new employee to learn their role. The employee follows an experienced employee and learns the tasks and responsibilities required to perform their job. This can be an effective way to conduct on-the-job training. But job shadowing doesn’t have to be limited to training new employees. You can use short-term job shadowing to expose employees to different functions during various shifts within the company.

Better performing sales employees can help less adept employees improve their skills by observing their interactions with a customer and providing constructive feedback. Exercises like these will help them understand the value proposition of your brand and understand what is important to your customers.

And the shadow experience doesn’t have to take a long time. Even a few hours of observation and practice can lead to a better understanding and better skill in engaging customers. When employees develop working relationships with employees in other shifts, they begin to communicate, connect different resources together, and create new approaches to problem solving.

Replicate External Training Opportunities

Sometimes, all it takes to help your employees be more effective on the sales floor is to help them develop a better understanding of the software you use to run your retail store. External training opportunities like the two-week Retail Pro training are good ways to help employees use the robust functionality more effectively. However, very often only a handful of employees will ultimately get the benefit of attending an official training.

So ask the few who attend the training to present what they’ve learned to the rest of your employees. Knowing that they will later present the information to their retail peers will motivate your employee delegate to listen actively and work hard to process and retain the course material. If more than one person attends the training, you can ask the entire group to work together and prepare a presentation. For trainings longer than a day or two, you may ask the employees to only prepare a high-level overview of session materials.

By holding several peer-training mini-seminars during various shifts, your entire company can benefit from the material that was presented, and training attendees will reinforce their own newly-gained knowledge by virtue of repetition and cognitively processing it for presentations.

Supporting initiatives like these to allow employees to develop both personally and professionally is critical, and Retail Pro University is happy to partner with you in doing so. Contact us at training@retailpro.com to learn about training options for your employees.