Welkoop trains sales associates on thousands of products using TalentCards

Welkoop trains retail employees on over 6,000 products using TalentCards.

With over 150 stores across the Netherlands, Welkoop is a leading retail chain that provides pet and gardening supplies. Selling over 6,000 different products, the company had a simple, yet critical training challenge well known to large retailers: how do you train over 1,000 sales associates on every product available?

Independent microlearning specialist Marco Starink helped Welkoop discover a new solution to an old problem: TalentCards.

The problem

Too many products, not enough time

In addition to the challenges that come with training staff on 6,000 different items, much of Welkoop’s product line is seasonal. Staff constantly need to stay up to date on relevant product information.

Before TalentCards, Welkoop depended on its suppliers to deliver this information to its employees. That meant keeping staff after store hours for training in the evenings, since the company could not pull its sales people from the floor during the day.

Welkoop’s training challenge was affecting the company on three fronts: time, money, and manpower. Not only did employees have to stay after work for training, but the sheer volume of information they had to remember was overwhelming.

It proved to be a time-consuming, inefficient way of training … We were looking for a more efficient way, and that’s how we got to TalentCards.

Marco identified the training challenge in a single example: Welkoop carries over 25 brands of dog food, with each brand having more than 20 varieties. That’s 25 different suppliers all delivering very similar training.

Imagine being a sales employee and having to spend 10 evenings a year listening to the same story about dogs. That was completely nuts and confusing for our staff. And that’s where TalentCards came in.

Sales training alone isn’t enough

As a result of after-hours training sessions coming at such a high cost, Welkoop had decided that only employees who work 30 hours or more a week would receive in-person training. As a result, employees who worked only on the weekends weren’t receiving any training at all. Weekends are also the days when Welkoop’s stores get the most foot traffic.

The outcome? Employees with the least amount of training were also handling the largest volume of customers.

As is true of many large companies, a disconnect between management and frontline employees leads to a misunderstanding of the problem at hand. To solve its training challenge, Welkoop initially proposed that its employees undergo additional sales training. It was at this point that Marco identified the underlying problem: a lack of product knowledge.

The staff can go up to a customer and ask the right questions, but what will they answer if they don’t even know how the product works?

His solution? Use TalentCards to fill in the missing product knowledge, and capitalize on the sales training employees had received.

Why TalentCards

With the adoption of TalentCards, expensive after hours training sessions were no longer necessary for Welkoop. The platform’s mobile accessibility made it possible to train all the company’s sales reps— even the ones who only work weekends

The quickest and best solution was to find a learning platform for mobile phones, because everyone has got one!

Using the TalentCards platform, Marco simply creates card sets with the information employees need to know, and shares it with them through the app. Over 1,200 employees at Welkoop have access to all of the product knowledge they need, right from their smartphones.

TalentCards helps keep both part time and full-time employees up to date on important product knowledge, as well as prepare new hires with all of the information they need, right from their first day of work.

Welkoop was used to spending big money on training. So for management, seeing figures, and knowing that I could reach people that we don’t otherwise see for training using TalentCards, made the decision easy.

How is TalentCards different from a traditional LMS?

Since the majority of Welkoop’s employees are deskless, completing training from behind a computer screen through a traditional LMS was simply not an option. The mobility and convenience of TalentCards were key features in rolling out successful product training in the company.

It’s a really easy-to-use learning facility that you always carry with you, so you can learn anytime, anyplace.

In addition to being easily accessible, Welkoop’s training had to be fast, and to the point, to ensure employees would engage with the content. TalentCards’ microlearning design was the perfect fit for on-demand training because it let Marco create card sets that employees could complete in 7 minutes or less.

I think the big advantage of the smaller space is that it challenges me as a microlearning producer to make training focused and efficient. I use a lot of visuals, and a combination of video and small text.

The results

Since introducing TalentCards, Marco has helped boost employee engagement and performance, while slashing the cost of training. The mobile learning platform lets Welkoop capitalize on the sales skills they helped their employees develop by filling in the product knowledge they were missing.

Using TalentCards we actually encourage staff and empower them with the right knowledge of our own product range, so they’re confident enough to walk up to a customer now.

Training has transformed from a costly, inconvenient part of the day, into an efficient, engaging learning experience. Welkoop no longer relies on its suppliers for training, and has eliminated the cost of keeping employees after store hours.

Sales employees have 15 minute breaks. So they have enough time to get coffee, do a little training, and then use it where it needs to be used.

With all of the product training they need right in their pockets, sales associates at Welkoop are empowered to help more customers in the store, every day. That means a better work experience for each employee, and a better shopping experience for every customer.

Download PDF Marco Starink Welkoop

Marco Starink

Independent Microlearning Specialist
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