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Melrose International

Training the best employees for your store

Not even a superstar employee can succeed without proper training–this blog focuses on training strategies to get you started with your new employees. How to train employees for retailHow to train employees for retail

This is the second in our three part series:  Hire – Train – Retain, focusing on getting , training and keeping the best employees for your shop.  Often in the retail setting, training stops at “how to use the cash register” and never gets into the expectations of the employee, your company philosophy, or a deeper understanding of your product.


If you read our recent hire blog then you have a clear outline of what the job you are training for entails—and if you don’t have an outline, create one now.  Use that outline to walk your new employee through exactly what your expectations are. If arriving 10 minutes early is important, say so. If there is an unstated expectation that employees should sample new bath product, now is the time to make it a stated expectation. And if you prefer that purchases be bagged pretty, with a ribbon and bow, make that known. Also, to ensure your new employee gets a well-rounded understanding of your shop, establish a buddy system and have them work a few hours with an employee mentor as part of their training—this offers a chance for someone with another perspective to share more expectations and experiences.


Your company philosophy can help prepare employees—especially new employees—for unexpected situations, and even position them to grow within the company. For instance, say you left corporate America to start your dream shop and your philosophy is to make a fulfilling working environment. If you share this philosophy with employees during training, you may find that they come to you with ideas for improved scheduling or group outings. On the other hand, if your philosophy is to always put customers first, then you may see they react more patiently to heated customers.

Product Knowledge

How can your employee be engaged by your product if they don’t really understand it? How can they inspire your customers if they can’t talk about what makes it special? As part of training, give your new employee the fast track for each product category. Consider sharing what makes it special, what was hand painted, which companies have special charities and what product is unavailable at other stores in the area.  Or maybe you are doing a special project that can be customized per customer. If your employees fully understand the product they will know how that customization works and can use their understanding to give customers a unique experience and product they will love.

By going above and beyond traditional training and considering what your expectations are, sharing your store philosophy and delving deeply into product you are positioning your new employee for success. It’s worthwhile to spend the time to train employees on these intangibles for—as you’ve seen before—their success will be your success! A good employee will increase business and allow you to focus on other things besides the front lines. For more training ideas we like this practical training blog from The Retail Doctor.

Melrose International is an industry leader in wholesale home décor, giftware, and seasonal items. Providing outstanding products, service, design, and value since 1985!

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