[Industry Spotlight] Why this Retailer Decided to Train Employees with iPads, not Binders

Recently, we showed you how Inkling helped a medical sales team replace their binders with responsive, interactive content for corporate-issued iPads. It turns out, they weren’t alone when it comes to printing and shipping large quantities of materials globally. This week, we’ll explain how Inkling helped a multi-billion dollar food & beverage retailer upgrade their print-based training materials for their distributed network of retail stores.

The Challenge:

Known for staying ahead of the curve in every respect, this retailer was looking to take their in-store employee training program to the next level. They wanted to replace print materials with a more forward-thinking content solution and solve some of their existing headaches around printing (and reprinting) new content. In summary, the company had two main problems to solve:

1) Print often has a low and uncertain ROI.
Retail employee turnover rates are high, making the time from an employee’s hire date to their first full shift a critical period of time. Training materials play a big role in cutting down the time it takes to get employees up and running—the faster a concept clicks, the faster an employee can apply it on the job—and digital interactivity often has a greater effect on learning than paper.

2) Paper became outdated. Fast.
This retailer regularly updated their training materials, which often forced them to make a painful decision: ship something incomplete, but on-time, or wait until all of the final details were in place, leaving employees with little time to fully grasp the new information. In the end, everyone lost: employees often didn’t have all of the information they needed, and the learning team didn’t have a way to get it to them without spending more time and money on printing and re-shipping.

The Solution:

The learning team began looking for a digital-first solution that allowed for simple distribution to any device. For this company, it wasn’t just about mobile: they also have thousands of corporate employees around the country who needed access to content on their desktop computers, too. With employees that span a range of ages and technical abilities, they needed a flexible solution that catered to all of their learning needs.

The retailer also needed a solution which complemented (and worked with) its Learning Management System (LMS). While the LMS was not providing a sound mobile solution on its own, it was still an important tool for course assessments and administration. They knew it was time to invest in a digital platform, and that’s when they found Inkling.

The Implementation:

1. Creating on-brand content for all devices.
Within weeks, the learning group brought in an entire curriculum of over 50 titles into Inkling Habitat, our collaborative authoring tool. Thanks to a standard template, styled with their brand colors and familiar look-and-feel, all of the new content that they produced looked great.

Even better? The content rendered beautifully across any device size, making it easy for the authoring team to create it once, and trust that it was usable everywhere (even on small phone screens!). To add in some interactive features, this learning team worked with a group of front-end code developers to build some custom widgets into the content, including a choose-your-own adventure video simulation.

2. Generating quick user feedback.
With a digital solution, the learning team was able to roll out their content to a group of beta testers for early feedback. Then, instead of reprinting and reshipping, the team incorporated that feedback immediately, and simply hit a “publish” button to distribute their content everywhere. With rapid development, they moved into an iterative production model; now, they incorporate new learnings at a rolling basis, instead of waiting weeks or months for the next round of content development.

3. Toward a better employee experience.
Employees can now access their content on any computer or mobile device, either through their company web portal or branded mobile app. Single sign-on (SSO) means that employees don’t have to create a new log-in, while management can rest easy about their content’s security.

With a search bar included in every title, referencing content is as easy as a Google search. Employees can also complete built-in assessments within the context of their material, with scores that automatically feed into the company’s LMS to mark the topic complete. Unlike flat paper, the content is interactive and easy-to-use.

The Result:

This company is already seeing success, and expects to make Inkling a global provider for all retail groups. With multi-language authoring and reading experiences, employees in any country will get a modern learning experience in their native language. Part of this success has come from seeing continuous data around every device and user, which allows this company to make smarter content decisions and justify the impact of their hard work to executive management.

In the end, this company didn’t just find an innovative tool that tech-savvy employees love, but also solved existing problems derived from print. Now, they have the power to send updates at the touch of a button, to any device, and receive instant data on how that training content is being received. Most importantly, they’ve better set up their employees—and their business—for success.

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