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Taking flight: A digital solution transforms retail training at a major international airport

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Executive Summary: Retail stores in major international airports face several training challenges. There could be a lack of effective employee training due to a large employee base spread across many stores. Due to this, monitoring knowledge gaps among employees becomes another challenge. Retail sector also sees a high turnover rate, which makes training more difficult to implement. Additionally, the lack of ongoing training for existing employees can lead to inconsistent service levels and poor passenger experience. Furthermore, the absence of standardization in training programs can also contribute to these issues. A major international airport in India overcame these challenges. This airport provided efficient training to its diverse retail workforce by implementing RapL. RapL offers standardized and flexible training accessible from anywhere. The airport authorities recognized the need for technology to enhance operations and passenger experience in today’s business landscape. The successful implementation of RapL led to increased employee engagement and satisfaction. This ultimately improved business performance. This blog delves into how the airport tackled its retail challenges. This blog also explores the ways technology can boost operations and passenger satisfaction.

Major international airports are busy transporting millions of passengers. Airports are dotted with retail and hospitality outlets, which attract millions of passengers annually. Passengers often look forward to a great shopping experience before or after their flights. Airports have evolved over the years. Now, they not only offer basic retail stores, but also high-end luxury brands, designer boutiques, and duty-free shopping. In addition to retail outlets, these airports also have an array of dining options. These include fast-food chains, upscale restaurants, and bars. These establishments not only provide passengers with convenience, but also provide an excellent opportunity for airport retailers to generate significant revenue. As a result, many airports are continuously enhancing their retail and dining offerings. These are a key component of a traveler’s airport experience.

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People forget nearly 90% of what they have learnt within just 7 days, unless the concepts are reinforced. That’s why employees swamped with documents, presentations, and classroom sessions are not likely to learn much.

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Importance of retail at major international airports

Airport retail is an expensive and highly-competitive business. This is primarily due to the high-end brands. Retail stores must be profitable, as they generate revenue to maintain and improve the airport. To achieve this, it is important to train retail store workers in passenger interactions, product knowledge, up-selling skills, etc.

Retail sales are an essential component of non-aeronautical revenue, which is the primary source of income for many airports worldwide. The significance of airport retail is highlighted in a report by ACI World. This study was conducted across 900+ airports, representing 78% of worldwide passenger traffic. It reported that non-aeronautical revenue accounted for 40% of global airport revenues. Retail stood out as a dominant contributor. Excellent retail experience are table stakes for airports to continue to be profitable.

The need for a better training solution

In the past year, a major international airport worked with RapL to improve sales performance of the retail outlets at this airport. The RapL platform was configured to enable a personalized training program for employees at retail outlets in the airport. Training was provided on various topics, such as product knowledge, visual merchandising, up-selling skills, cross-selling skills, and passenger handling. Using the RapL training program, retail employees could gain a deeper understanding of the products they were selling. They also developed the skills needed to better engage with passengers.

Through this partnership, the airport achieved its goal of improving the sales performance of its retail employees. Additionally, the training program helped create a positive and engaging work environment. This improved employee morale and job satisfaction. With improved sales performance and a motivated workforce, the airport was able to enhance its reputation and revenue generation. This set it on the course to reach its long-term business objectives.

Let’s take a closer look at the challenges faced by this airport in terms of training and capability development:


  • Lack of effective employee training: The lack of effective employee training in retail stores led to negative impacts on passenger services and lower revenues. Due to a large employee base across several stores, employees were not adequately trained to handle passenger inquiries, provide product information, or process transactions efficiently. Additionally, employees lacked knowledge of the airport’s retail policies and procedures, which caused confusion and inconsistencies in their practices. As a result, passengers felt dissatisfied and trapped. The lack of effective employee training not only impacted passenger satisfaction, but also led to reduced revenues at airport retail stores.

  • Difficult to monitor knowledge gaps: Major international airports are complex ecosystems with numerous retail outlets. Each retail outlet has its own employees. Monitoring the knowledge gaps of all retail employees across the airport is a massive undertaking. It requires a comprehensive training program to be implemented across all outlets, and constant monitoring to ensure compliance. The sheer size of this airport, coupled with the diversity of cultures and languages spoken by the employees, made it difficult to monitor training and knowledge gaps. Often employees within a single outlet, let alone across outlets, show vast gaps in knowledge.

  • High employee turnover: Turnover rates in the retail industry can be high, which means new employees need continuous training to ensure that knowledge gaps are not left unaddressed. This challenge is particularly significant in airport retail, where employee turnover rates are high due to factors such as shift work, low wages, and seasonal demand fluctuations.

  • Lack of ongoing training for existing employees: In airport retail, it is essential that employees stay up to date with the latest trends, products, and passenger service techniques. Without proper training, employees lacked the knowledge and skills to effectively assist passengers and sell products. This resulted in dissatisfied passengers and lost sales opportunities and revenue.

  • Lack of standardization in training programs: Inconsistent passenger service and product knowledge resulted from a lack of standardization in training retail store workers. This also made it difficult to ensure that all stores meet the same standards, which influenced passenger satisfaction and revenue. It is challenging to maintain high standards of passenger service without a standardized training program for retail salespeople. Therefore, creating a consistent shopping experience for travelers was a crucial problem to address.

Retail Training Challenges at a Major International Airport

Digital solution for retail challenges at the major airport

To provide exceptional passenger service and drive sales, it is crucial to have a well-trained and knowledgeable sales team. This is especially important in major international airports. Here, passengers often have a time constraint and still expect high-quality service. However, training retail salespeople in this environment can be challenging. This is due to factors such as large employee base, language barriers, high employee turnover rates, and limited training time.

To overcome these challenges, a digital training solution can be invaluable. Such a solution would allow the creation of interactive and engaging training modules. These modules would also be accessible at any time and from anywhere. This makes it ideal for busy airport retail employees. Digital training can also help address language barriers by providing translations and audio support.

In addition, a digital training solution can help ensure consistent training across different locations. It can reduce the cost and time associated with traditional in-person training methods. It can also provide real-time tracking and reporting on employee progress, and other areas requiring additional training.

Overall, a digital solution is essential to overcome the challenges of training retail salespeople in busy airport environments. By investing in such a solution, retailers can ensure their sales teams are well-equipped to provide excellent passenger service and boost sales.

This airport sought out modern solutions for these and many other related challenges. RapL was introduced as a pilot for the airport leadership team to explore ways to overcome these challenges. Let’s understand how RapL helped them solve these problems.

How RapL helped them solve the problems

1. Digital training platform: Training retail salespeople across a large number of stores was a challenge for this airport. They have numerous stores to manage. Thus, it was cumbersome to carry out an effective training program through a traditional classroom format. However, with the help of RapL’s digital training platform, the airport was able to provide a seamless and efficient training program to its retail salespeople in all stores. The training program is accessible on each employee’s mobile phone, be it on Android or iOS. The native app experience, along with the responsive web application, allows all employees to easily engage with the content and review the materials from anywhere, and at any time. The airport was able to ensure that all stores met the same standards. This led to improved passenger satisfaction and increased revenue.

2. Dashboards for insight and data: Identifying and bridging the knowledge gaps of employees across all retail stores in the airport was a difficult task, due to the large number of employees and outlets. However, RapL’s dashboards made this easier by providing visibility into the knowledge gaps of employees. The dashboards categorize data according to different verticals, such as retail, F&B, duty-free, etc. The dashboards also show data as per various brand outlets, as well as on a group-level and individual-level. This structure makes it easy to navigate the large employee base and identify the gaps. The dashboards also offer valuable insights on activation rates, usage rates, mastery, iterations, and more. This helped the airport pinpoint areas where retail store employees required further training and support. They were able to improve the overall knowledge and performance of their employees. This resulted in better passenger experiences and increased revenue.

3. Standardized and consistent training program: Providing consistent training to a large number of employees across various outlets was a challenge. RapL provided a digital training platform that enabled them to create and deliver a standardized and consistent training program to all their retail employees. The training content was made and distributed digitally. This meant that the variances that often arise with in-person training were eliminated. This helped the airport ensure that all employees received the same level and content of training. This resulted in improved passenger service, increased revenue, and a better shopping experience for travelers.

4. Training on a vast range of topics: Providing training on a wide range of topics to a large employee base across multiple retail stores was a major challenge for this airport. RapL enabled the airport to provide comprehensive training to employees on various topics. For example, passenger greetings, employee styling/grooming, selling in a time-constraint manner, events and promotions, peak hour management, and duty-free. The program’s interactive modules and real-life scenarios allowed employees to up-skill and apply their learning to their daily work. This resulted in an improved passenger experience and increased sales.

Vast range of training topics delivered

Based on these results, the airport scaled up their use with RapL. The following section highlights how they further leveraged the platform for their business goals.

How the airport scaled use with RapL

Having started as a pilot with tens of users, the airport has now scaled up their use of RapL to include 100+ users. They are now leveraging the platform to train their employees for the launch of a new airport terminal. With a reported activation rate of 96%, the airport has been successful in getting employees to participate in the training. Furthermore, there is an impressive usage rate of 80% just after the launch of the training for the new terminal. This indicates that employees could learn and apply the knowledge gained to their work.

RapL’s training solution covers a diverse range of training topics. These are specifically tailored to the needs of the retail salespeople in this airport. For instance, modules on passenger greetings and employee grooming helped retail salespeople create a favorable first impression on passengers by greeting them warmly and presenting themselves in a professional and groomed manner. This helped build trust and rapport with passengers, and increased the likelihood of passengers making a purchase. Similarly, training on selling in a time-constraint manner equipped salespeople with the skills to sell products quickly and efficiently, while still providing excellent passenger service. This is especially important in airports, given the busy schedules of passengers. The peak-hour management training topic helped retail salespeople manage their time and prioritize tasks effectively during busy periods, ensuring passengers received great service even when the store was crowded. Training was also provided on product knowledge, especially for premium items in the duty-free section. Cross-selling and up-selling techniques were also taught to enhance the sales performance of employees. By covering a wide range of training topics, RapL’s digital training solution was able to provide comprehensive training to retail salespeople, leading to improved performance and increased revenue for the airport’s retail stores.

The airport also incorporated internal rewards through RapL. This has been a significant motivator for employees, fostering a culture of continuous learning and development. Due to the training program, retail store employees have demonstrated better performance, leading to increased sales and revenue. This highlights the importance of investing in employee training and development, which can have a significant impact on the success of an operation.

By scaling up their use of RapL, the airport has not only successfully trained their employees, but also created a positive impact on their bottom line. This demonstrates the value of using technology to streamline employee training and development programs in the workplace.

To conclude, the RapL platform presents an innovative solution for businesses seeking to optimize their training programs and boost productivity. Our platform is highly adaptable and can easily be integrated with existing systems, ensuring a seamless transition for employees. Employees are more engaged and retain knowledge with the personalized training experience. This improves their performance and contributes to the success of the business. RapL is committed to helping organizations achieve their training objectives efficiently and effectively. Contact us to learn more about our platform.

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It’s like giving them a personal tutor in their pocket, ready to dish out nuggets of wisdom whenever and wherever they are.Picture this: you’re waiting for your morning coffee, idly scrolling through your phone. Instead of mindlessly browsing memes (Yes! we all do it), why not spend a few minutes diving into a quick lesson on sales skills or product knowledge? With Mobile Microlearning, the possibilities are endless. Now, you might be wondering, why all the fuss about “micro” learning? Well, the beauty lies in its simplicity. Rather than overwhelming your brain with a tsunami of information, Mobile Microlearning breaks it down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to digest. It’s like eating a pizza one slice at a time – much more manageable, wouldn’t you agree? Mobile Microlearning breaks it down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to digest. It’s like eating a pizza one slice at a time – much more manageable! But wait, there’s more! Mobile Microlearning isn’t just about convenience, it’s also incredibly effective. Studies have shown that short, frequent bursts of learning can lead to better retention and understanding. When employees retain and understand information, they can actually apply it in their day-to-day tasks to keep improving their quality of work. Enhancing productivity through bite-sized learning How traditional training lowers productivity Traditional training methods often involve lengthy seminars, workshops, and reading through extensive manuals. While these approaches may have worked in the era of dial-up internet and VHS tapes, they’re about as outdated as a fax machine in a world of smartphones. They can be quite time-consuming and disruptive in today’s fast-paced work environment! Employees are often juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities, making it challenging to dedicate large blocks of time to training sessions. As a result, traditional training methods may not only disrupt employees’ work but also fail to deliver the desired outcomes due to information overload and lack of engagement. Information overload can best be understood as that situation which arises when there is so much relevant and potentially useful information available that it becomes a hindrance rather than a help (Bawden & Robinson, 2020). When employees are bombarded with too much information at one time, they end up feeling like they’ve been hit by a knowledge tsunami – they struggle to keep their heads above water, let alone remember what they’ve learned. They may not learn and retain key concepts. This means they don’t absorb anything well enough to apply it and enhance their quality of work. When employees aren’t engaged, they tend to lose interest during seminars and training sessions. They might find the sessions boring or not relevant to their job, so they don’t pay attention. As a result, they don’t actually learn or retain the information. Eventually, it’s all forgotten, and there is no improvement in the quality of work or productivity. In essence, traditional training may feel like investing in a gym membership and only using the sauna – it’s a lot of effort with little to show for it. It becomes a waste of valuable resources, failing to equip employees with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in their roles and contribute to organizational success. Traditional training methods often involve lengthy seminars, workshops, and reading through extensive manuals. They can be time-consuming and disruptive in today’s fast-paced work environment. How mobile microlearning solves the problem Microlearning offers a refreshing escape from this training treadmill by breaking down complex topics into small, digestible modules. 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