Training: Empowering eCommerce Merchants with Knowledge

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A web store’s success will depend on how well a team adopts and understands the software used to run it. This includes not only the eCommerce engine underneath the website, which could be Magento, but also any integrations or services that enhance the website, such as Nextopia’s search services.


Failure to understand how to effectively and efficiently use all of the website’s technology can significantly impact a web business in a negative way. Features that could increase sales may be overlooked and inefficient processes could be consuming unnecessary time.

Obviously, educating those responsible for managing the platform will help ensure people are making the most out of a platform, fully utilizing available features, and using it efficiently. Training is all about getting the people who will be using and running your online store more effective and efficient.

What are the benefits of Training?

  • Trained staff are comfortable with the processes and tools.
  • Trained staff are more efficient and less likely to spend time trying to learn.
  • Trained staff are less likely to make (sometimes costly) human error.
  • Trained staff feel more valued by the team and see training as part of their career development.
  • Trained staff have the ‘technical’ barrier removed, meaning there are likely to be more people thinking about improving processes.
  • Trained staff help ensure consistency in using available tools.
  • Trained staff are able to more effectively troubleshoot problems when they are all using the same methods.
  • Training allows staff to cover other people’s roles when necessary.
  • You might also find a gem of a member of staff who just gets it. They might be your future eCommerce manager!

Don’t let anyone onto your store until they have had some kind of induction or training. It is easy to assume that someone will just “pick it up as they go” but you are exposing your business to potential mistakes that may result in a loss of sales.

What are the risks of not Training?

  • Chaos – everyone having their own way of doing something.
  • Demoralized staff – spending their time struggling with the technology rather than getting on with their job.
  • Resistance – fear of the system could make people hide away when there are issues or new things to do.
  • Wasted time troubleshooting – solutions are not as straightforward as they might have been.
  • Staff can feel excluded and under valued.

Who should be Trained?

  • Anyone who is going to have access to your eCommerce store’s admin. The level of training they require may vary depending on the role but they should at least be trained in the basics.

What approach to Training?

BASICS – Start with the basics. It’s possible that the people you are training have never seen the backend of your eCommerce platform. Most people are happy to be considered complete novices when faced with a new product. Even people who have used an eCommerce platform but are still fairly new to it are happiest with this approach. Cover fundamental concepts that can be built upon.

DELIVERY – Consider who is going to deliver the training: it does not have to be your resident eCommerce expert – just someone who is comfortable using the areas the training will cover. It is very tempting to put a developer in this role. I would recommend you don’t – firstly because their time is probably the most valuable to your business focused on other tasks. But more importantly, the depth of knowledge they have as a developer often means they can miss the small details for non-technical users, which in training is very important.

PRACTICE & VARIETY – Give the trainees an opportunity to practice what you are teaching them. Practice is how the new knowledge is reinforced. Because mistakes will be made when people are using a new system, be sure to use a test environment that is different than the live site. Also, repeat exercises with slight variations, introducing multiple scenarios over and over. Allow people to become comfortable with the process and the tool.

RULES & DOCUMENTATION – Develop a set of simple list of “Dos” and “Don’ts” for the admin team and have these as a printed document that is plainly visible in the office. The rules should be simple and sensible. If possible, have everything documented in a clear, easy to read step by step guide (including lots of screenshots). Get the staff who are being trained to help develop the documentation. It can help to reinforce their knowledge and give you an opportunity to gauge if they understand.

ASSESS – Develop a short assessment to make sure attendees have taken training. This could be a series of tasks for them to perform on the store that reflects the training they were given. Whether this is time dependent, goal dependent, or both, will be something you should consider depending on the role of the person being trained. For example, adding a new product may be less time dependent than a customer services team member having to get order details from a customer who is on the phone.

CULTURE – Develop a culture of learning. New staff should be given training when they join the team, and existing staff should be encouraged to share knowledge, learn more and be thinking of things to improved. The more your staff are involved in training, the more a business becomes a culture of learning – productivity and morale will increase.


About the Authors

Deryck Harlick and Matt Harrington are Magento Certified Solution Specialists and trainers at MageTraining. They both have extensive experience working with Magento and delivering training to Magento Merchants

About MageTraining

MageTraining is a training company focused exclusively on training merchants who utilize the popular Magento eCommerce platform. Started in 2008 in the UK, MageTraining has grown significantly over the years, expanding to the United States and training hundreds of merchants on both the Magento Community and Enterprise platforms. MageTraining seeks to empower Magento users with the knowledge and confidence to effectively and efficiently run their websites. As a Nextopia Partner, MageTraining is fully knowledgeable about integrating Nextopia’s suite of products with Magento.

Learn about MageTraining’s Magento Merchant Training Courses. Receive a free sample of Magento Training Material.

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