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The James Retail Group is a leading, independently owned neighbourhood retailer operating around 74 convenience and newsagent stores. 


James Retail operate Select Convenience branded convenience stores as well as newsagents branded GT News & Supernews which can be found in locations varying from major shopping centres, transport interchanges, local neighbourhoods and hospitals across the central belt of the country. The company was formed in 2015 following the acquisition of the GT Retail business by Conviviality Plc. 

The Challenge

In recent years retail groups have faced ever-changing customer shopping habits within a fast changing retail landscape. With an increase in the number of big retailers moving into the local convenience sector, smaller retailers have had to adapt fast to accommodate these market changes. The aim however has remained the same, to offer great service that can keep pace with these changes in consumer habits. To do so retailers have to ensure that they have a well-trained, well-motivated and happy team.

James Retail has over 600 employees who all needed to be trained effectively and efficiently to aid in their challenge of keeping pace with change in the sector. They needed to ensure that all stores operated to their highest possible standards in terms of both compliance and customer service. They needed training which was engaging as well as effective. Furthermore, they were also looking for in-depth reporting capabilities and trainee analytics that they could use to identify strengths and weaknesses to influence future training and employee appraisals. They wanted to know what their employees did and didn’t know and where they had skills, proficiency and compliance gaps.

Bolt's Solution

We provided James retail with 12 core online training modules in compliance and customer service that they could use to train and educate their 600 plus colleagues. These modules were designed using our extensive Convenience retail experience, cutting edge technology and expertise in modern educational theory. Each module contains realistic scenarios, immersive stories and engaging graphics to actually inspire behavioural change in employees, ensure compliance and drive productivity.

By using blended learning techniques that combined online digital training, or eLearning, as well as training on the shop floors; we were able to compliment what trainees had learned on the job with what they learned in their personal time. This approach helps the learner to recall the information they had learned in their eLearning modules by applying it to a real-life situation. This, in turn, ultimately leads to a higher retention rate in regard to skills and knowledge learned.

We also wanted to provide trainers and managers with the ability to track their employees learning. Our Spark Learning Platform (LMS) offers comprehensive and in-depth trainee analytics capabilities that allow employers and managers to really take a look at the training habits of their employees. This could include anything from the time it has taken to complete an eLearning module to the time taken to answer individual questions or to complete individual sections. We feel it is important that employers are able to see more than just the answers given by their trainees but also how those trainees thought about those answers. This new eLearning solution for James Retail has allowed managers to really measure capability, proficiency and compliance and adapt their training strategy accordingly.

Business Results

Already James Retail have been able to see results. One of the benefits of using Bolt’s Spark Learning Management system is that eLearning modules and online training materials can be quickly distributed in large numbers. We have seen that over 3,300 eLearning modules have been issued with 2,434 of those modules being completed and passed. Since signing up, James Retail have been able to train hundreds of employees in the core areas of their business; Age Related Sales, Basic First Aid, Lone Working, Manual Handling, Slips, Trips and Falls, Store Security as well as Violence and Aggression in the workplace.

As part of our agreement with James Retail, we will also be supplying them with events booking and compliance tracking systems going forward. These will help the business to keep track of non-E-Learning activities amongst their learners as well as ensuring that as a business and a workforce they are fully compliant with industry standards and regulations.

The James Retail Group continues to grow and looks to further expand across the central belt of the country. With the online training tools that we have provided they now have a model on which to build their recruitment and training approach upon to aid them in their commitment to further expansion. 

"We were hugely impressed by the proposition from Bolt.  People lie at the very heart of our business and we want to ensure they have the very best training available to them at the tips of their fingers.  The world of training has moved on dramatically in recent years – digital is such an obvious solution provided that the content is engaging and effective.  The reporting suite and analytics is first class – Bolt was the obvious partner for us to pick." Mark Titterton, Group Chief Executive of James Convenience Retail

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