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  • Joanne Neidorf

How Do Merchants Prefer to Learn?

Three Key Learnings From Merchant Academy Usage Data

Merchant Academy - Merchant Insight's online program of training and development for retail buyers and merchandise planners - has been in use with a fashion retailer for several months, and the usage data has been eye-opening.

  • Learners are motivated and spend most of their time in self-directed learning

  • Learning is spread throughout the week, though there is an uptick on Fridays, and a notable interest in learning on "their own time" (weekends)

  • Active users come from across the organization - all roles and all levels

Recommended Courses vs. Self-Directed Learning

When we launched the program, we had Buying, Planning and Allocation Managers recommend courses for each member of their team.

We expected to see the majority of learners focus on these recommended courses. However, the data reveal that many users have chosen to explore the wider range of courses available to them.

To date, 63% of their time has been spent in courses they've chosen for themselves, and 37% of their time in their recommended courses.

Manager guidance and recommendations will always be important within Merchant Academy, but it's exciting to see how eager people are to take advantage of learning opportunities whether they are required or not.

When Do They Have the Time to Learn?

Finding the time to fit in learning and development is always a challenge, so we were curious to see if there are any patterns to user logins.

We found that users are able to carve out a bit of time on any day of the week - with a spike on Fridays when 34% of our logins occur.

We were also pleasantly surprised to see weekend logins!

Because Merchant Academy is always available - and can be accessed either on a laptop or a mobile device - all someone needs is 5 - 15 minutes to watch a video or read a short concept review. It's hard to imagine an easier way to fit in learning a new concept, idea or skill.

Who Benefits From Merchant Academy?

Our users span the Buying, Planning and Allocation departments and range from entry-level assistants to Managers in these functions.

When we look at quarterly usage by level (entry, mid or manager) we find that learners at each level spent an average of 2 hours taking between 2 - 3 courses.

And when we check by role, we are encouraged to see at least 65% of the users in each role designation (e.g., Allocator, Buying Assistant, Junior Buyer, etc.) have used Merchant Academy in the past quarter.

Merchant Academy is designed to meet different needs depending on the learner's experience level and role in the organization. It's fantastic to see usage from across the organization as this reinforces the value Merchant Academy brings to anyone working in - or with - merchandise buying, planning and allocation.

What's Next?

As we continue to work with retailers around the world, we'll continue to share how Merchant Academy is being used and the impact it has. Based on assignment feedback and follow up we know Merchant Academy has already triggered learners to suggest - and implement - new analyses for their business.

If you'd like more information on Merchant Academy, or to discuss how Merchant Academy could benefit your organization, please contact us at

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