There are a lot of retail stores in this country and most are so small that they don’t have dedicated HR, training or development staff. Professional development is not often part of the life of a retail sales clerk in a small or even medium-sized business.
Enter 3point5.com, with a community that links retail sales professionals with manufacturers of the products that they will be selling. There are specific modules on brand-name products as well as general information on broader activities, such as watersports for outdoor equipment outlets.
Sara at Wanderlust Outfitters here in Sackville tells me that all of her staff use the online campus and there are even prizes and deals to be had for members.
The business model for 3point5 seems simple enough – aggregate a community that cannot afford custom training or job performance support, link this community to those who would benefit from a more informed retail sector (wholesalers & manufacturers) and then make it very easy for these communities to connect. The same model applies to many other markets and I’m working on a couple at this time.
Community is king, IMHO.