Onboarding for Magento - Onboarding Anyone who has access to your Magento store

Your store’s success may depend on how well the team you assemble to run the store adopt the ecommerce software you use to run it. In our case this is Magento but the principles I’m about to discuss could apply to any ecommerce store.

A good onboarding session or two could be the key to kickstarting your stores success while also nipping potential problems in the bud.

What is onboarding? In this context onboarding is all about getting the people who will be using and running your online store familiar enough with the software and the processes that this is not an obstacle to them doing their job effectively. Onboarding should make the technology almost invisible to them leaving them to focus on what they do best - run the store. This is the road we want them to be going down.

There is also another side of onboarding and this is directed at the solution provider. I like to call this ‘Project Onboarding’ and where most solutions providers will offer some sort of onboarding for their clients I would like to suggest a couple of things that will hopefully make the project a pleasure for all involved and also nip some future problems in the bud. I’ll cover this in a future article, this article is all about the users.

What is onboarding training?

It is easy for some of us to assume that when people are presented with new software to use that they will just pick it up as they go along. I’m what you call a tinkerer. I like to try things out and work out how software works - I like to do this for myself but what that means is that I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way before I have found myself in a comfortable position and understanding what is going on. I know that I need to do this in a safe environment where I am not going to cause any noticeable damage. Do we want to take that risk with a live store taking real orders?

There are two points to highlight here. First, not everyone likes to tinker and in fact many have a fear of doing anything that has an unknown outcome. Secondly, people like me should not be allowed to tinker without strict supervision, particularly in a live environment (and despite my tendency to want to try things out I would never do this unless there were some precautions taken first).

So how do we address this? How do we make sure that both types of user are onboarded?

In the first instance anyone who is unfamiliar with Magento will need some time to understand the interface. At the very least onboarding should guide the user on the common elements within the admin (such as menu structure, grids and filters) as well as the terminology that is used. This doesn’t have to take long, maybe 1 or 2 hours.

Then there is the role that the user has to perform. This training may be more detailed as it involves processes and a deeper understanding. Prior to running this training you should be clear on what the outcomes should be: a merchandiser needs to know the steps to take when creating a new product; those who process orders need to be clear on what order status' are and what they mean to your business. Only then can you deliver an effective session.

What are the benefits of Onboarding?

  • Trained staff who are comfortable with the processes and tools.
  • Improved efficiently and reducing the learning curve.
  • Reduction in (sometimes costly) human error.
  • A feeling of being valued by the team member and can be seen as part of their career development.
  • Removing the ‘technical’ barrier means that you are more likely to have individuals that are able to think about improving processes.
  • Maintains consistency.
  • Easy to troubleshoot problems when everyone uses the same methods.
  • Allows staff to cover other peoples 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 on to your store until they have had some kind of induction or onboarding. It is so easy to assume that someone will just ‘pick it up as they go’ but you are exposing your business to mistakes: human error with the potential costs to rectify and loss of sales that may come with this.

What are the risks of not Onboarding?

  • Chaos - everyone having their own way of doing something.
  • Demoralised staff - spending their time struggling with the technology rather than getting on with their job. For these people technology is seen as something they have to contend with rather than it helping them.
  • Resistance to help. Fear of the system could make people hide away when there are issues or new things to do.
  • Troubleshooting is not as straight forward as it might have been.
  • Staff can feel excluded and under valued.

Who should I include?

  • Anyone who is going to have access to your Magento 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.