November 5, 2001, 12:00 AM

Car Toys takes to the web for sales training

Car Toys, retailer of auto sound systems, has signed with Knowledge Anywhere to develop a web-based training program for 1,100 employees in 51 locations.

With 1,100 employees in 49 stores, a distribution center and corporate headquarters, Car Toys Inc., Seattle-based retailer of car stereo and wireless equipment, faces the challenge daily of keeping staff current on new products, customer service initiatives and corporate policies. It now is taking to the web for its educational needs.

Car Toys, which has sales of $160 million a year, has signed with Bellevue, WA-based Knowledge Anywhere to develop a web-based learning system. "Being on the technology side of retailing, we have a lot of people who have a lot to learn," says Rik Tokuno, president and COO of Car Toys. Car Toys will offer training in products, customer service, management and leadership and eventually operations.

Car Toys now employs master trainers at corporate headquarters who train and certify 30 field trainers. The field trainers are store employees who earn extra for training other store employees. Each of Car Toys’ seven regions has a training center. With a web-based system, Tokuno expects those 30 to be able to devote more time to helping customers. Furthermore, a web system that is available around the clock alleviates the scheduling problems that usually afflict training efforts.

Retailers can get started with the Knowledge Anywhere system for an investment of $20,000 to $100,000, the company says.

One aspect of Knowledge Anywhere that attracted Car Toys’ attention is its flexibility in designing a web site and program that will engage younger employees. "We tend to employ a younger individual, so it was important that we exude attitude on our web site," Tokuno says. "Knowledge Anywhere understood attitude right away."

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