September 17, 2002, 12:00 AM

Harley-Davidson revs up in-store training with an e-learning program

For its new chain of retail accessory stores, Harley-Davidson Inc. has implemented a web-based e-learning system designed to get store personnel quickly up to speed on new product lines.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

For its new chain of retail accessory stores, Harley-Davidson Inc. has implemented a web-based e-learning system designed to get store personnel quickly up to speed on new product lines.

The e-learning system has already helped the company get through a surge in retail activity this year. The company sells licensed accessories, such as leather jackets, gloves and collectibles in its retail shops. It reports that second quarter general merchandise sales rose 54.7% over a year ago, to $51.3 million from $33.2 million. It attributes part of that growth to strong interest in the celebration this year of the motorcycle manufacturer`s 100th anniversary.

Realizing that sudden changes in merchandise selection and consumer demand requires its retail personnel to get quickly up to par on new product specifications and selling strategies, Harley-Davidson last fall launched a web-based e-learning system accessible by employees through PCs in its stores. "These are high-margin revenue generators, but Harley has to educate its shop floor people on how to cross sell," says Tobin Gillman, vice president of marketing for Docent Inc., which provided Harley-Davidson with the e-learning system.

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