May 8, 2009, 12:00 AM

Foot Solutions streamlines employee training with web videos

Most retailers think of web videos as way to educate, entertain or draw customers to their online stores. But for Foot Solutions, a retailer of specialty footwear, web videos offer training and up-to-date company information to franchisees and employees.

Most retailers think of web videos as way to educate, entertain or attract customers to their online stores. But for Foot Solutions, a retailer of specialty footwear, web videos provide training and up-to-date company information to store franchisees and employees.

Foot Solutions uses a video service from Fliqz Inc., which enables the retailer to upload videos for viewing within one hour. It replaces an online collaboration system the retailer used that required a week or more to upload videos.

Because Foot Solutions specializes in footwear for people with painful or disabling foot and ankle problems, its franchisees and employees must be trained to perform computer foot scanning and analysis and to fit custom insoles, orthotics and arch supports, says Bobby Saade, vice president of operations. The company requires all franchisees and their managers to complete 40 hours of online training in addition to two and a half weeks of course work at a special training center and a week of in-store field training.

The retailer-which has 240 stores in 16 countries and a five-month-old e-commerce site-also sells a line of business, casual and athletic shoes.

“Our goal is to make sure our customers’ health is taken care of from a shoe standpoint, and that means keeping up with product changes,” Saade says. “We need to be able to react quickly to those changes, but given our size, it had become impossible to communicate with (franchisees) as quickly and effectively as we needed to.”

Foot Solutions’ IT staff uploaded the company’s first training title using Fliqz in March 2008 and followed with seven more by year-end. Each video is produced by Foot Solutions’ web content development team in collaboration with outside training consultants, and ranges from 15 to 55 minutes in length. The retailer can link to the videos in e-mails sent to franchisees. Franchisees also can view the videos by logging into Foot Solutions franchise support system-FSINFONET.

Using the Fliqz video service has streamlined the training process and cut costs, Saade says. It also produces better quality video in a shorter period of time than the previous system.

“I can go to Florida and record best practices-the way that people are casting a foot or something that may be new to the system-and then I can take that back here and send it out to all my stores immediately,” Saade says. “It’s done a great job in getting the information out in a timely manner and reducing my travel.”

Foot Solutions plans to eventually add consumer education videos to its e-commerce site, FootSolutions.com, which is still under development, Saade says. The site did $20,000 in sales last month.

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