Retail and Supplier Education

 

VA Approved Program

AR Workforce Approved Program

 

Certified Retail Analyst Program History

History:

In the late 1990’s/early 2000’s, suppliers were opening offices located in the NW Arkansas region at a rapid pace.  While many suppliers brought in their own Team Leaders and sales/account managers in who had previous experience in other markets, there was a high need for support staff in the local offices, such as analysts who had knowledge of how to navigate Retail Link and to build reports.  Other than employees who worked at Walmart, there were very few individuals in the community who had experience with retail and knowledge of Retail Link so the suppliers looked to Walmart and many hired employees away from Walmart.  It became a large issue because Walmart would get employees trained and they would be hired away.  Walmart communicated out to the suppliers that they could not hire Walmart employees, which then slowed down the rate at which the suppliers were able to provide information to Walmart and to help co-manage their business with Walmart due to the lack of experienced and knowledgeable employees with an understanding of Walmart and Retail Link. 

In late 1999, Lee Scott contacted his good friend, Wayne Callahan, President of Global Walmart at Heinz, and asked him to invite leaders among suppliers to a meeting and there was an agreement in that meeting that there was a high demand for people trained to utilize Retail Link.  Lee Scott then asked Wayne Callahan to lead a steering committee to design curriculum and NWACC was then approached to provide the space and deliver the training.   Lee Scott single handedly made Retail Link data accessible for the students in the Certified Retail Analyst program so they could receive the needed training to be able to secure jobs.


Over the years, the supplier teams have grown, Retail Link has expanded, and the training needs have increased. 

 

THE FOCUS AND GOALS OF THE PROGRAM:

In order for the Certified Retail Analyst program to be able to continue to move forward and provide the Retail Link training that was created through collaboration between Lee Scott/Walmart, the supplier community and NWACC, the curriculum is reviewed and updated every semester as needed to ensure the concepts and principles taught correlate with Walmart and what the suppliers need from entry level employees. 

As the only educational facility with Retail Link ID’s for students and the only program of this kind in the nation, the mission of the Certified Retail Analyst program is “develop and train students to enter as competent entry level employees by teaching students how to conduct in depth sales analysis and identify insights leading to sales opportunities.”  This is accomplished through intense training of software and technical skills, an in-depth understanding of today’s retail environment, how to navigate the Retail Link system, and to interpret, problem solve, analyze and evaluate the data and then ask “why” and “how” and to identify causal connections and consumer insights in the data. 

The Certified Retail Analyst program is a three semester program to equip students to be entry level retail sales analysts. As the only educational facility with Retail Link ID’s for students and the only program of this kind in the nation, the mission of the Certified Retail Analyst program is “develop and train students to enter as competent entry level employees by teaching students how to conduct in depth sales analysis and identify insights leading to sales opportunities.”   We stress to students that gaining employment is not about navigating Retail Link, but understanding how to review sales data and then identifying opportunities and making recommendations.  Four areas of competency have been identified and are the focus of the Certified Retail Analyst program: 

  • TECHNICAL SKILLS:  navigating Retail Link, in-depth use of Access and Excel to create databases and automate spreadsheets to describe and understand retail sales opportunities and provide solutions, thorough understanding of Microsoft Office Word and PowerPoint for daily use on the job and in creating and developing presentations.
  • COLLABORATIVE SKILLS:  training on team projects, individual presentations, case studies, team presentations.
  • CRITICAL THINKING:  ability to interpret, evaluate and analyze data and to problem solve.
  • STRATEGIC THINKING:  Asking “why” and “how”, identify causal connections, conduct consumer insights.

To date, 611 students have graduated from the NWACC program since it first started in 2000.  Of the students who have graduated in the past 18 months, 87% have reported employment with Walmart or a CPG supplier in the community.