How Beyond Retro scaled its retail operations training

Ashley Emerson
Global Learning & Development Manager

Beyond Retro is a vintage clothing retailer with stores in the UK and Sweden. The company is on a mission to reclaim, reduce, and reuse 10 billion clothing items.

Mid-Market: 100 - 1k

Key Results:

2 weeks

to release a full course


up-skilled employees


markets to receive training

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Ashley Emerson, L&D Manager at Beyond Retro, told us how Synthesia enabled her 2 people team to develop a scalable retail operations training course that ultimately helped up-skill 140 employees in 14 stores in the midst of a pandemic.

The challenge

Due to COVID and store closures, many employees had to be laid off, and Beyond Retro salespeople had to be quickly up-skilled to take on 80% of the responsibility of running a store.

It was Ashley's job to make sure the process was optimised for:

  • Speed: She had to make sure the courses were created in a timely manner.
  • Scale: The courses had to be scalable, as Beyond Retro planned to expand into more markets after the pandemic.

Ashley couldn't rely on individual store managers to provide on-site training to employees because it would lead to inconsistencies and a lack of a unified theory behind the training.

As she looked for alternatives, she found that video was the best format to train staff around the world. She could create content centrally and adhere to predefined training standards.

But traditional video production proved difficult. Here's why:

  • High costs: To film the videos, Ashley would have had to fly to different locations. When you factor in the editing process, this would become very expensive.
  • Lack of flexibility: It would be nearly impossible to update the videos once created, and it would take additional time and resources to recreate the videos.

Traditional video wasn’t an option. Ashley had to look for an alternative.

The solution

With Synthesia, Ashley can now easily scale the production of courses for store operations.

This is how she now creates her training videos:

  1. Retail business managers send in their initial draft scripts.
  2. Ashley reviews the scripts and adjusts them if needed.
  3. Ashley then uses Synthesia STUDIO to turn the script into a video.
  4. Retail business managers review the video.
  5. If updates are needed, Ashley can make edits quick and hassle-free.
  6. Once everyone is happy, she publishes the video to their LMS system.

What Ashley likes most about working with Synthesia?

  • Ease of use: The platform is easy to use and includes all the necessary video editing features to create high-quality training videos without the need for additional tools.
  • Flexibility: Once created, a video can be easily updated at any time, without having to start from the beginning.
  • AI Avatars & Voices: The 140+ diverse stock AI Avatars and 120+ AI voices provide an easy way to create engaging, relatable video content without having to hire actors or record voiceovers.
Synthesia allows me to collaborate with managers throughout the course creation process, and I can turn their scripts into professional videos, without having to film them. — Ashley Emerson, L&D Manager at Beyond Retro

The results

This new process of creating and distributing training content is a full success:

  • Speed: Creating courses in Synthesia STUDIO enabled Ashley and her team to release a full course every 2 weeks.
  • Localisation: Ashley was able to quickly roll-out training across different countries.
  • Training at scale: Ashley and her colleague were able to centrally up-skill 140 employees across 14 stores.
I feel like Synthesia enabled me and my team to do so much more and truly impact the business at scale. — Ashley Emerson, L&D Manager at Beyond Retro

In conclusion, Ashley has proven that even a small Learning and Development team can be very effective, drive change, and impact the business at scale.