It’s that time of year where a good majority of our retail clients are renewing their subscriptions to our online training system; Graff Retail TV.  So, as part of our client success services, I spent some time this week reviewing training performance reports for many retailers.  The backend of our system can reveal a lot about who’s using the training to the max and the retailers who just dropped off and never really got their training off the ground. 

Since our online sales and management systems are award-winning and I know first-hand that the system works and gets impressive results, I have to ask “Why do some retailers sore like eagles when it comes to rolling out training in their stores and why do others, well … act like sleeping hound dogs?” 

You might be thinking that this is something that a millennial might say, however, quite frankly we all think the same thing as employees. It doesn't matter what generation you are from.

How great would your workplace be if all your staff had positive attitudes, confidence, determination, and loyalty?  What would it be like if they worked with meaningful purpose and provided mutual support for each other in the work place?  Sounds like utopia?  This is not an impossible achievement.

It starts with the leaders in your organization.  And when we say leaders, we’re not just talking about those around the boardroom tables.  We’re talking about everyone who’s in a position of leadership; District Managers, Store Managers, Assistant Managers … even those sales associates who step up and take on an informal leadership role.

Ask yourself these questions:

NO Product Knowledge = NO $$

As a reader of our blogs, you’ve no doubt followed our consistent theme of ‘customers are more informed and demanding than ever before’.  That’s the single force that’s driving so much change in retail today.

With that in mind, ask yourself how you would rate your own Product Knowledge (PK) on a scale of 1 to 10.  10 means you’re an expert.  1 means you shouldn’t be on the floor. No doubt, you’re more an expert on some things than others in your store.  So, come up with what you believe is your ‘average’ PK score.

What did you rate yourself? 

We believe the role of the District Manager is probably the one that can affect sales the most out of any other role in a retail organization.  Think about it.  DM’s are out there in the field, hands-on, leading multiple stores per region from coast to coast.  On average, most District Managers are responsible for 10 to 15 stores each.  One region represents a significant portion of the sales volume for a retailer.  An under-performing region can greatly affect the bottom line of a company, yet, DM’s receive the least amount of training when compared to other store operation roles.  Why is this? 

It’s always fun to listen to the various generations complain about the younger generations.   Traditionalists complained that the Boomers didn’t respect authority properly.  Boomers complained that Gen Xers had little work ethic and didn’t follow rules well.  Traditionalists, Boomers and Gen Xers … well, they all complain endlessly about Gen Y!

Seems no generation likes the ones that are younger than themselves.   Yet, what strikes me as funny is that the previous generations CREATED the generations that followed them.

Last week we started the conversation about how to re-imagine our approach to training on the front lines of our retail stores.  We are dispelling the myths about the excuses we’ve all embraced for years and opening our eyes to an entirely new mentality.  It’s all about empowering our staff, building them up and giving them what they need to feel good about the roles they play in the business and be successful. 

We looked at the issue of TIME last week, so let’s de-bunk the other top obstacles we hear all too often:

Kim and I have the pleasure of supporting all of our online retail training subscribers on a daily basis.  We field calls and emails from store team members and store managers all the time, so we hear the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to what’s happening out in retail stores from a training perspective. Plus, we’ve both had ‘past lives’ in retail store operations, so we are wise to the pitfalls and hurdles when it comes to keeping training alive!

Let’s look at the #1 things that seem to be standing in the way and dragging your training initiatives down.

Last week, Kevin wrote about our new vision for training inside your organization.  It’s truly redefining the conversations we have with our clients about training and creating great staff experiences.

Now, let’s look at this from the front line’s perspective.

For the past 28 years we have been focused on helping you sell more, making more money in your stores and boosting the productivity of your store teams (read: sell more!).  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s still the end objective.

But, let’s take a step back for a moment.

Why are we here?  

This is it!  It’s finally here!  The biggest event in Canadian Retail is without a doubt the Retail Council of Canada STORE Conference, and the team at Graff Retail is quite excited to be a part of it for another year.

The Retail Council of Canada has been The Voice of Retail in Canada since 1963, representing more than 45,000 store fronts of all retail formats, including department, specialty, discount, and independent stores and online merchants.  Whether you are a member or not, if you are working in or studying retail then you need to be at STORE…and here’s why:


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