I’ve had the pleasure of representing Graff Retail at the Retail Council of Canada annual STORE Conference since 2009.  This year, the conference was better than ever, with the biggest names in global retail speaking at the event; and our own Kevin Graff as one fantastic emcee! 

Attendance was also at an all-time high, with retailers coming from far and wide.  As an exhibitor, that’s my favourite part.  The conversations I have with the retailers is where I get the most insight on what’s going on in the industry. 

When retailers visit our booth at STORE, the conversation inevitably turns quickly to training.  We’re the experts on training for retailers, so it’s only natural everyone wants to talk to us about what they are doing to train their staff and drive their store performance even further.   So, I thought I’d share “where it’s at in training“ for 2015, as heard direct from the retailers who visited our booth.

1.  80% of the retailers wanted to move from their existing paper-based/classroom style training to online format.

  • They expressed a frustration with keeping up with this kind of training.  Many are finding that their staff is bored by having to read or sit through long classroom sessions, and worse, they know their stores aren’t using the training consistently because it is becoming too difficult to deliver the content.

2.  Only 20% of the retailers I met had their own Learning Management System.

  • This didn’t surprise me.  An LMS is a big investment, but seems to be a goal (or already in the works) for large chain retailers and a dream for all the rest.  Everyone I spoke with agreed that delivering their training online over an LMS would be the way to go and is a natural progression for retail training. (That’s why the majority of our clients use our LMS!)

3.  The majority admitted that they only have a sales training program in place…no formal training for their store managers! 

  • I applauded these retailers for the training they were providing for their sales teams.  What good is a sales team that doesn’t actually know how to sell?  But, when I asked them how their sales training program was working, they either didn’t really know or admitted it wasn’t as effective as it could be. 

For any of you who read our blog regularly, you know what I’m going to say next…without a management team that knows how to deliver ongoing coaching to grow and develop the team and hold the team accountable, your sales training is likely to fail.  Why are the majority of retailers out there not training their managers on the important stuff: performance coaching, leadership, how to hire correctly in the first place, understanding key metrics that drive revenue, etc?

4.  40% of retailers didn’t have any formal training in place! 

  • Whoa!  Not much more to say here. 


5.  100% of these retailers felt they could be selling more if they had the proper training in place.

  • This just makes sense.  Even if you have a great training program in place, without a continual, ongoing approach to training, you know you’re leaving money on the table. 

I talk to retailers every day, but the conversations I have at STORE are always so insightful and inspiring.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by and visited the Graff booth this year.  And, if any of you are looking for a great online training program, I know a good one!  http://tv.graffretail.com/demo.html

Mary Gordon and Kim McCutcheon have been supporting retail front lines for as long as they can remember. A dynamic duo, Mary and Kim understand what it takes to make training work at store level and know how to inspire, coach and support retail teams in all of their training endeavours.

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