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Case Studies

How Ready to SERVE Helped a Top Liquor Retailer Boost Sales and Transform Performance

In late 2007, executives of a top liquor retailer operating over 25 stores were concerned with rising competition for liquor stores.

To thrive in this competitive environment, the liquor retailer needed to improve the customer experience within their stores. An investment in training store staff was identified as a business imperative – and they knew they needed to move fast!

To meet this challenge, the liquor retailer partnered with Graff Retail to develop a customized sales and coaching program to significantly improve the way store staff interacted with customers.

Graff Retail developed and delivered a customized sales training and coaching program for a major liquor retailer. Store management and staff gain confidence to significantly enhance the customer experience, resulting in increased transactions, basket size and revenue per litre.

Evaluating the Problem

The first step towards helping the liquor retailer in setting their goals was to figure out what was happening at their stores. Graff Retail carried out this assessment and determined:

  • A lack of clarity on goals, targets, and behavioural expectations resulting in a lack of focus and consistent effort to provide exceptional customer service.
  • No awareness among the staff on how the store was performing, resulting in a low level of engagement.
  • Staff were not provided with the necessary skills to achieve selling and service objectives, and store managers lacked the proper training to coach their teams in these areas.
  • There was a degree of complacency on the sales floor due to a gap in how sales data, including key metrics, were being tracked.

Setting the Right Goals

The assessment identified areas that could be improved through a well-executed training program. The goal of the training would be to enhance the ability of store-level teams to serve customers and generate sales. Program objectives were:

  • Significantly enhance the way goals were set, results would be shared and performance would be recognized through an improved sales management process.
  • Improving the ability of store managers to effectively coach their teams, in addition to systemizing coaching within the stores daily and weekly.
  • The program had to be sustainable over the long term, recognizing the need to continually train new and existing staff.
  • The program needed to reflect store culture, social responsibility commitments and the realities of the task-oriented nature of their stores.
“We have been working with Graff Retail for a number of years; subscribing to both their sales and management training programs. Graff has become part of ‘how we do things’ in our stores. It’s part of our culture now. When Ready To Serve was introduced, we jumped on it for our liquor branch. It just made perfect sense for us.”
Director | Industry Leading Liquor Retailer

A Customized Solution

Graff Retail created a customized solution for this top liquor retailer that included a 2-day classroom training workshop in addition to comprehensive in-store training.

Store Managers were trained to return to their stores and impart their learning with team members. Specially designed reinforcement tools including daily training activities, weekly coaching sessions, and structured staff meetings were implemented so skills developed in the classroom were sustained.

The “Ready to SERVE” coaching system gave managers the confidence to effectively develop their teams. They were taught how to use a sales management system that could track expectations and results, along with holding daily shift starter meetings where staff would discuss performance and set goals to achieve success on a daily basis.

Store managers were also trained to hold bi-weekly one-on-one coaching sessions with their staff. These sessions empowered managers to engage with their staff, improve relationships, provide recognition, bolster skills, and drive performance.

After the program, managers knew how to provide feedback, set expectations, motivate performance, and create collaborative solutions with their teams. Coaching became part of this liquor retailers daily store operations, with managers being provided a framework so they knew when to coach, resulting in more confident and capable managers.

Proof that Training Works!

Graff Retail delivered and implemented the program in the allocated time and budget. We’re very proud of the significant impact on store sales within the first year:

  • The average basket size grew from $34.70 to $36.18 – a 4.3% increase over the year before.
  • Transactions grew 4.1% year over year and the gross profit was 3.7% over budget.
  • Revenue per Litre
    • Spirits +.6%
    • Wine +5.1%
    • Ready to Drink +4.6%
    • Beer +1.9%

Further, the program led to an increase in staff confidence with more time being spent on the sales floor engaging with customers. The feedback received from customers was positive and they referred to the staff as friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about the products being sold.

For executives of the retailer, the program served as reinforcement that investing in their staff was the right thing to do. “Most significantly there has been a dramatic shift in the service culture at our stores. We can proudly say that we are READY to SERVE.”


Wine sales increased by 5.1% after implementing Ready to Serve

“The program served as reinforcement that investing in our staff was the right thing to do. Most significantly there has been a dramatic shift in the service culture at our stores. We can proudly say that we are READY to SERVE.”

Your sales teams could and should be selling more.

This Graff Retail White Paper explains what it takes to make this happen.

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