Kevin Graff

President, Graff Retail

Kevin is the President of Graff Retail Inc. He is a retail and training professional with over 20 years of related experience. Founded in 1988, Kevin started what is now Canada’s leading training and consulting firm that specializes in working with retail organizations around the globe.

His years of consulting and delivering speeches and training seminars makes him keenly aware of the real life challenges facing the retail industry. All aspects of the retail operation including hiring and orientation of employees, staff and sales management, customer service initiatives and selling and retail strategies are areas of practical experience and success for Kevin.

Keynote Speaker: Kevin has presented hundreds of keynote addresses to a variety of retail, sales and service business audiences around the globe. Inevitably, the highlight of most conferences.

Author: Authored the books Winning Retail and Selling with Passion. Kevin also writes The Graff Retail Report, a monthly newsletter read by thousands of retailers around the globe.

Trainer Extraordinaire: Kevin consistently receives ratings that exceed 95% when he delivers training programs. Audiences love him!

Program Design: Kevin has lead the development of literally hundreds of training programs and systems over the past 20 years. Of great pride is the accomplishment of having these programs win The Retail Council of Canada’s Best Employee Development Programs Award not once, not twice … FIVE times!

Membership: Kevin is a member of The President’s Club at The Retail Council of Canada. He is also actively involved in several Retail Council of Canada events.

Over the past few years we have had the opportunity to work with clients such as Costco Wholesale, Roots, Sony, Home Hardware, Staples, Canada Post Corporation, Canadian Tire, Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws and hundreds of other retailers across the globe.

  • Posted on: 10/03/2017

    Empowered employees separate Zumiez from the competition

    OK ... it's about time someone is giving the proper attention to the impact that store staff make on the shopping experience. Everyone gets so enamored by technology that staff get forgotten. Yet it's the quality of the staff interaction with customers is the greatest differentiator for retailers. Products are nothing more than widgets. Price is a non-starter as someone will always undercut you. Big, bright shiny stores are the entry point and expected. So what's left to separate a retailer from the pack? Staff. Period.It's the wise retailer who will invest in creating a better staff experience (encompassing everything from remuneration to training to coaching and leadership), and who will in the end win through creating better customer experiences.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2017

    Professor says price gouging is simple supply and demand at work

    You know what tops economic supply and demand arguments? Humanity! Let Karma deal with the price gougers accordingly. Look after people in times of need. The good news is that for every story about greed, there are hundreds of stories about good people doing good deeds to help others in crisis. Those are the stories that should get more press coverage.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2017

    What will more electric cars mean for convenience stores?

    It wasn't that long ago that smartphones were only starting to pop up. So don't be surprised if electric cars become closer to the norm, and much faster than expected.For the proactive convenience store, this represents a potential big win in the near future. There's gold waiting to be generated from customers who are recharging their vehicle and need to spend 15 to 20 minutes in the store! Just imagine the possibilities of creating a great experience for them that they would not just enjoy -- but would also seek out.So what convenience store is going to be the bold one and go first?
  • Posted on: 08/09/2017

    What to do when shop local turns into look local and buy online?

    Good article, Bob. There's validity in all your points when put in the context of the situation at hand. The whole buy local movement is valid, but only when the local merchants are actually competitive with the larger retail environment. The local merchants need to step up their game to compete. We all know price is only one thing, but becomes the big thing when the store experience is flat. Maybe these independents need to be a little more critical of their retail concept, store experience, selling skills, merchandising approach and more. If an independent thinks they're going to compete on price, they've lost the game before it's started.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2017

    Will Amazon’s new return policy help or hurt its marketplace sellers?

    I've told retailers for years that an open return policy isn't designed to just give money back to customers, it's designed to make selling to them much easier. Stop thinking about the marginal few who will abuse the system and start thinking about how you can promote the policy to make more sales. The cost of fraudulent returns pales in comparison to what retailers pay the credit card companies every year.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2017

    Are the four Ps of marketing irrelevant for retailers?

    Good article and great discussion. No one is wrong with their comments and it reflects the disruption that is happening in retail. My 2 cents is that what was always missing from the four P's was the fifth (and most important) P -- people. Customers and staff are the most important focal point. Setting customers aside for a moment, consider how much more staff now mean in the retail equation. They are fundamental to providing the in-store experience and need to be treated and invested in accordingly.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2017

    Will talking about pain points make Babies ‘R’ Us the go-to retailer for parents?

    My wife and I give each other a high-five every time one of our kids has a birthday ... to celebrate that we somehow managed to keep them alive another year! I think this campaign will resonate more with experienced parents who have made dozens of mistakes and can laugh at themselves. The new parent is still intent on being perfect against all odds. All-in-all, a great and refreshing campaign.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2017

    Why do so many people love shopping at Ace Hardware?

    This is the classic example of David vs. Goliath, even though "David" in this case is rather large as well. It's the high-touch factor that resonates with customers in this category. Not too many consumers are true experts on home repairs and the like, so they count on stores like Ace to help them with great staff and advice.Up in in the Great White North (Canada ... where it's a lovely 80 degrees today by the way), Home Hardware with it's 1,000-plus stores operates on the same model as Ace. When their stores are staffed by knowledgeable, skilled and engaged staff they win the game every time. As a consumer, if you're not up to the equivalent of a scavenger hunt through a big box store, then your neighborhood home improvement retailer is what you look for.Ace, just like Home Hardware, is ideally positioned to grow their market share as Boomers age and Millennials grow their spending power.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2017

    Are scheduling mandates good or bad for store associates?

    I'm all for advancements in improving the work experience for retail employees. For too long, retailers earned a bit of a black eye for some dubious employment practices. However, these new rules go way too far! It looks like a bunch of lawmakers who have never actually run a retail business got carried away with good intentions but poor information.Retailers have come a long way in improving how they treat their employees over the past few years. The vast majority are great places to work. Not all, so regulations are needed. Just not the type that Seattle has put in place.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2016

    Is the retail sky falling?

    Facts are facts. And the most overlooked fact is that while online sales are growing, the VAST majority of sales (90 percent?) are still done in stores and the bottom isn't about to fall out of that number anytime soon.What I think you're seeing is that "middling," run-of-the-mill retailers are in danger. Consumers are more knowledgeable and demanding. Only those brick-and-mortar retailers who step up and provide a better in-store experience will win. The good news is that lots are.The media loves to play the negative angle. The best thing that could happen for retail is for the media to go away!

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