PROFILE

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.

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE:
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.

SOME OF OUR CLIENTS:
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.

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  • Posted on: 05/10/2019

    Will Farmstead’s ‘Smart Shopping List’ give it an edge in online grocery competition?

    The grocery sector is so ripe for being re-engineered. Shopping for groceries hasn't changed very much for centuries ... make a list (80 percent of which is the same each week), drive to the store, walk the aisles, pay, drive home, unpack. It seems a bit silly when you look at it like that. Hats off to Farmstead for pushing the innovation envelope. Consumers will love the time saved that can be invested in their lives and families. And Farmstead will reap better loyalty and sales.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2019

    H&M will cease printing its catalog after 39 years

    H&M catalog? I didn't even know they had one (I guess they never distributed in the Great White North). Sustainability. Generational. Cost. Effectiveness. Pick any of the previous reasons and you're likely right as to why they dropped the catalog. Every year Restoration Hardware delivers the equivalent of a library of catalogs to our home. Seriously -- at least 500 pages of glossy images and print. I never really understood the rationale/cost of doing that ... until I saw my wife flipping through the pages, dog earring pages and ordering something we would never have thought of if we didn't have it dropped at our door via catalog. It's a crazy and complicated retail world with no single perfect answer for any retailer. The only truth is never stand still -- the status quo is just death waiting to happen.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2019

    Are ‘live, work, shop, play’ environments a big part of retail’s future?

    This can be viewed as a return to how society functioned a long, long time ago. Step out your door to find everything you need within a block or two. The talk of malls and shopping areas evolving into true "communities" will, in my humble opinion, continue to grow and gain traction. With two teenagers at home, one of my continued advice points to them is to live close to where you work. Don't fall into the trap of commuting (aka that thing that sucks the soul out of your life) . Live your life within your community and love it.
  • Posted on: 04/25/2019

    Will Rite Aid and Walgreens gain health cred by restricting tobacco sales?

    Hello from the Great White North where pharmacies haven't sold tobacco products for a very long time. And guess what? They haven't gone out of business. It's a completely hypocritical thing to sell something that kills your customers when you're supposed to be in the business of making them healthy. Values, people. Values. Stop thinking of the bottom line first and take a closer look at exactly why you're in business as a retailer. In the case of pharmacies, tobacco and vapes wouldn't even make it to the shelves.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2019

    Kohl’s goes all-in on Amazon returns

    As a retailer, if the customer doesn't have a better reason to come to your store than to return something they bought from another retailer, then you likely have a BIG problem on your hands. Sure, this will likely generate some traffic. But unless there's a great experience awaiting them in the store don't expect them to do anything but return the item and then leave. A return depot is just that ... a depot. And the cynic in me questions why anyone would let Amazon inside their doors ... anyone recall the Trojan Horse story?
  • Posted on: 04/23/2019

    Giant Food to fill prescriptions for fruits and veggies

    How do you do a standing ovation via email? If I knew how, I would certainly give Giant Food Stores one for this initiative. The link between nutrition and health is undeniable as just about everyone knows. Stepping up in this fashion goes beyond just the "let's make more money" mindset that prevails typically. It puts the customer front and center, and in this case focuses on what's most important -- their health. Yes this will produce a profit in the long run for Giant Stores, but it will be done on the back of doing what is right for their customers.
  • Posted on: 04/22/2019

    The North Face starts petition to make Earth Day a national holiday

    Who wouldn't support this idea (and who wouldn't want another day off)? The North Face and others do this with authenticity. Others seem to just use it as a marketing opportunity (a sale on TVs, really?) While I'm not sure this will cross the finish line in my lifetime to become a national holiday, it's refreshing to see brands step up and live to their values. You can't be in business just to make money these days ... you have to stand for something.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2019

    What should a retailer ask at an exit interview?

    Everyone continually rattles on about listening to the customer. Shouldn't it then be obvious that it's just as important to listen to your staff? If the staff experience stinks, so will the customer experience. You can't solve a problem without understanding why it exists in the first place. Employee turnover is a major problem for retail. Doing exit interviews makes perfect sense. And don't even attempt to run up the flag that you don't have time. If you don't have time for your staff, you're way off the path to success at store level.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2019

    Are people investments paying off for retailers?

    Pretty much all great points made above this. Having been in the retail staff training business for the past 30 years, I've been on the inside of this discussion for a long time. The good news: there's no longer much need to have to sell a retailer on the importance of training their teams. The bad news: far too many still don't make the investments needed. The proof is in the pudding for those that make the investments in their people. Average basket size goes up. Conversion rates increase. Sales jump up. Staff turnover goes down. CSI goes way up. Invest in tech all you want ... but don't forget that retail is a people business.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2019

    NRF: Consumers prefer self-service, but associates still have a role to play

    What we're seeing here is a reinforcement of where brick and mortar -- and in this case, the role of sales associates -- is heading. The sales associates of the future will be true brand ambassadors who truly represent and understand the products, customers and brand experience. They won't be minimum wage earners. Technology has its place, but so do great sales associates. This cements the importance of proper recruiting, onboarding, training and coaching. Push the notion of "employees are an expense" aside, and embrace the reality that your store experience relies more than ever on outstanding store teams.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2018

    Has wine in a can moved from fad to trend?

    This is a trend that has been around for a little while now. I do a lot of work in the liquor industry and have seen growth in the plastic bottles, boxed wine and tetra packs. Cans are just an extension of this. Have you also seen wine and prosecco on tap at your local pub/restaurant lately? It's another trend to watch. As a self-professed wine snob, it's not for me. But then again, there are thousands who think Yellow Tail (a booming success) is a great wine. Good for them. And good for all of us wine snobs to look beyond our own tastes and to the masses.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2018

    Gap sends its Visa cardholders to Amazon and Target

    The inmates are officially running the asylum. If you want to be a financial services company this likely makes sense. But since when does it make sense for a retailer to outright encourage their customers to shop at the competition (especially Amazon)?
  • Posted on: 07/26/2018

    Retailers throw ‘hiring parties’ to reach staffing goals

    Absolutely! Most traditional ways of recruiting don't work like they used to, just like most traditional ways of retailing don't work like they used to either! Create a great experience for the candidates and they'll show up -- just like customers. We know lots of retailers who have completely reworked how they attract and interview candidates and it's paying off in finding better candidates ... and ones who fit the company culture much better.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2018

    Need a nap? Casper opened a store for that

    Wonderful example of the current way of thinking about the "store as media." It's not about selling "stuff" at this location -- it's about the experience at hand and the glow that hopefully shines on the Casper brand and resulting sales through other channels. Retailers have to stop being just boxes on the shelf or, in the case of Casper, mattresses in a box. While you can't make every aisle and rack an experience, retailers need to continue to work on finding creative ways to bring more experiences/excitement/involvement/community to their stores. Do something that you can't do online and you'll find success.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2018

    Target offers discounts as teachers prep for back-to-school

    We all read too often about teachers having to reach into their own pockets for what should be already supplied by the schools. Governments seem to find millions in tax credits for corporations and the rich, but somehow can't get their head out of that very dark place to invest in the the children who are our future. To Target, and every other retailer who steps up to help ... thank you! It's good business ... and even better corporate leadership.

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