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: 05/18/2020

    What’s J.C. Penney’s next move?

    How about the landlords just accept the reality that the B and C mall properties (where most J.C. Penney stores live) need a complete rethink. Consider transforming these properties into full mixed-use assets. Knock down the anchors (ironically anchors always sink), add in residential, grocery, community centers, gyms, health care. View this bankruptcy, and those to come, as the opportunity to finally move forward instead of hoping these dinosaurs can live again.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2020

    Are Amazon’s at-cost face shields an act of goodwill or predatory behavior?

    I'm not one to trust Amazon and its forays into private label. However, this is more than fine with me. In fact, it's a good business move that also demonstrates a social conscience on their part. I don't say this too often when it comes to Amazon, but -- well done!
  • Posted on: 05/14/2020

    Pandemic stresses retail HR departments

    I have to approach this from the brick-and-mortar angle, as that's where I "live." The reality is that frontline staff are now way more important than ever. There's going to be less traffic in the stores for a long time, so the only way to maintain/grow sales is to increase conversion rates and average sale. That falls predominantly on the shoulders of the staff. So amid the need for safety training and protocols is the immense need to give staff the skills and knowledge they need to create a great customer experience, and through that process, drive sales. HR is going to have to step up, find the resources, and put staff at the front of the line.
  • Posted on: 05/12/2020

    PepsiCo launches direct-to-consumer sites for its brands

    Another entry into the growing D2C market. Light bulbs re-order themselves direct from the manufacturer. Furnace filters do the same. The spotlight here is how brands are looking to move past the retailers and go direct to consumers. Once a consumer goes direct, the data flow to the brand and the brand now owns the relationship and can begin to leverage it. Nothing big here in the short term -- but it's a slippery slope to watch out for.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2020

    Gap plans move into non-apparel categories

    Interesting move, and one that reminds me of how big box book stores morphed into lifestyle stores to maintain relevance and foot traffic. For many, that worked out very well. Apparel sales will likely head south for a long time, and the category is extremely over stored. The same was the case for books. So if they can execute this well, this may in fact be a great move.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2020

    Is curbside pickup just getting started?

    Retailers should be careful about "pushing" curbside pickup as an option. Some customers may like it, But the drop off in impulse sales makes this likely just another part of the race to the bottom. The brand experience, discovery, personal connection and more all disappear. Curbside pickup turns the store into just a warehouse. It may be a bedfellow retailers need to live with ... but don't cozy up to it too much.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2020

    Will the new normal look a lot like the old normal?

    Some great commentary here, which is a breath of fresh air given the non-stop negative views pushed by the media. There's a lot we all know, and lot more we don't. Fact-based decision making is essential at times like this. The fact we know best, and that's been researched for years, is that humans are hard-wired for connection and social interaction. That doesn't exist with much depth online. Will there be changes? Yes, but what they will be are mostly guesses now. What's most likely is that retailers of all types are going to have to raise their games substantially in all areas of operation. The consumer will win again.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2020

    Is it okay to profit from a pandemic?

    Profit isn't a bad word. Gouging is. The price of a thing is what it will bring -- so if someone wants to spend $200 on a fashionable/branded mask then it's their choice. People have spent thousands on a simple designer handbag that does no more than a plastic bag does. It's a very transparent world. So as we've seen and retailers have all learned, when you step outside the lines you get called on it quickly.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2020

    Does anybody remember Earth Day?

    Do you get the feeling that Mother Nature has sent us to our room to think about what we've done to the world? Take a look at how the Earth is healing during this pandemic. Pollution levels have plunged. The Venice canals are clear. Wildlife is returning. Heck, if you can't get recycling right, how are you going to heal the world? This isn't that hard people. It just needs some solid leadership for a change, and a little less money worship.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2020

    Some customers play bait and zero tip tricks on Instacart shoppers

    Perfect solution, Ben. That would certainly improve everyone's behavior.
  • Posted on: 03/31/2020

    Canceled orders and furloughed employees are part of today’s retail reality

    What a surreal period of history we find ourselves in today. The decisions needed to be made by not just retailers, but everyone else too, could never have been planned for. Survival comes first, of course. Looking after employees, the one who helped build your success all along (and will in the future again) is so important. You may not be able to pay them their full wage, or any at all, but how you treat them now will go a long way in determining how they will treat you when they come back. Vendors always seem to "take it in the teeth" when business gets tough. Let's just remember they have employees too, and aren't just a company name.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2020

    How will I pay my employees next month?

    There's no easy answer for any small business. All of the financial advice above is very sound. The one thing that needs to happen is for leadership to be transparent about the situation. Keep your staff informed about the realities of what's happening and what you/they can do to keep things moving for as long as possible. Rumors, wrong information, the media ... they all add up to more anxiety.
  • Posted on: 12/10/2019

    Did Aviation Gin just make lemonade from Peloton’s lemons?

    Stephen and Neil get it absolutely right above. I never understood the negative backlash against the Peloton ad in the first place, other than of course being aware of the never-ending chorus of the media who need a negative story to run with each day it seems. Given the increased focus on mental health you would have thought more people would have got this. Peloton needed to step and and do a better job of explaining their intent. Hats off to Aviator Gin for seeing and running with an opportunity.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Kohl’s vs. Macy’s

    This is almost like putting the Bengals up against the Ravens! Not even close. The Kohl's commercial is just OK ... it lacks anything unique. More importantly there's little to no experience, emotion or story. By comparison, the Macy's spot hits on where retailers need to be with their concepts these days ... experience, emotional connections and stories. Love it!
  • Posted on: 11/18/2019

    What will happen now that Five Below has gone above $5?

    The way they are handling their in-store merchandising approach to introduce these more expensive items is right on the spot. There's little reason for any customer to move their business away from them -- unless they can't control their own spending habits. Dollarama is a juggernaut here in Canada and continues to post great results. They've introduced items up to $4 with the only impact being higher average sales.

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