By John Blake
It’s no secret that surf retail has had a turbulent decade.
And while I’m not about to go into all the different commentary on what those elements are that have contributed to that turbulence (ie online etc etc) there is one overarching outcome that has emerged really clearly and it’s this…
The biggest opportunity right now in surf retail is to create a visceral client experience in store that results in clients wanting to 1. Spend and 2. Return.
It’s that simple…or at least it sounds simple. As much as many retailers have been talking like this for some time, firstly, it’s actually easier said than done and secondly, it’s difficult to maintain it consistently.
Thirdly, it’s no longer something that just sounds good coming out of surf retailer’s mouth.
It’s become a must.
I caught up with a retailer who I dealt with in the early 90’s of all places in the line up in the Mentawais. I hadn’t seen him for literally 20 years and hardly recognised him. But we got chatting (after we realised where we knew each other from) about how so much has changed.
Then he said something that really resonated with me.
He said, “I wished I could have run my store 20 years ago the way I run it today I would have made soooo much more money”
To which I replied “yeah but you didn’t have to back then, today it’s no longer an option you HAVE to run your business like you do otherwise you wouldn’t still be here”
Which is why we created the Online Surf Retail Training.
The idea was to give not just full time staff the benefit of training based on the fact they were the most likely to stay with the business, it was to give the other staff, the casuals the part timers access to the same opportunity to win on the shop floor.
Because when your team have the tools to win you win. And when you win the industry wins. And if surf retail is to not just survive but also power into the new era of retail, everyone needs to have the best opportunity possible to keep winning.
The system you have access to with the SBIA training is the same system that the likes of Cotton On have used to grow their store base from 200 to over 1300 stores in 17 countries.
In short it works and has done since I started teaching it all those years ago to great retailers who have weathered the retail storms and stood the test of time like Strapper Surf, Red Herring, Osmosis and the Oakley O-Stores.
It’s designed so that you can give your entire team a refresher every quarter and invest the same amount that it would have cost to send 1 team member to a 1-day training plus their wage.
I’m stoked to see everyone really starting to embrace the training and also that surf retailers are giving such positive feedback on the results they are getting by having their teams trained up and ready to maximise the opportunity to serve store clients in a way that serves the client first and foremost while maximising the value of the sale and creating a buying experience that makes them most likely to return.