For maximum benefit ensure the retail workshops you receive are…

1.       Personalised through pre-visits and discussions

2.       Relevant through individual research by experts

3.       Interactive between presenter and audience and within the audience itself

4.       Concluded with feedback, recommendations and priority action plans



Many of us will remember the “wonder of workshops” in our corporate adolescence. In days gone by we were summoned to presentation rooms and talked at on subjects we were not generally interested in, nor relevant to our working lives and development. The “wonder” was the day away from the everyday routine and a free lunch to boot. The one thing we remembered from workshops was ironically the popular mantra that “if you remembered one thing from workshops, then it was worth the while!”

My personal experience may not be typical and there were in deed some very professional and useful workshops, however thankfully the world of workshops has changed for the better where for once the time pressure of the working day has proven to be a positive factor.

As someone who delivers a variety of different workshops to a variety of retailers, and who remains in contact with, and continues to work with those same retailers it is clear that workshops can and do offer value to a retail business. However because of the constraints of time and the continuous challenge to absorb even more knowledge into our physiologically limited brains – the definition of what the “wonder of workshops” should be today has changed dramatically.

Firstly relevance is essential.


The old mantra is dead, long live the new one. Every minute should be relevant and be “something to take away” and not just a single something in any day. This can only be achieved through customisation and personalisation, which in turn can only be arrived at through correct research and client interaction, and that is only possible by employing an expert in your field.

It is simply not possible to prepare and deliver workshop material prepared by someone else, even an expert themselves. The interactive benefit of any workshop is often when the discussion goes off-piste and where an expert comes into their own. Beware the PowerPoint presenter for whom going off piste is a perilous fall to the death of their credibility.   

Certainly the time spent beforehand visiting the client’s stores, competitor stores and studying process documents, organisational structures and vm guidelines is essential to ensure that the generic becomes specific. Again expertise is essential to ask the right questions, make the correct observations, identify the most appropriate direction for the workshop agenda and ultimately prepare the most relevant material.

Being relevant does not come by accident, but through a workshop presenter understanding their subject, then understanding their client…and then bringing the two together.

Interaction is clearly a requisite of successful workshops, but not so much the interaction between the audience and the presenter but between the different members of the audience themselves.


Retail as a business is not unique but the complexities of bringing together many functions to deliver attractive and profitable stores does hold some quite unique challenges.

Unfortunately, one of the negatives of working in our technologically driven world is the physical separation and divisions that occur. These physical divides lead to cultural divides and ultimately a disjointed organisational structure with misaligned process.

Retail has to be a gregarious, people focused and without question an integrated process.


Before the first word has been spoken, the first slide advanced the benefit of workshops is getting the correct and appropriate people into the same room together. Without exception this always seats people together in the same room, who despite the integrated nature of their functions have never met or often never communicated with each other.

People comment that 1 or 2 days together for a workshop is a “luxury.” I would argue that it is in fact a “necessity!” all the more reason to ensure that every minute is maximised through the preparation of customised relevant material delivered by an expert.

The final benefit is feedback.


Don’t get me wrong, the audience feedback is always welcome and considered, however the most important feedback is that given by the expert presenter back to the business.

Workshops are not a one-way street! If yours are then you are heading in the wrong direction.


The interaction of a workshop throws to the surface of the discussions and exercises golden nuggets, insights into where priceless opportunities lay in how to improve the retail processes, relationships and practices within the business. An expert recognising such moment allows the further exploration of subjects and ultimately the ability to offer definitive conclusions and recommendations.

The workshop writer and presenter’s work is not completed after the content preparation, or the physical delivery of the workshop itself but in the delivery of the conclusions and recommendations action plan subsequent to the workshop itself.

How many workshop providers give you that?


So, in conclusion demand more than ever from your workshops. Demand relevance through research and personalisation; demand interaction between presenter but essentially internal functions; demand feedback with conclusions and recommendation.



VM-Unleashed! retail workshops:

VM-Unleashed retail workshops are practical and commercial. They focus on the systematic delivery of attractive & profitable stores.

They are completely customisable to cover either a single retail function in depth or more commonly several functions and the integration and collaboration between them required to deliver sales performance improvements.

Retail workshops can be 1 day or more usually 2 days in duration with flexible modules to suit daily client timetables.


The workshops are personalised to the audience, to the sector and to the job function and objectives of the retailer team present, however most benefit is achieved from an attendance from across retail departments and essentially buying & merchandising, visual merchandising, marketing, space planning, commercial, sales and store operations teams.

The workshop process also includes a day of client store visits and discussions leading to a review in the workshop of the client’s stores, as well as reviews and reference to competitors and current international best practice stores.

The workshops themselves are a combination of visual stimulation and strategic process insights and can also include practical exercises in a head office pilot store.

Every retail workshop is written and delivered to be as relevant and productive for each client as possible including both individual and team exercises and discussions.

For further questions and costs on retail workshops then please feel free to contact us….

Always expert and easily accessible.
Thank you.

tim radley - CEO,
+44 (0)7967 609849