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Regional Council Creates Retail Academy

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The Southern Grampians Shire Council yesterday announced a partnership with the ARA that will introduce a Retail Support Program to the area, with a focus on e-commerce.

The Southern Grampians Shire Council has partnered with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and the Hamilton Regional Business Association (HRBA) in order to launch the Retail Support Program. The program will assist regional retail traders remain competitive and relevant to the local community.

The program aims to be tailored to the individual needs of each of the participating retail businesses, which involves a diagnostic audit establishing a benchmark and current position for each company. This is to be followed by a series of interactive workshops specifically designed for retailers in Hamilton, Victoria with business coaching by retail experts to maximise the benefits for each business.

The skill based workshops are designed to tackle specific industry challenges such as customer connections and visual merchandising, customer service, retailing online, successful retail financial control, contemporary consumer trends and performance solutions.

Southern Grampians Shire Council Business Development Officer, Peter Johnson said, “Council is pleased to be partnering with ARA and HRBA to deliver these retail workshops in Hamilton.”

“This premium retail development training is a prime opportunity for retail businesses to hone their business skills while receiving individual business coaching and mentoring,” said Johnson. “I encourage any interested business owners to become involved for the growth of both their own business and the business community in the Shire.”

The program is limited 15 participants and costs $200 which the council says has been “heavily subsidised”.

The formation of this program is certainly a step in the right direction and is beginning to represent a trend as the ARA continues to be approached by various government bodies to help set up educational programs for retailers.

This is also a telltale sign that the retail sector in general can’t be flagging as badly as some of the naysayers would have us believe. After all, if there were no market and therefore no viability for these retail businesses in Australia, why invest the time and resources in teaching them how to run their businesses?

More than anything, the announcement of programs like these is surely an indictment of the local retailers themselves. There’s no better way to give a vote of no confidence than by offering to teach someone something they should already know.

What do you think? Is subsidised retail training for retailers a slap in the face, or is it the necessary medicine Australian retailers require to compete?

If you’re a retailer looking to learn about the basics of selling via online, please refer to our series of Power Up articles.

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