ORLANDO, Florida – Every June, in a different US city, Learning Express Toys hosts a franchise-wide Convention. All store owners look forward to Convention each year, because the information and connections they gain are invaluable.
Convention offers franchisees the opportunity to:
• Share experiences with their fellow store owners and managers
• Connect with Home Office staff face-to-face
• Take part in professional development workshops
• Meet vendors face-to-face and check out new products at the Vendor Expo
• Place orders for the critical fourth-quarter holiday season with special vendor terms
Our 2016 Convention offered all of the above, at the Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate.
Here are some highlights from the 2016 Convention:
This year’s Convention theme was “Building on the Best.” As a company, we believe we deliver the best product selection, customer service, and WOW experience to our customers – but we are always striving to improve. One of the benefits of being part of our franchise family is the ability to learn from our highest-performing stores and adopt those best practices.
One of our favorite ways to share at Convention is through roundtable discussions. Attendees choose the topics they are most interested in, have 20 minutes to share experiences and ideas, then switch. Topics this year were:
• Friends + Family + VIP Nights
• Birthday Boxes / Holiday Wish Lists
• Winning Window WOWs
• Staff Incentives
• How to Compete in November 2016
• Holiday Partnerships
• Manager Responsibilities
• Building Your Customer List
• Over the Top Personalization
• Dos and Don’ts for Multi-tasking Multi-store Owners
• Story Time Success
Next, we heard from our Panel of the Pros: Six store owners and managers with over 80 years of combined experience. They shared wisdom and answered questions from fellow store owners of managing work/life balance and where to focus their attention.
Finally, store owners and managers were divided into two informal meetings suited especially for them. Store owners discussed creating customers who are raving fans, social media 2.0 and making the most of the critical holiday season. Managers traded tips on customer engagement, employee motivation, social media and inventory management.
Hands-On Product Demos
At PowerPLAY night, franchisees were able to try toys, games and art activities at 20 demo tables, staffed by the vendors themselves. From the wacky, hand-slapping Happy Salmon game to dripping abstract art with Crayola’s new Melt & Make crayons, store owners got to know the products intimately. It is always a fun event with laughs, food and beverages, but most importantly, store owners gained critical product knowledge to bring back to their stores to share with customers.
The most essential part of Convention is the Vendor Expo, where franchisees met with 109 vendors at their booths, checked out new products, and placed orders for the holiday season with special terms. Learning Express Toys store owners place their orders directly with vendors, offering them both substantial control over their inventory and the ability to form relationships. At Convention, franchisees get face-to-face interaction with the vendors and gain a deeper knowledge of the product and product lines. This product expertise is part of what sets Learning Express Toys apart!
Fun and Games
In addition to socializing at mealtimes and relaxing in the Lazy River at the resort, attendees enjoyed a rousing game of Survey Says during our banquet entertainment! Survey Says is a Family Feud-style game in which teams at each table answer poll questions, the team on the main stage guesses how others answered.
Convention is a vital part of the Learning Express Toys culture. We think of our franchisees as family, and Convention reflects that – from the welcome-back hugs at registration to the drinks, jokes and smiles during meals and our entertainment night. We want our franchisees to be successful, and to that end, the Home Office offers hands-on support at Convention and all year round.
For information on franchising, visit our franchise page.