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
- Connect with Home Office staff face-to-face
- Take part in professional development workshops and listen to keynote speakers
- 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 2015 Convention offered all of the above, at a conference center in beautiful San Antonio right along the Riverwalk.
Here are some highlights from the 2015 Convention.
Store owners and managers had the opportunity to choose from three workshops, presented by panels consisting of Home Office staff and experienced franchisees:
- Social Media: Beyond the Basics – Expert social media tips, tailored to the Learning Express Toys franchisee. Topics included best practices for hosting contests, using shared content, and optimizing for each platform (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). Store managers shared their successes and data using these methods.
- TURN It Up: Increasing Your Turn and Maximizing Q4 – Best inventory and buying practices for focusing on your best sellers, and merchandising and selling tips to increase sales of those items. Experienced store owners offered advice on which specific reports to run in the Learning Express Toys system, and how to use that data to control your inventory.
- Ten Years in Sixty Minutes –A workshop for the “mature” store owner (those who have owned a Learning Express Toys store for 10+ years) to learn some new tricks. High-performing store owners shared in-store event strategy and ideas, innovative staff training methods, and new features and best practices in our point-of-sale program.
In addition to the workshops, franchisees heard keynote speaker Steve LeFever, Chairman and Founder of Profit Mastery, break down complex financial topics into plain English. He outlined actions franchisees could take immediately to evaluate and manage their business performance. Following the keynote speech, Steve hosted a more in-depth workshop on Break-Even Analysis to help franchisees gain a deep understanding of their cost structure and how to increase profits.
Hands-On Product Demos
At Power PLAY night, franchisees were able to try toys, games and art activities at 24 demo tables, staffed by the vendors themselves. From balancing the Japanese Kendama skill toy, to stringing thread around a plastic structure to make 3D String Art, to coming up with quick answers to the word game Blurble, store owners got to know the products intimately. There was a time limit for each table, then attendees could switch and find another. It was a fun event with laughs, food and beverages, but most importantly, store owners gained critical product knowledge to bring back to their stores and use to sell those items effectively.
The most essential part of Convention is the Vendor Expo, where franchisees met with 110 vendors at their booths, checked out new products, and placed orders for 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 with vendors. 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!
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.