Retail is a vital element for sustainability and also for the visitor experience. The Retail Resilience Programme, a commercial development programme and peer-to-peer support network equipping museums with expert retail skills, has had a huge impact on the retail offer of museums in England and it looks set to do the same north of the border. We are working in partnership with the Association of Cultural Enterprises (ACE) to bring this best-selling programme to Scotland.
What is a “bundle”?
This is a brand new product for us, as it’s the first programme to use MGS’ new ‘bundle’ concept. You can pick and mix which courses suit you individually, or you can participate in the whole programme and receive a 20% discount on the total cost, as well as added extras. With a bundle, there’s better value for money and a clear development journey through the weeks of the course. Knowledge will be acquired over months, so there’s greater chance of its positive impacts being retained.
Future bundles may be made up of publications, rich media content, training, or a combination of all and more. Museums will simply pick which group of resources best matches the needs of the individual and they can then follow that development journey, with more rounded, in-depth knowledge acquired over a number of months and a greater chance of reinforcement, making the most of participants’ time and resources. The theory is that our bundles will respond to sector needs, fill learning gaps and empower museums to reach their potential.
Our very first bundle, Retail Resilience, consists of three one-day courses looking at different aspects of an organisation’s retail offer: ideal for anyone wanting a retail ‘healthcheck’, to develop their existing offer or to develop a new one. Each workshop builds on the previous, and the result is a comprehensive overview of running a heritage retail business. The three proactive workshops, delivered by a team of cultural retail experts, will cover finance, buying and visual merchandising in a practical and engaging way.
What can you expect from Retail Resilience?
Helen Antrobus, Business Development Manager from the People’s History Museum in Manchester, participated in ACE’s Retail Resilience programme in 2015. She says it “…provides you with a real learning curve. You are learning how to do things more efficiently. Share successes and failures. It gives you the time and space to plan your retail offer. I met people in the same position. By attending the workshops, we realised that our pricing wasn’t working. Since then we have implemented a more effective pricing strategy. We learnt how to improve our visual merchandising by using cheaper materials and what we already have more effectively. It’s completely changed how the shop looks. We can do things for a lot cheaper while making more money. We now know our audience and have reviewed our suppliers to make sure the stock is more relevant to the museum and that we are stocking high-quality products from local independent suppliers that our visitors want to buy. Last month was our most lucrative month ever and that is a direct result of the Retail Resilience programme. We are now working towards consistent monthly turnover and attracting people that aren’t museum visitors by providing a quality shopping experience.”
What courses are included?
The programme begins with Retail Finance, which covers those all-important nuts and bolts you need to make sure your retail business is profitable for your organisation. Join John Prescott from the Association for Cultural Enterprises on Tuesday 31st January to find out about the stuff you need to know, and how to plan to develop your business.
Invest in our second workshop on Wednesday 1st March and we’ll teach you all about strategies for effective Buying. Trainer Selina Fellows will cover the key stages of the planning cycle, before giving insight into product strategy, review/research, range planning, sourcing or designing products, supplier selection and ordering, planning product launches… In addition, we’ll look at developing a buying plan, developing a product range and evaluating performance
And last but by no means least, we’ll find out all about the importance of Visual Merchandising. What is it and why is it relevant for museum retail outlets? Planning the shop layout, using fixtures and props, and display techniques are every bit as important as getting your numbers right when you want to run a resilient retail outlet, and we’ll teach you how to do it on Tuesday 28th March.
What does it cost?
The best part is (and here comes our very own retail sales pitch…!) the course price is already subsidised by Museums Galleries Scotland, with a further 20% discount if your organisation buys the whole programme: definitely greater value for money.
The prices are £80 per course/£192 for the bundle (Scottish museums’ staff and volunteers), or £130 per course/£312 for the bundle (participants from outwith the Scottish museum sector). Videos and info sheets will be available at a later date, giving you the resources to share knowledge with your colleagues.
“Very impressed with the course so far. I feel it is very relevant and informative and will make a great impact on my retail workings going forward. Thank you”
Jenna Scully, Doncaster Borough Council