Soil Association online training gets thumbs up


The Soil Association’s new online training programme for retailers has got off to a good start, with 90% of those who completed the evaluation saying the training was of high or very good quality.

The free one-hour online training aims to give retailers and their staff a useful insight into selling organic, says the Soil association, and the two sessions it has so far run directly for independent retailers have both proved to be popular.

“We cover some of the key things that will help independent retailers sell more organic products,” explains Lee Holdstock, trade relations manager at Soil Association Certification. “For example, looking at who the organic customer is – understanding your customer is essential to ensuring repeat business. We share the latest insights and trends in the organic market that can help retailers learn more about what people want. All of this is free of charge to independent retailers. We know that sales of organic are outpacing the multiples (5.7% reported in our last Organic Market Report), and so we are offering a range of different tools to support retailers in increasing their sales of organic even further. From point of sale materials to online training to a free visual merchandising guide to use in store to whole away days that help those new to organic understand more about it.”

He adds: “Soil Association Certification has a reputation for excellence in training. Although our well-attended on-farm ‘Learning Days’ regularly elicit glowing testimonials, we know it’s challenging for smaller retailers to take an entire day away from the business. A snappier one-hour on-line session specifically for indies appeared to be needed.

“Feedback on the two session held this year has been excellent, but we’re not resting on our laurels. What retailers are telling us is that understanding the benefits of organic and what motivates consumers are of most interest, so we’re amending our content to reflect this and plan to run quarterly sessions through 2016.”

Retailer Fred Moar from Greencity, who took part in one of the sessions said: “The training was very informative and interesting – there was a bit of levity there also which was great! I look forward to more training opportunities from the Soil Association.”