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  • Joanne Neidorf

Results From Our Survey: Training Satisfaction

Merchant Insight Consulting conducted an online survey to gather input from individuals with deep experience in the Merchant and Planning functions on their experience of training and development "on the job."

We chose this focus because we believe there is an opportunity to improve both the quality and availability of training offered in retail buying and planning. We wanted to understand the current methods employed, how different types of content are covered, and how effective different methods are at achieving desired outcomes for training and development.

We started with asking about the respondents' satisfaction level with the training and development they have received.

Overall, our survey respondents reported a medium level of satisfaction in the training and development that they have received over the course of their careers as retail merchants and planners.

This holds true across all training subjects or content:

  • Process training

  • Systems/Tools training

  • Job-specific "hard" skills training (e.g., retail math, negotiating, strategic planning, forecasting, etc.)

  • General "soft" skills training (e.g., communication/presentation, time management, leadership, etc.)

High satisfaction with training and development is rare. The strongest response is for job-specific "hard" skills training where 29% of respondents report high satisfaction. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, 18% report no training at all on these topics.

The lack of this "hard" skills training for nearly a fifth of respondents is a real cause for concern as these skills are essential to being an effective retail Merchant or Planner. Clearly, this is a large gap in the training and development programs across many retailers.

Meanwhile, 35% of respondents report low satisfaction with systems/tools training and 29% report low satisfaction with general "soft" skills training. Thus, there is a large opportunity for retailers to provide more effective, engaging training and development opportunities for these crucial training topics.

Key Takeaway:

Satisfaction with the training and development on offer is mediocre at best... there is therefore a significant opportunity to improve the quality, delivery and effectiveness of training and development for all retail Merchants and Planners.

What Can You Do With This Information?

Knowing there is such room for improvement across so many of your peers... Do you know if your own Merchants and Planners are satisfied with the training they receive? How do your training and development efforts stack up compared to what our respondents report?

Can you improve how you gather feedback on training and development to make the information on the quality and value of the training more actionable?

How can you use the feedback to improve the training and development programs and content to provide more value and increase satisfaction?


To request a copy of the full survey report, please contact us at

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