Sunday, 17 February 2019

How To Get A Container In String Bean Alley

The extra 12 containers for String Bean Alley have been eagerly awaited and EOIs (Expressions of Interest) are now open.

A number of traders have already expressed interest in getting a roller door although the competition will be tough particularly as the opportunity to participate has been spread beyond current market traders. The new trading places in SBA have been advertised broadly on social media.

Perhaps the best advice to traders is to carefully read the Trader Information Pack (click to access). The overarching vision for String Bean Alley is for a community of stallholders that will provide products and services that:
• Are locally designed, sourced and produced;
• Are customised, bespoke and/or personalised elements to the product offer or service;
• Are a specialist range with a stand out point of difference; and
• Have an interesting story behind the product, brand and/or service.

The Trader Information Pack goes into more detail about what those ingredients mean and ticking as many boxes as possible will assist your application. Remember to think outside the square. If you can come up with something special, something that is likely to excite customers, and add a new element to QVM’s overall offer, you increase your chances of success.

It may also be a good idea to talk to current SBA Traders, check out the current container facilities, and actually draw up plans of how things might look in your proposal. SBA Trader Greg Smith can be contacted in Container 2 or on 0406222020 if you need trader assistance.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Heard Under The Sheds – 10/2/2019

A rather distressed customer told a trader that her first visit to QVM had been spoilt by ill-mannered or disinterested traders. She couldn’t work out why she had received such dismissive behaviour. Fortunately the trader telling us the story had shown genuine concern for her plight and explained that sometimes traders are distracted by other things (like really poor trading). The customer left with at least one trader showing understanding and giving the customer the attention and consideration that every customer deserves.

On a similar vein, a trader tells the story of a customer who acted a little strangely as he entered his stall. He was one of those outspoken customers who likes to make a scene, dresses a little eccentrically, and made some pretty outlandish claims about the important things he has done in life. He selected 4 of this trader’s more expensive items and asked if they could be packed while he went off to look at some neighbouring stalls. The trader didn’t expect to see him again but packed the goods anyway. Half an hour later the customer returned, apologised for the delay while he found an ATM, and handed over cash for the goods. Our trader was left happy and a little ashamed that he had jumped to conclusions about this customer’s intent. You can never tell.

This is a picture of a horse. Not just any horse because it travels greater distances around our market in a day than almost any other person or animal (or toy). The horse is attached to Guru Pete’s cleaning trolley and Pete believes it has been there for more than 15, and possibly 20, years. It was a gift from Kevin & Annette who used to sell soft toys in the market. Kevin and Annette still visit the market regularly for their food shopping.

Trader Co-op. With all this emphasis on recyclable packaging, one of our traders has come up with a bulk buying option for printed paper carry bags direct from China. By dealing direct with a Chinese manufacturer, and combining multiple orders, he is able to minimise freight costs and keep the overall cost down. Michael already has a number of traders interested and if you would like to join this co-operative effort, give him a call on 0411700727 or email . Michael used to be in the packaging business so he knows his stuff.

Bigass– no, we are not being derogatory. This is one of the brand names for huge industrial fans that may be very useful under our super hot tin roofs. A trader sent us this photo of a giant fan at a local basketball pavilion. He said the cooling effect was quite impressive.

A trader says she is amazed at the number of overseas customers who return to our market. One of her lines is a key tourist product and customers from US or Europe return to her stall on each visit which may be yearly or every few years. It is great that she gets repeat business and of course great that these customers keep QVM on their list of must visit places.

No Taj Mahal, but the improvements to the toilet block at the top of String Bean Alley got a few thumbs up this week. A good clean-up, a coat of paint and replacing a few fittings has certainly improved the appearance.

Marketing Slogan - A Trader Suggestion

Given the impersonal nature of much of today's retailing, this slogan came up in discussion amongst traders. Together with the photo we think it has merit.

Shopping Is Personal At QVM

Changing Retail

Here are a few stories that illustrate the dramatic changes going on in retail right now and there may be some pointers for QVM traders.

Self Driving Grocery Shops - With this new Boston service a robo delivery van pulls up outside your door , you unlock the doors with a pre-arranged code and you choose your groceries. We are mainly thinking essentials here like bread, milk, eggs, fresh vegetables and fruit.

Trader Joes End Grocery Deliveries – yes, this is a non-change because US grocery chain, Trader Joes, has decided to end its grocery delivery service in New York, citing high costs and economical alternatives as key reasons. Trader Joes introduced their delivery service when they had just one Manhattan store. Now they have seven so customers are better serviced and they have many alternative independent delivery services to use.

Ikea Moves Into Abandoned High Street Shops in London, Paris & New York – as furniture retailers and others move out of high streets, Ikea is taking up the space for a magical furniture display, where there are no tills, and no sales made, except those made on line.

Some Product Categories Are Purchased In Big Quantities Online But Not Food – Why?

QVM In The News - 10/2/2019

As customers jostle and shop owners holler on a busy Sunday at Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Davide Alberti is up to his elbows in dirty trays ...
The $3m cost of council's failed bid to redevelop Queen Victoria Market ... failed bid to push through its redevelopment of Queen Victoria Market.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Heard Under The Sheds - 3/2/2019

String Bean Alley reassessment. Now that 12 additional containers are coming to SBA we can expect a reassessment of rents and trading hours. Five day trading is on the cards and new rents will reflect that. Apparently discussions have started with current SBA traders and Expressions Of Interest for new containers are expected to follow.

Ups and downs of trading - some record breaking stories have come out this week, although they are usually the sort of records you don’t want to break. But with a positive spin, two traders have reported that their sales on super hot Sunday had exceeded their Night Market sales before lunchtime. Another had almost reached his total takings for Thursday, Friday, Saturday before noon on Sunday.

A few traders are pleased to see the follow through on complaints about the temporary toilets at the top of SBA. This week’s trader bulletin noted that works are to commence on the block from Monday 4th February.

Graffiti - after the nightclub on Queen St. closed the graffiti count around our market dropped but recently it has shown a resurgence with two instances appearing overnight Saturday. Guru Pete has had to call in the specialists. Graffiti is a bit beyond bucket and mop.

A trader has noticed that the weather station in K Shed has disappeared. The equipment was to record weather variations in K Shed as part of a study of trader/customer comfort levels. He suggested that perhaps it had melted away.

Traders getting together – a trader has suggested that once String Bean Alley is complete, it would be a good opportunity for tenants to get together and start creating some marketing impetus of their own.

Consolidation of stalls – apparently management are seriously looking at the issue (see “Its Time” article ) but rather than wholesale changes to our aisles they are looking at vacant areas such as in A Shed and C Shed that might be roped off for other purposes.

A couple of traders have expressed concern about the current pressures on traders. With January/February takings apparently reaching an all time low, some traders may be entering a danger zone of monetary and emotional stress. Maybe a good time to ask “Are You OK?” There are options for traders including consulting with Small Business Mentors - Call or email Katya at the Trader Lounge to discuss further, via 1300 631 171 or

Articles Worth A Read - 3/2/2019

This business buys from department stores and sells through Amazon

Challenging practices based on old standards

Physical retailing will not die

Latest Retail News – 3/2/2019

Latest Retail News – 3/2/2019
1. The gap between Coles and Woolworths narrows as Coles gathers pace.
2. Sportswear company, Skins, files for bankruptcy.
3. Chinese tourists spend more on retail shopping than any other travel expense.
4. Kogan share price up after strong Christmas.
5. Vicinity Centres property portfolio lost value over recent 6 month revue although Chadstone and DFO’s up.
6. Myer could lose Nike concessions.
7. Amazon planning its own delivery network.
8. Coles trials Uber Eats meal delivery service.
9. Food is the new fashion in Gold Coast Shopping Centres.
10. Chinese retail activity expected to exceed that of the US by end of year.
11. Walmart withdraws from Google Shopping Service.
12. Online furniture and homewares retailer, Temple & Webster, posts first profit.
13. Luxury retailer, LVMH, reports 21% jump in profit.
14. Insect food products expected in Australian supermarkets this year.
15. Napoleon Perdis blames landlords, banks, and online retailing for collapse of his cosmetics empire.

This Night Market Shot Is Revealing

The photo above was taken from a very popular spot in String Bean Alley during this Wednesday's Night Market. 
The rain induced reflections added a new dimension to the shot as does the eerie glow behind the tall buildings. That was caused by lightning strikes near the city.

The photo tells us something else because normally crowds would block the reflections on the ground but this was a small crowd and it showed in trader's takings. A rather severe rain storm on the cusp of opening (5pm) and the first week of kids back to school probably had something to do with that.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Where Is The Quality Control In Big Data?

This has little to do with retailing so tune out now if you wish, but I have a problem with big data.

Big data is the holy grail of business with companies spending millions to gain information about us. That is essentially what billion dollar operations like Facebook and Google do - finding out your preferences and then “helping” you by directing information that is relevant to your data.

I have just read an article that questions the relevance of different pieces of data that are held about you. Your purchase of a concert ticket for instance (which may not have been bought for your own use) suddenly becomes part of your data pool. Then there is the product you purchased on eBay and wrote a review about. That little action has become part of your data pool and, at least in a digital sense defines you.

Let me explain the problem with a personal example. I use an app called Flipboard for a lot of my news gathering. My Flipboard feed has links with various news services and subject matters. As editor of Victraders, I read a lot of articles about retailing. I also have a passion for watches (usually watches I can’t afford) and Flipboard knows that by storing data on my reading patterns.

So my news feed these days is dominated by articles about retailing and watches. Very clever you might say, but my fear is that the more focused stuff that Flipboard channels to my news feed, the less aware I become about the rest of the world.

In short, I don’t really want somebody else forming an opinion about me based on random data collection. And let’s remember they are doing this for money - big data is big business but where is the quality control? 

This is my data you are playing with and I would like to be more confident that it is painting the right picture.

By Greg Smith

Queen Victoria's Voracious Appetite For Food & Sex

Ok, we have blatantly ripped off this article heading from a BBC website but given our attachment to Queen Victoria we are confident we will be forgiven.
Maybe some of our food purveyors can draw a promotional link between their food products and Queen Victoria's preferences - preferably without the sex bit.

Here is the link to the full article - 

Have Your Say - click here.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

QVM In The News - 29/1/2019

To wind up the celebrations, head down to the Queen Victoria Market where there will be Melbourne's very own Lantern Festival, jam-packed with ...
One of the most successful theatre productions in Australian history, Jersey Boys, will make an appearance at Queen Victoria Markets as part of a ...

Other traders at Queen Victoria market also bowed out of trade in the hottest part of the afternoon last week, with local cosmetics brand Food For Your ...

Business Conditions Plummet With Retail the Worst Offender

Traders reporting poor trading conditions are apparently part of a larger picture with NAB reporting the worst business conditions since the Global Financial Crisis and retail showing the greatest weakness.

Falls in financial markets, and lower house prices have combined with lower retail sales to create a worrying trend.

See the full report on the ABC here - Business Conditions Fall

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Heard Under The Sheds – 27/01/2019

Good News / Bad News – This week’s Night Market seemed to get the thumbs up from participants but trade for the Day Market has been very patchy with some reasonable reports from Thursday. Friday’s heat saw many absentees and, despite better weather over the weekend, trade has been very slow. One trader said that there is a dark mood in the trader ranks at present.

One trader who braved Friday’s heat said the temperature wasn’t so much of a problem but the strong winds were quite destructive.

A customer complained that she couldn’t get the ATM’s to work properly – turned out she was trying to insert a parking ticket in the ATM.

Toilet complaint – The Toilets at the top of String Bean Alley are copping a number of complaints with one trader saying he had talked to management about the poor impression left on international tourists with our third world facilities. The ladies toilet in that block broke down twice over the weekend to add to the difficulties.
(Comment from QVM Management - QVM management are currently looking into improvement works for the toilets at the top of String Bean Alley. We would encourage traders to report any maintenance issues to QVM facilities on 0418 222 119 or For urgent or after hours issues contact security on 0414 550 451.) 

A trader returned from an overseas trip and says he is looking forward to a fresh take on things after clearing his mind of work and taking a new look at priorities.

A trader said that if the current Australian cricket team can win a test with an innings to spare (Australia v Sri Lanka in Brisbane) then anything is possible.

A tennis fan from Spain was saying that he enjoyed our market (“It is so big”) and that back home markets were very much a community thing - “Markets are in our blood."

29/01/2019 20:11:52       Heat   "Greg heat of the sort experienced last week and expected this coming weekend is indeed a problem on many levels. 1) problems with stock i.e. soaps make up and food. 2)there is a heat policy for older traders but when it is extreme it should be available to all. 3) fruit and veg rotting etc and last but not least NO CUSTOMERS  prepared to brave 38 plus temps!!!!! Your comments PLEASE."

Yes, weather extremes are a problem at many levels and climate change may require a new look. The new 1:00pm heat policy is welcome, particularly when we see that peak heat appears to occur later in the day, and those who brave the conditions do get trading opportunities earlier in the day.
“NO CUSTOMERS” - not really, because tourists in particular will always turn up. And that is the cruncher for us. Local shoppers can choose to shop another day but tourists on itineraries don’t always have that choice. We need to be there for them, and when I say “We” I mean those traders whose products and fitness levels allow  them to trade. Generally those traders will tell you they do OK on extreme heat days.  However, I wouldn’t want to be a senior trader selling chocolate fudge.
Thanks for raising the issue - Ed.

QVM In The News - 27/1/2019

Market CEO Stan Liacos told CBD News he was “heartened and ... Save Queen Victoria Market spokesperson Mary-Lou Howie told CBD News the ...
Google Plus Facebook Twitter Flag as irrelevant
The Queen Victoria Market offered us unlimited spoils for food, and perhaps most enviable in this day and age, was the complete elimination of the ...
Work has begun on the construction on the large-scale redevelopment of a site on the corner of Queen and Thierry Streets, adjacent to the historic ...
Demolition works have begun on the former Munro building to make way for the redevelopment of Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market precinct.
Google Plus Facebook Twitter Flag as irrelevant
Work has started on a major development next to Queen Victoria Market that will feature a hotel, community facilities, housing, laneways and ...
Google Plus Facebook Twitter Flag as irrelevant
... as workers demolish buildings on the so-called Munro site on Therry St before works start on a major development next to Queen Victoria Market.

New Night Market And Other Things

Well, we can’t complain about QVM being complacent with Night Market concepts because invitations are out for a new Europa concept market beginning in April.
The market will “ showcase the very best in European food, culture and entertainment”. Keeping our Night Market fresh and at the top of its game is important as competitors hone in on a successful concept.

Expanding String Bean Alley:
Not only are we getting 12 new containers for String Bean Alley but CEO, Stan Liacos, is talking about expanding trading in the aisle as well. In an article in CBD News this week he said “String Bean Alley once complete mid this year will emerge as another groovy enticing laneway for central Melbourne that will be able to trade more days of the week and for slightly longer hours than it currently can given its current half-done state.”

Munro’s Demolition In The News:
A great time lapse of the Munro’s demolition appeared in the press this week.
Click here for the link.
And then one of our traders (thanks Corner Larder) posted a video on facebook showing workers hosing down the demolition process.
Click here for the link.

Miniature QVM:
Legoland is featuring a model of QVM with some very recognisable features.

This Sign Nails An Important Aspect Of Shopping At QVM

You might have noticed some new banners around our market and these were photographed in String Bean Alley this week. 

The slogan on one side of the banner is backed by a photo of a trader(s) and they stand out very well.

The slogan that caught our eye was this one - 

The sentiment of authenticity says a lot about our traditional market. Many of us would see ourselves as authentic retailers with a strong work ethic, great product knowledge, and outstanding personal service at the forefront of what we offer our customers.

Our market is all about authentic shopping and maybe that is a theme that can be incorporated in our discussions about a vision for QVM. What do you think?

Have Your Say - click here.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Customers Are Video Shopping At My Stall

This new way of shopping has popped up at my stall three times this week and each occasion resulted in a sale.

Video shopping is when a customer remotely examines your products through somebody else’s phone. The phone holder, or proxy shopper, will show the customer on the other end of the phone products that interest them and it becomes a bit like a shopping tour usually with continuous banter and regular review and comparison discussions. “What size is that? Can you show me the larger version? Please get a close-up. Ooh what was that?”

The customer sees the products and the proxy usually has vision of the customers face so that their reaction is monitored. The whole process seems to be remarkably effective and, as I mentioned in the introduction, each video shopping event this week resulted in a sale. One customer even bargained with me on the screen - quite bizarre!

Perhaps the most memorable situation was a Brother shopping for his Sister in New York. He had told her about some of my products, apparently unobtainable in the US, and they organised a video tie up. The Brother purchased 3 items and was catching up with his Sister in India in a week’s time.

Another customer was a Mother videoing for her Daughter who collected one of my products. The Mother sifted through the ten options I had in stock and the Daughter selected from the video vision. Sale done.

Of course there is no reason why he video shopping can’t be done with the stall holders phone as the medium. There are a number of free phone apps that allow videoing and I will certainly be investigating those options and how to offer them to my customers.

By Greg Smith

Have Your Say - click here.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Heard Under The Sheds – 20/1/2019

A busker at the Night Market recently got his audience involved with a clever little activity involving a selfie video. He wanted to send his Grandmother back in England a special video for her birthday and as he panned his camera around the crowd cheered and jumped about for a very special birthday wish – great entertainment for the crowd and presumably for Grandma.

A trader who keeps good records says last year his February sales were better than his January sales and he is predicting the same this year.

A trader who went to the tennis this week says she can understand why tennis tourists are not spending much with us. Airfares, $400 per room per night accommodation, and the cost of actually getting into the tennis would drain many wallets.

A trader commented on our article last week about showing respect to new traders. He suggested that respect is two way and he is absolutely right.

A trader observed that walking down K Shed during trading time this week he counted 20 traders looking at their mobile phones. All posting to their business social media accounts no doubt.

A customer saw a thief take an item from a stall last week and alerted the trader. When the trader reclaimed the stolen item, the thief defiantly protested that she only stole because she didn’t have any money. The trader is still not sure how she should respond to that level of reasoning.

A little boy to his father on entering the temporary(?) toilet block at the top of String Bean Alley – “I don’t want to go in there Daddy. It looks scary and it smells.”

Gotta love the positive outlook of this trader – “Today’s market was populated by a very small number of actual buyers, and a very large number of potential buyers. Today was preparing for a future rush.”

QVM In The News - 20/1/2019

Polish Deli isn't exactly off the beaten track. You'll find it in Queen Victoria Market's busy deli hall. And no matter what time of day, there's almost ...
QV MARKET MEDITERRANEAN FOOD WALKING TOUR ... a guided walking tour of Melbourne's most popular and iconic market, Queen Victoria (QV) ...