Friday 29 April 2011

Our Lifesaver

Thanks for the concept Mino

Our Trader Reviewed By Business Victoria

Tui and Nyree of Candle Corner are the subject of a case study by Business Victoria. They were smart enough to take advantage of the Small Business Mentoring Service as they developed the business they started at the Queen Victoria Market.
See the full case study here -
Well done girls!

Thanks to Misti for the lead.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Hidden Gems

We believe that there are many surprises to be found at the top end of the Queen Victoria Market. Quality products that offer a uniqueness and excitement not often expected in markets and in fact equalling the offerings at many so-called high end shopping centres.
We are compiling a database of these products for use in marketing campaigns and general promotions and will be highlighting certain products on these pages over coming weeks. This week the emphasis is on colourful items.
If you have a product that you believe we should be featuring, please email us or talk to your nearest trader volunteer.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

A Mistake With A Silver Lining

There is a story from many years ago that the market was closed for some reason on a normal working day but one trader turned up ready for business. There were no other traders and no office staff on duty so this trader looked very lonely. However, there were plenty of customers and our man sold well, very happy with his good fortune.
The modern day version of this story occurred on Easter Tuesday when food traders had decided not to trade but General Merchandise Traders were operating and there was a large crowd at the market. Apparently one of the fruiterers turned up for work, unaware of the no-trading decision. Yes, he did good business but had to clean up his own mess because there were no rubbish collectors on duty. A small price to pay we say.
The market is full of stories – we’d love to hear yours.

Thank You Jennifer Hibbs!

When times are tough, every opportunity to trade becomes even more important. The market had originally intended to close on Easter Tuesday largely because of supply difficulties for food traders. A survey of General Merchandise Traders showed that over 70% wanted to trade. Thanks to the intervention of CEO Jenny Hibbs the original decision was reversed and General Merchandise Traders were allowed to trade. Trading reports range from average to very good. A big thank you to our CEO.

Market Man Has His Say - "Market Man's Kryptonite"

"Customers Aren't Cautious. They're Just Bored" - Is This Just More Marketing Hype?

Another so-called expert has challenged us to excite our customers to break out of the spending drought. Peter Ryan, a retail marketing guru, has two pieces of evidence that suggest the “cautious consumer” excuse just doesn’t hold.
Firstly, official ABS records show that Australia is breaking records in retail sales. Figures are up, admittedly on much higher volumes than the actual sales suggest.
Secondly, some key retailers are doing very well –Super Cheap Group, Coles, Apple and Louis Vuitton are all recording record profits. We can probably throw JB Hi-Fi into that group as well.
There is a view that consumers have just had the biggest double-take of all time. The GFC has forced consumers to re-assess their buying habits and, whilst they may have the resources, they are not going to plunge back into consumerism without good reason. Products like the iPhone have given them good reason and our challenge is to come up with other products that do the same. Now there is a challenge!
It should be noted that the iPhone is not discounted, it is not part of a 60% off everything sale, and it is not being marketed in the same boring way that has typified much recent retail marketing.
So what does all this mean? – and how does it relate to General Merchandise Trading at the Queen Victoria Market? If Peter Ryan is correct, exciting your customers will pay dividends. If you have an exciting product in mind, now might be the time to introduce it. If you don’t have an exciting product in mind, it is time to put your thinking cap on. Not every product range has iPhone potential but thinking laterally may just produce a good substitute.

Sunday 24 April 2011

Market Interview - Andrew Cyples

Name? Andrew Cyples
What do you do at the market? Marketing Coordinator
How long have you been at the market? 6 Months
What do you like best about the market? The people, I enjoy working with such an inspiring and diverse Marketing team. But by far the best part of my day is going out into the Market, talking with traders and finding new and exciting products that we can use to promote the Market.
Worst moment? When my Jack Russel died.
Past jobs? I have had a variety of roles in tourism, marketing and retail promoting accommodation properties, attractions and travel services throughout Australia & New Zealand.
Sporting interests? Swimming.
One thing nobody knows about you? When I was at University I worked part time as a lifeguard.
Favorite food? Japanese.
Favorite drink? There is nothing better than a crisp pear cider.
Favorite TV show? I have far too many; Grey’s Anatomy, My Kitchen Rules, Neighbours, Home & Away and the Biggest Loser.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? Everything is possible, nothing is impossible. There are no limits. Whatever you can dream of can be yours.

Thank you Andrew

Saturday 23 April 2011

Retail Reputations

The company viewed by Australians as having the best overall reputation is up against some strong competition in the likes of Wesfarmers, Nestle, Toyota and Australian Post. That didn’t faze JB Hi Fi who recently won the award for the second time. The Reputation Ranking measures how Australians feel about products & services, innovation, workplace, citizenship, governance, leadership, and performance.
JB HiFi  are arguably today’s most successful Australian retailer. JB have never abandoned their bargain store presentation but they do it in a very professional way. They have clutter, but never look untidy. They maintain impressive stock levels, they are very conscious of being price competitive, they offer a moderate level of staffing, and they are very conscious of giving good service. It is no accident that JB won top spot in corporate reputation rankings again this year.
Spare a thought for Vodafone Hutchison who, after suffering bad publicity recently over technical issues, is now ranked below the Australian Taxation Office -  ??????????

Thursday 21 April 2011

Meng Goes Online With Watches

The latest trader to take advantage of the free web presence offered by QVM is pleased with the result. Meng decided on product photos that gave a more upmarket view of his range. Instead of photos with a large number of products he has selected photos of individual items to convey his message. Click on this link to see his page –
Quality photos plus a brief summary of his product range gives Meng an effective web presence for the thousands of visitors that click on to each month.
If you would like a presence on the QVM site, simply email Andrew Cyples at the office ( ) with 6 good quality photographs and the following information –
·  Short description of the business and products available  (aprox 100 - 200 words) 
·   Business name and stall or shop location  
·  Website  (Direct link  from to your website)
·  Email address  
·  Business contact telephone number     

If you would like assistance with your entry, including producing suitable photographs, please contact Trader Volunteer, Greg Smith (0406 222 020).

Sunday 17 April 2011

Market Interview - Rosalie Rokman

Name? Rosalie Rokman
What do you do/sell at the market? Wrapping paper & cards.
How long have you been at the market? -30 years.
What do you like best about the market? – Cosmopolitan, worldly, diverse people.
Worst moment? - When I lose my keys.
Past jobs? - My parents owned the launderettes in Errol St. North Melbourne and I was a representative for Vogue & Buttrick dress patterns.
Sporting interests? - Aussie rules.
If you were CEO for a day? – I’d go out and introduce myself to traders.
One thing nobody knows about you? - My boyfriend works at Dandenong Market.
Favorite food? - Theresa's salads (Romeo’s Cafe)
Favorite drink? - Di Bella Coffee.
Favorite TV show? - So you think you can dance.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? Be true to yourself (father).

Thanks Rosalie

Feedback - We crave it!

Statistics show us that traffic to this website is on the rise, and we are very grateful for that. You particularly like our Market Interviews. However most of our feedback has been verbal or via handwritten notes dropped off at the market. Some habits die hard.
You will notice that we have introduced a new “Reactions” checkbox below each post which allows you to simply click your one-word opinion. There is also provision for leaving a full comment but if you would prefer a simpler method, why not tick one of the checkboxes.

Friday 15 April 2011

School Kids Can Be Customers Too!

School children visitors to the market are often viewed as noisy padding.
You may be surprised to know that some of our traders do good business with school kids and it’s not just in toy laser guns either. School visits are usually pre-planned and there is an opportunity to promote market products with parents before the kids arrive onsite.
If you would like to be part of a school promotion campaign please email us with details of a possible school special or discuss with one of our trader volunteers.

Queen St. Promotion Opportunities

During discussions with Simone Cilia, Events & Marketing Co-ordinator this week, we were invited to come up with marketing ideas that would link a street promotion with General Merchandise Traders.
Fashion events are a logical choice but are there other types of events that you can think of? The aim is to turn Queen St. visitors into General Merchandise Customers. We welcome your ideas, comments, and observations.
Just click on the “Comments here” link under this article, type in your comment, select your profile (choose anonymous if you like, or sign in with a Google Account), and click “Post Comment”. Alternatively, email us at

Reminder - $50 Voucher To Be Won By Naming Our Website

We need a new web address - "generalmerchandisetraders" is just too long. If you are the first to come up with a catchy name that represents what we do and can be registered on the web you may win our voucher. Winner announced 30th April.
Submitted so far - "gmt",  "vic  traders",  "qvmtraders", "marketeers", "marketvibes",   "qvmgmt", "gmtcentral", "gmthub".
Just click on the “Comments here” link under this article, type in your comment, select your profile (choose anonymous if you like, or sign in with a Google Account), and click “Post Comment”. Alternatively, email us at

Thursday 14 April 2011

Meet Market Man

Welcome to our latest market icon – Market Man.
Is he a super hero, fighting for the rights of traders or a cute cartoon character just out to entertain us?
All will be revealed over coming weeks.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

A  lot of statistics are used in articles about marketing and advertising and, when they relate to retailing, you will see them quoted on this website. Statistics are just so efficient at supporting an argument in short time but, can we believe what they are trying to tell us? Here are some famous views -
                Torture numbers, and they'll confess to anything.  ~Gregg Easterbrook
                Statistics are like bikinis.  What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.  ~Aaron Levenstein
                98% of all statistics are made up.  ~Author Unknown
                I always find that statistics are hard to swallow and impossible to digest.  The only one I can ever remember is that if all the people who go to sleep in church were laid end to end they would be a lot more comfortable.  ~Mrs. Robert A. Taft
                The average human has one breast and one testicle.  ~Des McHale
            So, do we stop using statistics as part of our arguments? The answer of course is – No! We simply need to keep things in perspective. There are a lot of uncertainties in retailing as in life generally. Diligent assessment of issues is aided by statistics and, as long as we critically assess, we will be a lot further in front than if we do nothing. Just be prepared to be wrong sometimes. We will aim to keep the balance right on this website.......well, at least 98% of the time.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Market Rules for Better Business - No.1

1.Change your display regularly Shopping centre designers put a lot of effort into making the shoppers experience an adventure. They deliberately try to lose customers in the shopping environment. Customers store basics in their memory and when they visit your stall they are influenced by what they saw the last time they visited. If you change your display you change their perception of what you are selling, they notice products they didn’t notice before, and they are excited by the adventure. This is a simple inexpensive way of improving the customer’s experience and giving all your products the exposure they deserve.
Market Rules will become a regular entry on our website. What are your market rules? Email us or comment below.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Market Interview - Xenia Charalambous

Name? Xenia
What do you sell at the market? Seat covers & animal skins.
How long have you been at the market? - over 25 years.
Why have you been successful? - I know my product.
What do you like best about the market? - I enjoy the interaction with customers.
What is the worst thing about the market - What happened to weekends for the last 25 years?
Past jobs? - Waitressing.
Sporting interests? - Tennis and basketball
If you were CEO for a day? - I'd make M shed a trading part of the market.
One thing nobody knows about you? - I am now a builder.
Favorite food? - Laksa soup from the food court.
Favorite drink? - Johnny Walker on the rocks.
Favorite TV show? - Conviction cooking show.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? - "For what you want in life - Don't be scared - just go for it."

Thanks Xenia

Friday 8 April 2011

Naming Competition - Win a $50 QVM Gift Voucher.

We need a new web address - "generalmerchandisetraders" is just too long. If you are the first to come up with a catchy name that represents what we do and can be registered on the web you may win our voucher. Winner announced 30th April.
Submit your ideas by clicking on the “Comments” link below or email us.
Let’s get those creative juices flowing!

WA In Recession

What! – Can’t be! The West Australian economy is surely booming with all that mining activity.
The WA Chamber of Commerce disagrees. Quoted on ABC News on 6th April they say that, if you strip out imports and exports, the WA state economy is technically in recession as a result of depressed consumer spending, rising utility costs and falling house prices. In other words WA is mirroring what is happening around the rest of Australia.
On a similar vein, rising utility costs are becoming a real issue with AMP Shopping Centres reporting in a customer survey this week that utility costs (power and water in particular) are now becoming a major reason for shoppers staying away from retail stores.
Isn’t there any good news? Well, the good news is that Queen Victoria Market traders are not alone. We are just part of the big club of retailers all around Australia who are suffering from a spending downturn. Is there a positive way forward? The following paragraph will be repeated regularly in our articles over coming months.

Positive Way Forward:

Shopping in stores is not dead. Online receives a lot of publicity, and a web presence has its place, but customers still love to shop in real stores with real people and real products. General Merchandise Traders at The Queen Victoria Market have a distinct advantage over larger retailers. Firstly, we offer person to person contact. If we back that up with good customer service, we will always beat the department stores. Secondly, in many areas our product range exceeds any other single retailer. We excel in categories like value jewellery, sports shoes, undergarments and souvenirs. Add the fact that we have many hidden gems amongst our stalls and there is a lot to be confident about as we tackle the new-consumerism.

Thursday 7 April 2011

Reserve Bank Does Traders A Favour

                In its latest announcement on interest rates (Wednesday 6th April) the Reserve Bank decided to hold rates at the level set in November 2010.
                The decision to hold is very significant for retailers because the number 1 reason given for the current drought in consumer spending (other than the GFC) is interest rate rises. You might remember a series of official interest rate rise in 2010 which spooked consumers on many levels.
                The National Retailers Association (NRA) has welcomed the announcement saying that it brings the industry “much-needed stability”.

Tutankhamun To Bring The Crowds

“Revel in the splendour of Ancient Egypt as you view a dazzling array of possessions unearthed from the boy king’s tomb.” - so says the blurb from Melbourne Museum.
Melbourne won the opportunity to exhibit the Tutankhamun relics after strong competition from cities like Tokyo and, with the opening day of the King Tut exhibition just a few days away, over 100,000 tickets have already been sold. The exhibition follows on from the highly successful Pompeii and Titanic events and is sure to generate huge interest around Australia and hopefully bring more of those all important tourist customers to the Queen Victoria Market.
Public interest will be important to all traders but none more than Aki, our own genuine Aussie/Egyptian who is often called “the last of the Pharoahs” by his fellow traders. Trader Aki has a window display in the QVM’s Elizabeth Street display window this week and is hoping for a good response from customers.
It was suggested today that King Tut and QVM have something in common – we are both ancient relics. You may laugh, but it is true that we are both historic icons, revered by the population, and have endured the ravages of time.  We’d just prefer our particular relic to generate a bit more gold. J

Monday 4 April 2011

More TV Advertising By QVM

Early watchers may have caught the QVM Market Life advertisements on channel 9's Today show this Monday morning.
They were short ads with a vibrant colorful impact similar to that of the Christmas advertisement. As often happens with short ads, the exact content is difficult to remember but certainly there was vision of one of our jewellery stalls between the food content.
Keep your eyes open for these ads. We will try to capture some footage to put on these pages. All strictly within copyright rules of course.
The "Market Life" campaign is very positive although its full potential has yet to be realised as a vehicle for promotion of General Merchandise. After years without TV advertising it is certainly encouraging to see this QVM administration taking a positive step. Prime time television advertising gives a strong message.

Sunday 3 April 2011

Market Interview - Henry Ngo

Name? Henry
How long have you been at the market? - 6 years - One year with Benny selling didgeridoos then my own stall.
What do you like best about the market? - after trading on Friday I can buy fresh cheap food in the market.
Worst moment? - going home without a stall allocation when a casual trader.
Past jobs? - 3 years as an accounts auditor.
Sporting interests? - Soccer is number 1 but also like footy & cricket.
If you were CEO for a day? - I would spend time talking with traders.
One thing nobody knows about you? - I am currently studying Graphic Design.
Favorite food? - I may look skinny but I like all food, especially fruit.
Favorite drink? - At the market - fruit juice. After the market - Heineken.
Favorite TV show? - I don't get much time to watch TV but for a quick watch - 2 1/2 Men.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? - My Father said "Always try harder".
Thanks Henry.
(Ed - Henry recently became a Trader Volunteer for General Merchandise Traders.)

Editorial - Queen Vic's New Marketing Plan

Don’t make the same mistake your editor did because the article in Inside Retailing this week refers to the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney not our venerable Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne.
The confusion was further strengthened by reference to the QVB’s new theme of “Art of Life” which links very loosely to our own “Market Life” campaign.
Enough of the confusion. Apparently the QVB Autumn/Winter fashion campaign celebrates the era where a woman’s elegance and charm were her preferred accessories. The campaign uses words like classic yet contemporary and vibrant yet nostalgic while being synonymous with the Queen Victoria Building and what it stands for. It is good to see a retailing entity tackling its identity head-on in the face of depressed consumer sentiment. Indeed, it has been suggested that new-consumerism will favour the brave.
Makes you wonder what a new marketing campaign for General merchandise Traders at The Queen Victoria Market might look like. We, sure as hell, need one!

Debit Cards Are The New Cash

The Reserve Bank of Australia has released a study on Payment Use as part of its assessment of future banking and monetary trends. The results show that cards are the most common form of payment for purchases between $50 and $500.
As expected customers are turning more to debit cards instead if cash to purchase goods at the till. Cash remains a dominant payment method for low-value purchases but its use has dropped in the 3 years since the last study, with debit cards now being more popular.
Convenience and speed are important factors and may explain why people continue to use cash for small value transactions but the emergence of “touch and go cards” is likely to make card payments even more important to customers.
Traders who don’t offer card facilities may need to consider how long our customers will agree to go down to the ATMs in Queen St. before making their purchase. Convenience is the name of the game here.

Choice Retail Consumer Awards

Bunnings won this year’s consumer Choice award scoring best on range, staff helpfulness, after sales service and store environment factors. Unlike a similar survey in the UK where price was paramount, Choice found Australian participants rated product range as the most important factor.
"It seems customers of warehouse-style bargain marts don't demand a good in-store environment, but do require a wide range of products in stock at a low price. Customers still rate upmarket chains well for ambience and after sales service, as well as pricing."
Other findings included –
                Service – the survey found that consumers will visit stores that don’t rate best for price as long as staff are helpful, knowledgeable and plentiful. This is one area where the Queen Victoria Market has an advantage over its competitors. We can provide personalised service to all our customers in a way that department stores struggle to achieve.  Interestingly, online voters also rated service very highly but were presumably referring to aspects like convenience, communication and direct delivery/time saving.
                Staffing – inadequate staffing and particularly waiting in queues was a major turnoff for consumers in this survey. Once again, we have an advantage.
                Price – price is important and has driven many consumers to go online. However, it is not the only factor and, as long as the price differential is not too large, consumers will be influenced by service, convenience and ambience.
                Ambience – 76% of respondents rated a pleasant in-store environment as being important although presumably, with Bunnings as our winner, it doesn’t have to be luxurious. Significant turnoffs included loud and unpleasant music, aisles that were untidy and crowded and poorly regulated climate control (Ed – Wonder how completely unregulated climate control features?).