Thursday 1 September 2011

Where The Hell Are We?

In response to one of our Facebook trader posts, a customer asked “Where is L shed?” Now, we all get asked those sorts of questions everyday but are we in danger of familiarity masking what is a significant problem for customers?
Not only are our location descriptions incredibly archaic (what does “Rear of K shed” really mean?) but can you imagine going to your local neighbourhood shopping centre and finding most of your retailers had changed location from the previous day?
This problem is not a feature of the whole market. Food traders are generally in the same spot each trading day so really it is a problem for General Merchandise Traders. Tourists may be more accepting of wandering the whole market to find what they want but, locals, and certainly city workers, will place more emphasis on speed and convenience.
There is another aspect to this whole question of finding traders. At the QVM we have the biggest concentration of independant traders in categories like sheepskin footwear, sports shoes, and souvenirs, where there must be 8 or 10 stalls each. No shopping centre can compete with us in terms of product specialisation. Yet the advantage we hold is not immediately obvious to customers who have to walk the whole market to check them all out. The alternative is grouping like-stalls together! Grouping seems to work fine for shopping centres who, let’s face it , do get some aspects of customer convenience correct.
So we have two problems – firstly, our location identification is out of touch with modern expectations (“Well Rear of K shed is at the back of K shed but it is not really the back, in fact it looks more like the front, but that’s what it was called around 130 years ago and we’ve stuck with it”). Even lowly carparks have things like colour coding to help users. Secondly we traders move around and do a really good job of confusing our customers. Surely, in this technological age we can come up with a way around the problem.
We welcome your views.

2/9/2011 - 21:58
We have a great colourful place!Varied as we walk,that keeps it interesting!If we are grouped tog we would eradicate duplicity of the same owner,would that be wise?we would shrink;10% less stallholders(at least).I like people asking me the whereabouts of products they sought after!I really enjoy the interaction, in fact the locals have been doing "an amazing race" on sundays and ask where they can find certain things,eg.donuts or pencil or magnet.It's good for us DON'T CHANGE A THING!nO i'm not in a time warp!! - Rosalie

3/9/2011 - 18:10
I've seen you in action Rosalie and you are very helpful with customers but not all traders are, and not all traders have your knowledge of the market. Where does that leave the customer? - Greg

5/9/2011 - 05:57
I have personally spoken to a numerb of stallholders abut the concept of "grouping" like stallholders together, and my opinion remains unchanged, and it is this. One of the main benefits we have at the Market I feel is the relatively slow and relaxed pace patrons walk through our aisles. I believe that "grouping" risks creating a Shopping Centre style pace, where people have the blinkers on while they head briskly and somewhat blindly directly to their chisen stall/s.
Having personally worked at these Shopping Centres, decidedly undesirable and potentially damaging modification.  - Ivano

5/9/2011 - 22:50
" Here here" Rosalie! The market is much more than'just another shopping centre - "going to the Market" is a totally different unique experience in shopping. Differntiation in marketing & promotion is invaluable. The sheds are clearly lettered, stalls numbered giving exact address. How is this a "significant problem?", what is the arrangment re shop location in shopping c\re?? The Market operates as it has evolved. Traders have rights to stalls they have been allocated, is the proposal that all stallholders be re-located and for what benefit? How & by whom should such a massive stall reallocation be emplemented? What criteria for relocation?
Legal implications?
Massive upheavel to traders.
what of the 5 stall convention?
Where is stock grouping in shopping centres? By grouping we would end up with just 1 big stall of each after a while, the biggest one usually destroying the smaller, one by one. This would remove range and specialisation which is now possible and make the market smaller.We are not the same as fruit &veg but u can see the process in action there not many small fruiteres left. Lets not shtupp ourselves, market should be exeptionally well advertised and marketed well lit, really clean ,no smell not to much excessive noise fans in summer effective weather protection etc if it aint broken ...  Michael P

6/9/2011 - 13:50
Millions are spent around the world making shopping centres an adventure for their customers. In a sense we've been doing that since day one. It is literally an adventure to shop at the market and find your product and that is part of its charm. However, even the most adventurious shopping centres make it easy to find your retailer if you are in a rush. It is called customer service. They do that with informations booths, touchscreen kiosks and brochures. We have a website that lists many (not all) traders but still often says "call the office for location details". Sorry - not good enough. - Anon