Wednesday 30 November 2011

Does Your Stallfront “Shout” What You Do?

More than most shopping venues, we do our very best to confuse customers. The uniformity of our shop fronts and narrow aisles combine to make shopping a bit of a blur. Stalls at The Queen Victoria Market’s top-end are small and full of detail – a bit like shopping in a supermarket and trying to take in all the products on the shelves as you walk the aisles.
Does your stall make it immediately obvious what you do? Or, are shoppers at risk of passing you by before they have a chance to get interested. Take a look at the following two photos and give yourself 10/10 for picking the shop that communicates best.

Maybe it is time to think about the impression you create and the things you can do to stand out from the crowd.

From Anonymous 30/11/11 - 16:42
 picture No 1 , you have plenty time to read the news paper at home ji ji
From Anonymous 2/12/11 - 19:18
 Picture 1 is no different to every second stall holder on their mobile phones

From Anonymous 2/12/11 - 19:25
I would be more likely go up to stall holder who's only reading the paper instead of a stall holder that has brought the dog to work !!

From Anonymous 2/12/11 - 19:31
 Where is the second stall and what are they selling ??

From ED 2/12/11 - 20:45
The second stall is a file photo and I think they are Christmas decorations. BTW - cut Danny some slack. The photo is from his market interview and was chosen because of the excellent way his stall communicates its focus on quality Australian knitwear.

Black Friday US Sales Surge

Black Friday is associated with bushfires in Australia but in the USA it means the unofficial start of festive season shopping.
US Thanksgiving holiday celebrations take place on the fourth Thursday in November each year and the Friday after has become known as  Black Friday. Black Friday is the time for retailers to offer the year’s most sensational bargains and get Christmas shopping off to a good start. Retailers like Target open at midnight on the Thursday so as to take full advantage of the buying euphoria (see photo).  Early indications suggest a record sales performance last Friday at around 6.6% above last year.
As one retail commentator so accurately said – “One day’s trading does not make a season.” – So, there will now be an anxious wait to see if a good start can be sustained.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Dolly Brings Customers

Anecdotal evidence that the Dolly Parton concerts in Melbourne this week have brought lots of tourists to Melbourne with reports from a number of traders that business was good from Tuesday on. This connection between special events, tourists and business for General Merchandise Traders is the reason we have circulated traders this weekend asking for volunteers for a customer survey. If we can become more professional about understanding our customers, where they come from, and why they are coming, we might just be able to target this type of concert in the future.

A Not So Serious Assessment of Greece

As the world economy and various share markets stumble from crisis to crisis we thought it might be time to have a light hearted look at just one aspect of the dilemna. Thanks to Clarke and Dawe.

Latest Retail News - 27/11/2011

1.       NSW based Healthy Life chain collapses with 110 stores to close.
2.       McDonalds acts quickly to video of bird cruelty by sacking egg supplier.
3.       The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry warns that current industrial action is a sign of over powerful unions which particularly threatens small & medium businesses.
4.       A Perth shopping centre is encouraging shoppers to abandon online buying with the motto 'You’re not simply shopping, you're helping to create a better community'.
5.       Athletes Foot holds profit in “Worst trading conditions for 30 years.”
6.       Thorn Group record 30% profit increase based on Radio Rentals/Rentlo growth.
7.       K-Mart apologise for inappropriate slogans on youth underwear.
8.       Topshop/Topman, the UK based young person’s fashion brand is to open its first Australian store at The Jam Factory.
9.       JB HiFi has begun selling direct imported cut-price camera gear online.
10.   David Jones report 11% sales slump – mainly from their “wealthier” locations.
11.   ARA predicts slump in apparel and footwear this Christmas while food and household goods are expected to go up.
12.   In what is seen as a veiled threat to landlords, Sir Philip Green, the high profile owner of UK-based Arcadia Group, says he plans to close as many as 260 stores in the next three years as rents come up for renewal.
13.   AMP have followed Westfield with an online mall linked to its shopping centre retailers.

Market Interview - Best Of - Leo

Market Interviews are among the most read posts on this website and, for some reason, Leo's interview holds the record. We figure that qualifies it for a "best of" revisit.
Name? Leo
What do you do/sell at the market? Gothic jewelry.
How long have you been at the market? - 20 years.
What do you like best about the market? - You never get the same day twice. Also the views in summer can be very eye straining.
Worst moment? - Making an engraving error on a customers gold wedding ring.
Past jobs? -  Cigarette factory and hairdresser.
Sporting interests? - Jogging , watching any sport, especially soccer.
If you were CEO for a day? - I'd give everyone a day off to spend with family.
One thing nobody knows about you? I do life drawing once a week. All are welcome to view my portfolio.
Favorite food? - Chinese food, especially Peking Duck.
Favorite drink? - Chai latte.
Favorite TV show/ movie ? - Star Trek - Next Generation, Dumb and Dumber
Favorite Band? Led Zeppelin - my ultimate concert.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? If you're good to your wife, you will be  reciprocated.
If you had your Sunday arvo free from the market, what would you do. ? Go fishing with Herman, "Can I come?" Yes, but what happens out there stays out there.
If you were given a 2 week free holiday anywhere around the world, where would you choose to go? Japan - great people.
Man U or Crystal Palace.? Crystal Palace.

Thanks Leo
Interview by Tony

Saturday 26 November 2011

Missing Lights

Some consternation from E shed traders last week when they discovered their brand new lights had gone missing.
Turns out they were never actually connected and had been transferred to a spot where they could be used straight away. No doubt their replacements will turn up soon.

Friday 25 November 2011

Need More Customers?

Traders representatives are asking General Merchandise Traders to contribute customer information in order to get more customers past their stalls.
This follows the meeting between traders and management on Wednesday 23rd. November. Survey information will be used to better understand customer patterns and target resources to get the best return for traders and the market as a whole. Whilst the market has its own survey material it is believed that traders are best placed to obtain certain critical data.
Leaflets are being distributed to General Merchandise Traders on Saturday 26th November, requesting their participation in the survey.

Smartphones Are Our Friend

Computer generated online shopping is seen as the enemy to traditional bricks & mortar shops but our saviour may be from another high-tech source.
Smartphone shopping is on the rise and the good bit is that mobile phone shoppers are more likely to integrate traditional store shopping with their smartphone searching. Experts are even suggesting that retailers who have missed the internet based shopping phase should go straight to smartphone interaction with their customers.
 Australia has the second highest number of smartphones in the world so the potential is huge.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Traders Meet With Management

Trader's representatives and volunteers met with senior management at 513 Elizabeth St. on Wednesday afternoon to follow up on the rent discussions earlier in the month.
Discussions centred around the link between market performance and trader's incomes.
A positive tone was set at the meeting and follow up discussions will take place as early as next week. More details soon.

Traders Link With City Council

General Merchandise Traders have now established a relationship with the Melbourne City Council which will enable information sharing and consultation on planning issues that affect the QVM.
The next planning issue, The City North Structure Plan,  will be put before council on Tuesday 6th December. The final draft will be available on the council's website from 2nd December. Council advise us that there is no specific impact on QVM in this plan but we intend checking it out anyway.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Retail Sales Are Up

The Commonwealth Bank has  reported a more defined shift in consumer spending following the latest release of its Business Sales Indicator (BSI).
The BSI is a key measure of economy-wide spending, tracking the value of credit and debit card transactions processed through Commonwealth Bank point-of-sale terminals, a sample of approximately 30 per cent of the Australian market.
The latest figures show very small increases of 0.2%, 0.3%, and 0.4% in the 3 months to September but, according to Commbank, they represent the best performance in 25 months.
We are not holding our breath just yet.

Our New Facebook Address

For all our readers who use Facebook we now have a unique Facebook address. All our posts are mirrored to Facebook so this may be a convenient way for you to follow us.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Market Interview - Amanda

Name? Amanda
Born ? Wagga Wagga
What do you do/sell at the market? Manager, Market Espresso.
How long have you been at the market? 17 months.
What do you like best about the market? -  Varied crowds.
 Worst moment? Cold morning
Past jobs? Business Development Manager. Rock Climbing Instructor.
Sporting interests?  Rugby union. Tennis.
One thing nobody knows about you? I represented Australia at softball representative level.
Favorite food? Potatoes -  but I'm not allowed to eat them.
Favorite drink? Coffee – obviously.
Favorite TV show/ movie ? Dexter
Fav band? Armin van Buuren
If you had your Sunday arvo free from the market, what would you do? Go to a local cafe with family.
If you were given a 2 week free holiday anywhere around the where would you go?  Italy.

Thanks Amanda

Interviewed by Tony

Tourism Update – What Does It Mean?

The latest trader’s bulletin included a tourism update which we always take interest in but what does this really mean for General Merchandise Traders?
The update included news on hosting tourism volunteers from Melbourne and regional areas so that they are better informed on what the QVM has to offer. This process will be extended to some 100 tourism industry delegates. This is all good stuff although we have made a note to investigate whether the tourism end of the market (General Merchandise Traders ) are adequately mentioned in the hosting process or do we fall in behind food, the night market, and cooking classes.
Mention is also made of a new relationship with V-line which enhances shopping opportunities for regional populations. We checked this one out and it involves going to the V-line website, clicking on the shopping graphic, selecting from a list of Victorian shopping locations and clicking on Melbourne, downloading a pdf file of shopping vouchers, and scrolling to the QVM offer which is 20% off a Foodies Tour.  This is a fairly typical online promotion, in fact not unlike the QVM website, where you need to dig deep to find what you want. To be frank, this has limited value.
Before you start accusing us of being whingers, let us make one thing clear. The QVM is very good at hunting out promotional opportunities. They make the most of a variety of traditional and online promotions and we are impressed by their diligent efforts. However, correcting the neglect of high level tourism promotion will require a significant shift in thinking from the higher levels of management including the board and ultimately the Melbourne City Council. The Lord Mayor’s   dream of returning QVM to its iconic tourist status will require more than words and some free online advertising.

Latest Retail News: 20/11/2011

1.       International fashion store GAP is to open in Melbourne Central on 10th December.
2.     Metcash says it is in the final process of selling its newly-acquired Franklins stores to IGA retailers.
3.     Neilsen says consumer confidence slipped a further 6 points in the September quarter.
4.       Australian surfgear brand Hot Tuna is to be sold following slow growth.
5.       7 -Eleven has been named ARA’s Australian Retailer of the Year.
6.       Dunn & Bradstreet report that Australian business trading terms are slipping out to 53 days.
7.       Australian retail spending has posted its biggest monthly increase for more than 2 years.

New Concept Soap Store

You can already buy bulk cleaning liquids in some stores in Australia but this newcomer in Vancouver, Canada devotes its entire range to refills and cashes in on a growing consumer dislike for throw away packaging.
The Soap Dispensary, which opened in October, offers a wide range of biodegradable and gentle soaps suitable for children, pets and people with sensitivities and allergies. Bubble baths, moisturisers, shampoos, fabric softeners, stain removers, laundry detergents, non-chlorine bleach and more can all be found in bulk quantities and fully reusable bottles, thus helping to keep single-use plastic packaging out of landfills, watersheds and recycling systems.

Spot The Difference

What's For Sale Here?

Seen this week. One way to get your business in front of a lot of potential customers.  Actually, if there were more people around to see this sign, it might not be necessary. If you catch our drift.

Friday 18 November 2011

The Latest Online Stats.

This week’s report from the Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) has analysed what is really happening online. Some major points:
1.       Around 62 per cent of adult internet users bought a good or service online during the six months to April 2011
2.       59 per cent of adults went online several times a day for non-work purposes, up from 53 per cent in November 2009.
3.       Convenience (cited by 67 per cent of people buying online) and price (47 per cent) were the main drivers.
4.       Australians were buying mainly from local websites, although the share of local online purchases was down to 53 per cent, from 68 per cent in April 2010.
5.       The most popular goods bought online included travel goods (60 per cent), clothing (53 per cent), and books and magazines (46 per cent).
6.       People aged between 35 and 44 years had the highest rate of buying goods online, with 73 per cent of internet users in that age group making such purchases.
7.       Internet users living in rural and remote areas also had a high rate of online shopping, 70 per cent, compared with their metropolitan counterparts on 63 per cent.
8.       Most online shopping was still computer based, despite the rise in mobile phone technologies.

How To Win Customers Back.

Not only can remedying a customer service error put things right, but you can win a customer for life.
Some important points:
1.       Apologise sincerely, even if the customer is partly at fault.
2.       Say how glad you are that the problem has been brought to your attention.
3.       Empathise with the customer and the impact of the problem.
4.       Fix the problem.
5.       Make sure the customer is happy with the result.
There have been some high profile public remedies, like the recent Qantas offer of free flights  as an apology for shutting down their global service in an industrial dispute.
It is said that a poor customer experience will generate its own impetus amongst social groups. Over compensation can result in a similar magnification of good news. A small concession at the right time can be very beneficial.

Bizz Buzz Latest Deal

Bizz Buzz offer online deals specifically targetted for small business. This weeks deal is :

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Wednesday 16 November 2011

We Are On Twitter Facebook And RSS

We have just added a twitter feed from this website. So you can now get our feeds from these addresses with all our posts being sent straight to your computer or smartphone. Talk about hi-tech!

Twitter : @GMTraders
Facebook: General Merchandise Traders

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Victorian Tourism Awards 2011

Congratulations to the QVM on The Suzuki Night Market winning the Festival and Events category in last nights presentation of the annual Victorian Tourism Awards

Victoria University Award for Festivals and Events

Herald Sun Award for Tourist Attractions

Sunday 13 November 2011

The Battle Ahead

We try and keep our posts brief and concise on this blog but “tough titties” on this one because the issue is too important to cut corners.
Traders will be aware that the QVM have increased rents on licences by approximately 3.8% despite a growing realisation in retailing that rents need to come down. The increases commenced this week. The increase is particularly galling because it comes at a time when incomes are seemingly declining and even the majors like David Jones are expecting a 20% fall in sales over last year in the lead up to Christmas.
The difficulty for General Merchandise Traders is that, in recent years, the QVM has dropped the ball on our key customer group – tourists. Approximately 70% of General Merchandise business comes from tourists. The QVM is well entrenched in a push to attract locals to the market supported by TV campaigns and a glossy MarketLife magazine. In Saturday’s “Shabby Third World Queen” newspaper article, Melbourne City Councillor, Ken Ong, said there should be more fresh produce, reflecting the city’s multicultural diversity. “The Victoria Market is an iconic part of Melbourne. It’s an attraction to visitors. We want to make it an attraction to locals as well.”
Concentrating on just one aspect of our complex customer mix is a big mistake and neglecting tourists means that General Merchandise Traders are paying the price. Sure, the market has appointed a Marketing Assistant to look after General Merchandise Traders and we are featuring in a more balanced way in local promotion but the appropriate focus on tourists is missing.
If you read the online comments that followed the Herald Sun article you would have seen a number of remarks criticising the “$2 junk stalls” at the market. That is the locals talking. Don’t get it wrong! Locals are wonderful people and an important, if less significant, component of our customer mix. They are just not our core customer group. Locals see cheap junk, where tourists see desirable souvenirs. Ultimately the product mix in our stalls is determined by the laws of supply and demand. In other words the product mix is determined by our most important customers.
When management advised your trader representatives that the rent increase would not be withdrawn, they did offer to engage in ongoing discussions about issues concerning traders.  Your trader representatives are currently considering the format and content of those discussions. One thing is clear. QVM Management must be held accountable for getting paying customers (predominantly tourists) to our stalls before any rent increase can be justified.
Like we said - there is a battle ahead.

Latest Retail News - 13/11/2011

Latest News -  13/11/2011

1.       Federal industry minister Kim Carr has lashed out at supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths for abusing market power.
2.       The 5 remaining Angus & Robertson bookstores have been purchased by Supanews who operate 52 newsagents across the country.
3.       Myer report a 5.1% sales drop in September quarter.
4.       Giant retailer Best Buy is to axe its UK superstores in favour of smaller format stores.
5.       Myer is to close two stores including Forrest Hills and reduce its store sizes.
6.       Ikea is to open its third Sydney store.
7.       Southgate, Melbourne has been relaunched with a host of new retailers.

Market Interview - Drita

Name? Drita
Born? Aussie
What do you do/sell at the market? Souvenirs
How long have you been at the market? 27 years but here as a 3 year old.
What do you like best about the market? - Atmosphere
Worst moment? Severe weather hot or cold.
Past jobs? None - straight into family business.
Sporting interests?  Follow basketball and tennis.
One thing nobody knows about you? No secrets here.
Favorite food? Snitzel chicken.
Favorite drink? Cocktails
Favorite TV show/ movie ? Big Bang Theory.  Heaps of movies but no favorites.
Favorite band? Crowded House
If you had your Sunday arvo free from the market, what would you do? Lunch with friends.
If you were given a 2 week free holiday anywhere around the where would you go?  New York, Paris.
Have you ever had any interesting experiences at a relaxation retreat that may have involved a massage?  No comment. Strictly a need to know basis.
(That last question was supplied / requested by Michael (Biscuits) and Pete (Cleaner))

Thanks Drita

Interviewed by Tony