Sunday 2 June 2013

Scary Times for QVM Traders.

NAB has reported that online sales rose 21% in the 12 months to April 2013 and this trend has serious implications for traders at QVM.

Hands up all those traders who thought that the end of the GFC would herald a slow but steady recovery in business as financial markets recovered. Hands up all those traders who, in fact, have seen a continued decline in sales performance since the end of the GFC.

The retail media tells us that multi-channel marketing is the way to go. That means websites, Facebook pages, twitter feeds, email programs, mobile phone friendly apps, Google ads, and the list goes on. Nobody can guarantee that going down the digital path will produce significant rewards and, for small businesses that have relied on one retail channel for years (physical market stalls), the switch is like climbing Mount Everest with your hands tied behind your back.

Yet the evidence continues to mount. The percentage of Australian retail sales conducted online is now around 6%.  In the UK it is 13% and tipped to reach 22% in 5 years. In Australia the biggest online growth is in fashion, media, daily deals, and toys. At least two of those categories are in our own backyard.

If you have the technical skills to immerse your business in digital marketing, then get on your bike right now and start pedalling. If you don’t have those skills, then we will have to find an alternative. Perhaps that will be some sort of joint trader daily deals type website. Whatever that alternative is, it will need a lot of work. In the meantime we need to maximise our known strengths. In the top end we need to get as many tourists into the market as we possibly can and we need to give them a service experience like no other. Play to our strengths, and keep them loyal.

The future of retailing at QVM is a huge issue and this article only finishes here because we have an editorial deadline. Continue the debate with your work colleagues, business mentors, family members or just in your own consciousness. It is a business imperative.