Hands up those traders who experienced a business buzz on Sunday 9th June?
It seems a combination of a long weekend, a Portuguese Food Festival, and "let's go out" weather produced one of the biggest market crowds we have seen in a while and for most traders it reflected in better business.
It was an interesting week with most traders reporting very poor business Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (what has happened to Fridays recently?). Saturday produced a pick up for many and Sunday was a huge crowd but with interesting dynamics. A number of traders reported an increase in "Anglo-Australian families" while a couple of traders were found wandering around the market just to get away from their stalls and the bargain hunting customers that were driving them crazy. A couple of traders reported high trading levels not seen for a while.
These are all anecdotal observations and we would be very interested in your individual experiences (click below) but in the meantime it is probably safe to draw some conclusions -
1. It is still possible to get good business levels if the right combination of crowd-drawing factors is aligned at the same time.
2. The old standards of customer counts can be thrown out the window. We had a bumper crowd on Sunday and business was adequate but hardly exceptional by pre-GFC standards. Consumers have changed dramatically over the last 5 years and, at the risk of being crude, they have become "tight-a...s". It is obvious that we now need many more customers to achieve a reasonable return for the day.
One thing seems certain however. QVM Management can stop feeling comfortable about 3-4% increases in customer traffic. Increases as small as that are meaningless in today’s retail environment. The game has changed significantly. We have to set our sights a lot higher if market decline is to be arrested. Obviously we can't create a long weekend every weekend but, if QVM could get the crowd drawing machine into top gear, and perhaps add a turbo-charger in the form of high profile marketing, we might just get the right results.