Sunday 15 September 2013

Editorial: The Light At The End of the QVM Tunnel

Hope is a very powerful emotion and daring to hope that the fortunes of The Queen Victoria Market will turn around occupies the minds of many struggling stall holders, and certainly the minds of their Trader Representatives.
Over the last 15 years or so the decline in market fortunes has been obvious. Traders have accepted that the Global Financial Crisis has had a sudden and severe impact on global retailing. But underlying the QVM experience were trader claims of neglect, lack of accountability, and focussing on the wrong measures. Simple things like car parking that was slowly but surely diminishing and becoming more expensive, a marketing focus that neglected general merchandise, an unwillingness to measure actual sales in the market, lighting that in many parts of the market was sub-standard, traders not being heard as they attempted to highlight deficiencies, and the list goes on.

But there are signs that a questioning of past practices, and an interest in what traders have to say, is creating a new attitude at QVM. Let us give some examples – 

1. The Chairman’s announcement this week that Board members will attend QVM Advisory Committee meetings. This is a core issue that will give traders direct access to the key decision makers. We believe this is the first time traders have had that access.

2. Acknowledgement by City of Melbourne and QVM that measures of market performance have focused almost entirely on rent. Measuring wider market performance and linking marketing with sales results is now a focus.
3. Trader involvement in customer research. Management have arranged for Trader Representatives to brief internationally experienced market research companies on the content and process of new research to drive additional sales to QVM traders.
4. Engagement of professional Communication and Engagement expert, Jan Cochrane-Harry, to facilitate change and engage traders in a manner that has not been seen at QVM for a long time.

It is said that we should beware of the light at the end of the tunnel in case it is a train rushing towards us. We have no illusions about the tough road ahead for traders. We need to be vigilant and ensure that our collective voices and our interests are heard. Our new CEO will be critical to this process. But the initial signs are good, and new-found trader involvement and collaboration give reason for measured optimism.

Have Your Say - click here.

16/09/2013 11:31:25 light at the end of the tunnel "If we continue along the same vein nothing will change we need a complete Purge  from the ground up" AR    E Shed

Thanks for your input AR. I think the point of the article is that the vein has changed, but given past experience I understand your scepticism. Let's put it this way - the leadership shown from the top is encouraging and we will need to see how that translates on the ground. - Is that what you mean? - Ed.

19/09/2013 15:41:41 Leadership "No I mean leadership is only following previous examples on a pre -determined course and if it stays the same nothing will change" AR

OK - Understood. Leadership will need to change. The appointment of a new CEO is a great opportunity to achieve that. - Ed