On the end of every aisle in a Woolworths supermarket hangs a laminated card with a directory of all the major food products and where they are located in the store. The Queen Vic Market needs something like that.
Like many traders I pride myself on helping customers looking for goods. Last week a customer walked into my stall with her daughter and said she was looking for a stall where they bought two embroidered hand bags the day before. They loved their purchase and wanted to buy more. Often the best course of action is to ask a competitors stall for information but while handbag stalls used to be on every corner, there wasn't one nearby (a sign of the times). So the next step was a quick call to the office but "embroidered hand bags" were not showing up on their database. We asked a number of nearby traders but nobody had the right information.
Sadly, the best course of action we could offer the customer was to keep on walking the aisles and searching. QVM occupies a very large retail site and many of our traders move from day to day. Finding stalls is an age old problem and we know that QVM's plans for back room software support include more sophisticated way-finding. But with retail publications screaming about the importance of customer service, we need to find a solution sooner rather than later.
Renewal funds are not a bottomless bank but way-finding at QVM should be a priority for this market. It is one sure way of bringing QVM out of the dark ages and into the modern world of customer convenience. And it is one measure that doesn't require a significant physical change to our wonderful traditional surroundings. ATM's are a great example of how modern technology can unobtrusively fit into a traditional market. We need something similar for way-finding.