Sunday, 8 October 2017

The Discussion Over QuadPods So Far

This issue arose following publicity that “aisle” retailing (forcing customers to go up and down aisles) was considered one of the reasons for retail decline. Perhaps more to the point, it is the absence of variety, engagement, and adventure that go with aisles. Then there was the realisation that the more adhoc stall arrangement at the successful Winter Night Market (using QuadPods) might be a feature that could translate to the day market. QuadPods are essentially a way of grouping four stalls back to back.  

Here are the perceived advantages:
1. QuadPods create a more dynamic, flexible, display arrangement.
2. Less structured placement adds to the feeling of retail adventure. 
3. The format enhances frontage for a given stall area - every trader is on a corner.
4. Stock and trader are highlighted largely due to the absence of vehicles and storage boxes (see point about storage in Reservations).
5. The customer finds it easier to see and move around.
6. Some traders will be able to make better use of their stall space in a QuadPod – maximises utilisation.
7. The format is suited to new start-ups and craft oriented traders and would enhance the markets craft credentials and its role as a small business incubator.
8. QuadPods could be set up in different sizes (3*3, 4*4, 5*5) to suit different trader requirements.
9. QuadPods could be set up in conjunction with current aisle arrangements to provide a complete range of choices for traders.
10. Quadpods would allow some traders to downsize as we move through a retail recession.

Here are some reservations:
1. Ad-hoc stall placement makes way-finding more difficult.
2. Not every current trader display would suit a QuadPod (see 8 above).
3. The absence of vehicles and storage boxes creates storage issues (Note: one trader has suggested that we have immense storage potential that is often not utilised under display tables).

Some other considerations:
1. Constant assessment. As we move into new arrangements, traders could seek the opportunity for a fall-back option. Just like in the old days when you had an option to move or revert to your old stall in the event of sales calamity.
2. Willingness to rejig stall (or QuadPod) placement as customer flow became more apparent. 
3. Where would you put the QuadPods within the top end? Early days on this discussion but the centre walkway between J and M sheds might be a logical area. A number of traders in this area already operate a similar format.
Food and entertainment options as part of the QuadPods could draw customers into the centre of the trading area rather than send them out to Queen St. 
4. The placement of QuadPods within the top end may allow some alternative trading hour options (e.g. night markets).

The matter of stall arrangement has gained significant attention on this website over the last week. If enough traders think it is a good idea we could pursue discussions with management. In the meantime let us have your thoughts.

Have Your Say – click here.

08/10/2017 18:12:56      QuadPods   Great for art and craft not so great when you have jackets coats fabric etc that require SPACE for display ...l think pods work when you have all day or night to shop not when you are part of a tour group or on a lunch break also I agree can be difficult to navigate when you have a pram or wheelchair....your comments please.
Some traders with bulkier items or big displays would have problems fitting everything into a QuadPod. The bigger 5*5m size is similar to a standard double stall on the deep side of aisles although it does have double the frontage. There were a couple of stalls at the Winter Night Market that handled a more traditional clothing display like Sgt Sookie shown here. 

It has been suggested that way-finding may be harder with QuadPods. Getting back to a stall you visited earlier may be more difficult for customers and it would be interesting to ask night traders about their experience. Although we don't make way finding easy at the best of times, particularly those traders who move from day to day. I would think that tour operators and regular lunchtime visitors would soon learn where their preferred traders are.
Wheel chair manouvering around QuadPods would probably be more difficult although the increased frontage with this format probably gives wheelchairs more access to more products than currently exists. Once again we will ask current Night Market traders of their experience. Wheelchair shoppers probably value our street level access and it is important to maintain convenient shopping for that group.
You raise some great points thank you. We will report back on the experience of Night Market Traders. - Ed.

08/10/2017 22:39:27      QuadPods   "While I believe in trailing various setup options before they are set in stone we are quickly running out of time.
If we are looking to start renewal works in March and not wanting to disrupt the fast approaching Christmas trade period these types of trials should have been started at leased 2 years ago in order to collect meaningful data and assessments and recommendations made in order to hit the ground running. Whoops?
If cars are removed from the sheds storage boxes may become more important for storage or display purposes and the pods may be less useful to more traders."     Stavros         

Hi Stavros. You haven’t been commenting here for very long but I get the feeling that you fall into the nay-sayers camp with plenty of criticism about the process and reasons why things won’t work but not much positive contribution about how we can make things work.
You are correct, it would have been better to start this conversation some time ago, but that didn’t happen, so do we blame someone else for that or do we apply corrective action now. This proposal is not going to set stall arrangements in concrete. It can be conducted as a trial without major disruption and the timing is ideal with a consolidation process happening anyway.
We have already raised the issue of storage and that needs to be worked through but there are at least 50 traders in the Winter Night Market who were able to do business without onsite boxes and vehicles. I’m confident that we would have a few in our ranks who can do the same. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do QuadPods with storage boxes. We have seen some creative ideas in the past from our box hire guys. – Ed.                                                                                                                                                       
09/10/2017 02:40:34      Quod Pods   "Rather than just asking for random opinions on this topic as a time saving exercise why not interview say 10 traders who work a Night and The Day Market for their top 5 pros / cons the Pods practicality and print those findings. With around 6 months till the Renew kicks off in earnest it may be the only research we have to go on.
PS. All your photo's of the Night Market show massive walk ways.
With so many traders being possibly relocated i'm not sure how much space there is to work with?" - Steve Mc.
Thanks Steve. You know I value your opinion very highly, but can I take exception at the term “random opinion”. There is nothing random about asking the views of experts in market trading. Traders have a lot to give on this subject and I agree that asking traders who do day and night their views is a great idea and that is what we have been doing. Part of this assessment included trips to the last two Winter Night Markets and talking with those traders. They will be an important and ongoing part of this discussion.        
I agree with you that there are likely to be space limitations in the day market. Maybe our next step should be to do some more detailed space calculations. Thanks for your input – Ed.