Sunday 31 December 2017

Extended Trading – Doing It Better

Crowd in K Shed during extended trading on Friday before New Year.
Taken at 3:00pm, the normal closing time.

The Friday before Christmas (22nd December) and the Friday before New Year (29th December) were identified for extended trading in the Specialty Merchandise upper market but traders are suggesting we need to do a better job of responding to these occasions.

The extension from 3:00pm closing to 5:00pm closing made sense in view of the special occasions of Christmas and New Year. The Friday before Christmas provided a useful sales boost after 3:00pm for a number of traders with one reporting that he achieved an extra 60% sales during the extension.

Extended trading on the Friday before New Year was probably less successful although early packers, including at least one trader driving up the aisle 2 hours before closing probably didn’t help. Here are some of the points made by traders –

Better Communication – hours were published on the QVM website and each trader given a copy of the trading calendar but maybe an SMS on the morning of the extended trading day would assist uniform trading. A couple of traders said they simply responded to their normal trading patterns and forgot about the extended hours. They felt that the normal trader/management communication process was lacking over the Christmas/New Year break.

Stop Boxes In Aisles – there will always be occasions where traders need to pack early or set up late but the bottom line is that they shouldn’t inconvenience their neighbours or disrupt customer flow. It is theoretically possible to conduct all packing and unpacking within a stall’s boundaries. For packing convenience we use the aisles to locate boxes during those times. Maybe it is time every trader found a way to pack and unpack without using customer traffic areas. Putting sales and the customer first is not a bad philosophy.

Old Habits Die Hard – The observation was made by a few traders that it is the older traders who are the culprits here and maybe we all need to look at better ways of operating our businesses.

Penalties for Offenders – should traders who ignore the common good be penalised for their actions?

This is not an issue that we are going to fix overnight and a knee-jerk reaction is not appropriate, but maybe with more publicity, better communication, and some serious discussion with those traders who have a problem, we can get it better on every occasion that extended trading hours are applied. 

There are two important points here. Firstly, consumers are telling us they want us to be more flexible and secondly, in tough times we need every sale we can get.

Have Your Say – click here.

31/12/2017 18:29:52 EXTENDED HOURS "Most S M traders had a very poor lead up to Christmas (which is the norm only at the QVM) no matter how many hours you extend trading.
Thank goodness that we had interstate and regional tourists who were in Melbourne after Christmas because they tend to be our real customers who actually spend money and not just people who come in to walk around.
As we know massive crowds does not equal massive takings."
Interstate and regional tourists are very important to most of us. Extending hours is probably not about huge changes but when we do decide to extend (as we did for the last two Fridays this year) it is important that all traders join the plan. The picture taken at 3:00pm last Friday shows that there is certainly potential for sales. Converting potential to reality is something else as you point out. When there are crowds around we all need to be primed for whatever eventuates. Thanks for your input. - Ed.