Sunday 28 January 2018

Trader’s First Day on Downsized Stall

One of our Specialty Traders is taking advantage of the new year to trial a smaller stall set-up and he has already learned some important lessons.

The trader is keen to experiment for a number of reasons –
1.       He hasn’t changed his stall setup in 5 or 6 years and he figures that retailing has changed a lot in that time. He needs to re-think display needs, storage requirements, stock levels, customer access, profit margins, operating costs, and so on.
2.       As a Specialty Trader in the top end of QVM he spends a big chunk of his time (up to 4 hours per day) just setting up and packing up. Maybe that time can be reduced.
3.       The market is about to go through a relocation process with some new stall options coming up including the New Market Pavilion and possibly more containers in String Bean Alley. This trader wants to know what he would need to do to accommodate different trading spaces.
4.       There may be an opportunity to reduce costs.
5.       There may be opportunities to expand trading  - less time setting up and packing up may allow more trading days.

This trader occupies a standard double stall on the deep side of K Shed (Stall area around 5 metres of frontage and 7 metres of depth. The stall is a walk-in and he uses 6 tables for display and pretty much uses the whole stall including space for two storage boxes.

His downsized stall uses the full 5 metres of frontage but only 3 display tables, all positioned at the front. He is using around half the stall space for this configuration. He has selected only his best selling or most profitable lines for display on his new setup and introduced multi-tier shelving. Here are some of the things he learned on his first trading day, a Saturday.
1.       The shallower stall enhances customer contact. There is nothing like being a couple of metres from your customer all the time. It makes, eye-contact, observation, and discussion more acute and more productive.
2.       Concentrating on the “good performing lines” and leaving out the “lesser performing lines” made him realise that he had too much poor stock. Chasing sales over recent years meant filling holes with under performing stock - too many experiments gone wrong.
3.       The time saved in setting up and packing up was dramatic and he expects to halve the time spent in those activities.
4.       Customers seemed to like the accessibility to stock without having to enter a stall. One customer did complain bitterly. He was a regular, in a wheelchair, who loved being able to get close to products at table level. The new multi-tiered shelving didn’t suit him.
5.     Less to set up translated to better displays - quality not quantity.

The Result??? – The trader described his day’s takings as normal. Given he had much less stock on display, he was very happy with that result. He says he will need to trade around 10-15 days with the new configuration to work out whether he is on to a new way of operating. Maintaining takings with less stock and less effort is a positive. The potential to refocus his product range and perhaps find more opportunities to trade adds a whole new impetus to trading in difficult times.  More to come for this trader.