Tuesday 15 March 2011

Editorial - Tough Times for Traders

                Press reports over recent months have made it clear that traders at The Queen Victoria Market are not the only ones suffering under current economic conditions. Retailers across the country are experiencing reduced income as consumers switch from discretionary spending to saving and reducing debt. Major retailers like Borders are dropping around us and even the biggest retailers are reporting significantly reduced sales.
                Things are not likely to improve quickly. Best estimates in the last month suggest retail purchases in Australia will increase by 3% over 2011 (Deloitte Access Economics report). That is simply not enough for many of us. So what is the answer?
We need to get a bigger piece of the pie. We are in direct competition with every other retailer in Australia and online. To get a bigger piece of the pie we need to get more customers through the upper market (the General Merchandise heartland) and we need to get more from each of those customers. The first part is up to QVM management. Your trader representatives will be contacting management over coming weeks to discuss a range of measures to increase customer flow. We welcome your ideas.
The second part is up to traders as you improve the way you do business, the way you treat your customers, and the way you present your unique business to maximise its appeal to customers. Getting customers to the upper market won’t help if they don’t like what they see. Training courses like the recent Visual Merchandising Workshop will help achieve improvement. If your stall presentation is untidy, if your display is unimaginative, if your signage and ticketing is unprofessional, if your staff spend more time looking at their mobile phones than at customers, you need to make changes. Yes, improving customer flow past our stalls is the major issue for traders, but we can’t ignore all those other issues if we want a bigger piece of the pie.
We welcome your input, your comments, and your ideas as we all work to improving business for General Merchandise Traders.