Wednesday 29 June 2011

Traders Receive Termination Letters

A number of traders have received letters threatening to terminate their licences. It would appear that a common feature of these cases is the running of a stall by a family member of the registered stallholder.The letters were sent out last week and give 14 days notice of intention to terminate.
We are not sure why these letters have suddenly appeared although it has been suggested they are part of an ongoing campaign to convince traders to take up leases. Have you received such a letter? If so, would you like to join other traders in a group response?
We are not aware of all the details of these cases, however we are uncomfortable with the  intimidatory aspect of the market's approach and we urge any affected trader to contact Greg Smith, Ivano, or John Magno.

Monday 27 June 2011

Ugg Boot Retailer Penalised

Online trader Marksun Australia has been penalised $430,000 for engaging in false and misleading conduct including $100,000 for unauthorised use of the Australian Made logo, following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in the Federal Court in Perth.

Marksun promoted the Chinese made ugg boots via a registered trade mark ‘Marksun Products Ugg Boots from Australia’, the statement ‘Made in Australia from Australia Wool’, silhouette images of wombats and kangaroos, images of the Australian flag and Sydney Opera House and the official green and gold Australian Made logo.

In his judgment, Justice Gilmour said the conduct was deliberate and dishonest. 
“The overall character of the conduct in promoting goods that are entirely made in China was calculated to apply a veneer of ‘Australian-ness’ or ‘Australia washing’,” he said.

Guru Pete

Your traders association also operates a Facebook page featuring (some would say it’s the only feature) weekly sporting tips from Pete The Cleaner. Pete may tip on football, soccer, horse racing or two flies crawling up a wall (Pete’s words).
Now Pete is 3 out of 4 in successful tipping including a $13.00 winner at Rosehill over the weekend so he is attracting a fair bit of attention. Murphy’s Law says that, now we’ve built him up, he’ll probably fail, but we have great confidence in him. His tip is broadcast each Friday morning and you’ll need to get on Facebook to see it. Just log on to Facebook and search for General Merchandise Traders or go direct to this link - General Merchandise Traders
Don’t forget to “Like” the page so that you will receive automatic feeds.

Market Interview - Walid

Name? Walid
What do you do/sell at the market?  Shoes
How long have you been at the market? – 4 1/2 years
What do you like best about the market? - The people , customers and stall holders alike, such a big variety of personalities.
Worst moment? - The day of the big flood when I lost a lot of stock.
Past jobs? -  Warehouse store manager, Big W Business Manager.
Sporting interests? - Cricket and footy - used to play volleyball.
If you were CEO for a day? - Rent free if it's Sunday.
One thing nobody knows about you?  I'm an open book, no secrets.
Favourite food? - Mediterranean style chicken.
Favourite drink? - Pineapple juice.
Favourite TV show/ movie ? - Underbelly, The Ghost and the Darkness.
Favourite musician ? Michael Jackson.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? - Respect the oldies.
If you had your Sunday arvo free from the market, what would you do? Take family for picnic.
If you were given a 2 week free holiday anywhere around the world, where would you choose to go? Egypt, love to go.
Who the most famous person you have met in your stall? Dennis Lillee just 2 days ago - nice guy and he spent a lot.

Thanks Walid

Interviewed by Tony

Friday 24 June 2011

Colours of the Market Video

This video is entitled Colours of the Market. It was taken in J shed at the bottom walkway and, not only shows some colourful products with the brightly coloured lacquerware, Magic Pens, colourful ladies clothing and the vibrant soap flowers, but a couple of our more colourful traders in Gianni and Annette. A good atmosphere all round.

Thursday 23 June 2011

Free Promotion Opportunity

The QVM is finalising its winter promotion program through the QVM Website, Marketlife Blog, Facebook, Twitter and print advertising. This is widespread promotion and cost traders nothing. Now is the time to get in the queue for participation.
The only catch is that details must be finalised by 30th June – next Thursday. There are a few ways of activating your interest. Telephone Andrew Cyples at the office, email him at, or fill out the form (click here) and drop it off for Andrew at the office.
The requirements are very simple. You will need a special offer that you can adequately stock for a minimum of 2 weeks. Your special will need to be at least 20% off normal retail price, which is no big deal for market traders, and you will need a product photo. Greg Smith (0406222020) will be happy to help with a photo if you don’t have one.
So, go for it – this is a free promotion with widespread distribution and easy setup.

What Is All This New Retailing Crap?

We are inspired by a recent article in Inside Retailing in which the author questions all these new fangled theories on retailing especially since the GFC.
The article champions conservatism, basically the process of due diligence, before we embrace untested and often overly focussed ideas. This is how it is put – “Too often today in both the political world and the retail world we see restless minds producing solutions we donʼt need for problems that donʼt exist. Specialized ʻexpertiseʼ has brought with it a great deal of un-necessary operational complexity and over-simplification of the thinking process through the narrowing of terms of reference to the specialist area in isolation.” – a little wordy but you get the point.
Sorting through the relevant, irrelevant, proven, and unproven, is not easy, but, let’s try a couple of examples. Online customer interaction appears solidly entrenched. Even if it is just for pre-buying, our customers are more likely to check things out online than ever before. But whether the group buying schemes like Scoopon and Cudo or the big name retailer’s websites are the answer is still debatable for both consumers and sellers.
A large amount of effort was put into promoting uncluttered retail displays with neat and tidy merchandising and wide customer aisles to make it easier for customers. After all, customers had asked for it in various market surveys. That was fine until it became clear that what customers asked for and what they actually liked were two different things. In fact customers bought more when displays where a little cluttered and unpredictable so some high profile retailers, like Walmart, had to change their merchandising back to “strategic clutter”.
One thing is for sure. Conservatism does not mean complacency. Sitting on your backside and just accepting age old practices will get you nowhere. Once you have carefully assessed your options, decide on a legitimate course of action, and go for it with all guns blazing.

New Minimum Hours For Young Retail Employees

Fair Work Australia has handed down a decision which allows secondary school students to be employed for a minimum of 1.5 hours (previously 3 hours).
Retailers expect this new flexibility will allow more young people to be employed and give them greater work experience. The decision removes an anomaly caused by the time between school finishing and stores closing.  Unions are concerned that adults will miss out on work.

Big Increase In Debit Card Usage

Unsurprisingly, with consumers avoiding debt, Credit Card usage has dropped in favour of Debit Cards – report by Reserve Bank of Australia.
The bad news is that Debit Cards aren’t quite as flexible as Credit Cards, for instance, with over-the-phone ordering.  The good news is that EFTPOS bank fees are much lower than for credit cards.
As customers move to replace cash with Debit Cards, the need for one of those pesky EFTPOS machines at every stall is even more obvious. If you don’t already have one, we suggest you check out the various major banks. You don’t have to use your own bank. If you do have an EFTPOS machine we suggest you promote the fact with signs around your stall. This is all about providing service to customers.

Sunday 19 June 2011

We Have A New Name

As you will notice from our page banner we have changed our name to VicTraders.

Following feedback from traders we decided to find a name and a web address that was easier to remember and easier to access. So we have now joined the worldwide dotcom community with a dotcom name -
You can still access us via our old address if you wish but we hope you will find the new name more convenient for everyday use.
Congratulations to trader Leah who proposed our new name and won a $50 QVM gift voucher for her efforts.

Market Interview - Hans

Name? Hans
What do you do/sell at the market? Luggage.
How long have you been at the market? - 3 years.
What do you like best about the market? - People who work here.
Worst moment? - Winter - it's too cold here mate.
Past jobs? - 7 years in hospitality and 5 years police force.
Sporting interests? - Footy, footy and footy.
If you were CEO for a day? - I'd put in heating and I'd trade longer in summer.
One thing nobody knows about you? - That I worked 5 years in the police force.
Favorite food? - Fried noodles.
Favorite drink? - Scotch -  Johny Walker Black.
Favorite TV show? - Dancing with the stars.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? Give up betting.
If you had Sunday afternoons off what would you do? Beach or BBQ
Anything else? I've learned a lot from Vic Market - good & bad.

Thanks Hans

Interviewed by Greg

Senator Sherry Savaged

Senator Sherry is the government’s Small Business Minister and his comments this week that “Bookshops in capital cities will be gone in five years thanks to the internet” has been savaged by the Australian Booksellers Association.
The Senator’s comments followed the closure of 42 Angus & Robertson stores. The ABA claim that the closures are due more to poor management by the RedGroup rather than a decline in “bricks & mortar stores” and they stress that book sales in the first quarter of 2011 were only down 2% over the previous year – hardly an industry-ending result.
Following criticism from book retailers and the opposition, Senator Sherry issued a statement saying the government was keenly aware of the growing shift to online purchases and urged small businesses to build their on-line capacity.

What The.............!

An incredible week of contrasts with Colorado Clothing closing down 140 stores as they battle to rescue their ailing business and Zara clothing opening their new store in Melbourne to waiting queues of enthusiastic shoppers.
It may be simplistic but Zara credit their success to astutely listening to their customers and reacting immediately through product design and manufacturing. It would appear that Colorado were not doing that.
As one of our traders said this week - "Queen Victoria Market traders have the advantage of being small businesses with the flexibility to adjust to changing trends." That flexibility is sometimes hampered by market rules and is dependant on our wholesalers and agents also being flexible. Fexibility may become the new buzz word and encourage a whole new look at the way we deal with supply chains.

Friday 17 June 2011

The Zara Retail Phenomenon

               The Spanish fashion chain has caused quite a sensation with its queue-forming opening in Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall this week.
                Why? We don’t really know a lot about them but what we do know gives us some clues. Firstly they design their own clothing which helps keep the competitors a step behind. Secondly, they make their own stuff so they avoid middle men and they can react quickly to demand surges. Thirdly, their items are reasonably priced. Finally, they know how to grab headlines.
                Zara put their success down to flexibility - ''It's a matter of customer feedback,'' a spokesperson said. ''They decide what they want, what they don't want; we're pretty quick to react.'' Speed and accuracy are the key to Zara's success, not original or innovative fashion design.
            To paraphrase that famous movie – "We’ll have what they’re having".

To Make More Money - Stop Selling

This is basically a discussion about the old and the new ways of selling and comes from an article in Inside Retailing this week.
The old way is to sell.
The new way is to help the customer to buy.
No, we are not playing with semantics. The two ways sound the same but the subtle difference is best illustrated by looking at a list of features.

Selling The Goods- The Old                          Helping The Customer To Buy – The New
Customer Relationship Management                           Authentic Conversation
Discounts                                                                        Value
Features                                                                          Feelings
Me                                                                                   You
Products                                                                          Solutions
Talk To                                                                             Talk With

                Basically the new way is the retro way of selling – treating your customers like people, giving them good reasons why your product(s) meets their needs and not giving them the same old hard sell. We know our customers are becoming smarter, more critical and more discerning in their purchasing. It looks like the worldwide revolution against political dictatorships has a parallel on the shop floor – ignore the new customer’s needs at your peril.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Letters to the Editor - The Dark Side

Dear Editor,
                Would you please stop posting those damn articles about online buying? Last night my wife asked if I would check the online price of knitting wool (insert horror music here).
Now, my wife is a bit of a Luddite when it comes to the internet. She has never typed one laptop key and her mobile phone is convenient packing between the nail clippers and purse in her handbag. I ask all my friends not to send her SMS’s because she keeps on asking me what the funny little flag at the top of the screen is. Not only did she ask me to check prices online but she asked if I could show her how to check online (even louder horror music).
I told her that I’d heard online wool comes from diseased lambs (you’re right – not smart – she saw through that) so I started to give her detailed instructions on accessing the internet. Her eyes glazed over and I knew I had earned a temporary reprieve. However, the Dark Side is only a few key presses away. Please stop posting those online buying articles.

Regards – Desperate Trader.
(I fear you’ll have to write to every editor of every publication in Australia. Online buying, or at least online pre-buying, could be here to stay. – and, try “diseased camels” next time – Ed.)


A handbook about Promotional Opportunities was distributed to all traders over the weekend. The handbook outlines ways you can promote your business through a whole range of media from high profile newspaper advertising to Twitter, and most of it is free.
                You can feature in the excellent MarketLife magazine, a professional glossy magazine with a distribution of over 49,000. There are opportunities for follow up on the QVM’s comprehensive social network through Facebook, Twitter and E-newsletters. You can have your own page on the QVM website. You can get financial assistance with your own business cards, brochures, print advertising, website, signs and branded shopping bags.
                What’s the catch? There really isn’t one. There are a few rules to follow but basically these are excellent opportunities for all traders and most are free. There may be times when traders question the motives of QVM management but let’s remember that even the QVM answers to a higher power. The Melbourne City Council sets kpi’s (key performance indicators) for the QVM which require them to maximise the attractiveness and pulling power of the market. Dynamic involvement by traders is one of the keys to achieving those kpi’s so you are being enticed to take part with these sorts of opportunities.
We recommend you take full advantage of the opportunities. Public exposure like this is hard to get for small businesses like ours and, let’s face it, we have earned it through hard work, long hours, and deprived social lives. If you didn’t receive the Handbook, please enquire at the office. If you need any further assistance please ring Andrew Cyples at the office or talk to one of your Trader Volunteers.

Sunday 12 June 2011

Market Interview - Leo

Name? Leo
What do you do/sell at the market? Gothic jewelry.
How long have you been at the market? - 20 years.
What do you like best about the market? - You never get the same day twice. Also the views in summer can be very eye straining.
Worst moment? - Making an engraving error on a customers gold wedding ring.
Past jobs? -  Cigarette factory and hairdresser.
Sporting interests? - Jogging , watching any sport, especially soccer.
If you were CEO for a day? - I'd give everyone a day off to spend with family.
One thing nobody knows about you? I do life drawing once a week. All are welcome to view my portfolio.
Favorite food? - Chinese food, especially Peking Duck.
Favorite drink? - Chai latte.
Favorite TV show/ movie ? - Star Trek - Next Generation, Dumb and Dumber
Favorite Band? Led Zeppelin - my ultimate concert.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? If you're good to your wife, you will be  reciprocated.
If you had your Sunday arvo free from the market, what would you do. ? Go fishing with Herman, "Can I come?" Yes, but what happens out there stays out there.
If you were given a 2 week free holiday anywhere around the world, where would you choose to go? Japan - great people.
Man U or Crystal Palace.? Crystal Palace.

Thanks Leo
Interview by Tony

Thursday 9 June 2011

One On One With Victoria - Feedback

In our previous post, trader Greg Smith reported on the merchandising ideas put forward by ARA consultant Victoria. Here is some follow-up -
"Victoria suggested we pick two of our $10 ranges for front-of-stall promotion with piles of stock and supporting signage. One of the ranges did nothing but with the other we sold a month's stock in 2 days. We are now searching for a replacement for the non-performing range and we will keep on experimenting."

We've Gone Mobile!

This website has now been configured for mobile phones. Log in on your mobile and see a small screen friendly display. So, now you can legitimately look at your mobile while at work. After all this is a work related blog right? Just make sure you don't ignore any customers in the process. We'd hate to encourage bad practices.

Good News: Bad News: Better News

Good News – Melbourne features well in rankings of high tourist spending. The Mastercard index of global destination cities says visitors will spend $7.64billion in Melbourne which ranks ahead of other regional hubs like Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai. Melbourne is considered one of the hotspots of international tourism spending growth.
Bad News – Respected economic analyser, Deloitte Access Economics, has confirmed that consumers have continued their spend less/save more trend into 2011. In fact Australia’s saving rate which was 2.3% prior to the GFC, and went up to 10.2% in 2010, has now been measured at 11.5% in the first quarter of 2011.
Better News – Deloittes also found that Australia’s mineral resources boom might only seem to be lining mining company’s pockets at present but will inevitably flow to consumers through jobs, wage growth, profits and government revenues.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

I'm Confused - Neat or Cluttered Displays?

Just when we’d decided that Queen Victoria Market Traders needed to clean up their act, remove the clutter, and make it easier for customers to move around, along comes Walmart  saying “Bring back the clutter!”
It appears that customers did ask the world’s largest retailer for neater, tidier, less cluttered retail shops (as customers did in a recent QVM survey) but when it came to the crunch they bought less. What they really wanted was the excitement of cluttered, overflowing tables and bins that screamed out “Bargain!” It’s called “treasure hunt retailing.” As a result, Walmart went about replacing their clean look with a more ruffled look.
Now, don’t confuse clutter for unclean. A mess is a turnoff. Time magazine refers to “strategic clutter”. “Shoppers may say they like less junk on shelves and in the aisles, but they buy more when items pop up, overflow, and catch their attention in every direction.” The “strategic clutter” masters in Australia are JB HiFi and Ray’s Outdoors. Strategically placed piles of stock will often bring good results.
Some of our traders will have ranges that benefit from an uncluttered look. Others will look better cluttered. We guess the best advice is to pick what works best for you and do it well.

Price Of Wool Skyrockets

The cost of fine wool on the Sydney Futures Exchange has risen 74 per cent to $US15,500 a tonne in the past year, according to commodity analysts at Mintec. Jumpers, cardigans, coats, socks, scarves and headgear are all expected to be impacted.
The price of wool has been driven higher after world output suffered an 85 year low following drought and floods in the world’s largest producer, Australia.
Rising demand from emerging economies like China have exacerbated the problem.

bizzbuzz's Latest Deal

$59 to have Custom Stationery, Flyers, Business Cards, Magnets OR Stickers Designed by a Professional Design Agency (Up to $275 Value)
Details here -

Is This The Future Or Temporary Roadworks?

Group buying company DealsDirect has just launched an online supermarket site in direct competition with Coles and Woolworths. sells discounted groceries up to 30% off the normal retail price and we are talking main stream brands like Pantene, Colgate, Cadbury and Arnott’s. They ship anywhere in Australia for a flat rate $11. The announcement follows on from Catch of the Day’s $80m new online strategy announced last month.
There is a lot of hype about online buying and the PR companies are working overtime to convince us it is the way of the future. When you remove all the crap what are you left with? Many believe we are still left with an online Road Roller that is slowly but surely changing the face of retailing. Others say it is just what we need to differentiate between impersonal online shopping and the sort of personal service only retailers like QVM traders can offer. It will take time to sort through the road blocks, diversions and speed traps of contemporary retailing.
One thing is for sure – customers are looking for easier ways to shop and, even if they continue to seek out personal service, we need to make the process as convenient as possible. That means an online presence to enable pre-buying, offering the best possible customer service when they reach our stalls, and offering a high level of after sales care including the possibility of home delivery. If we can offer convenience plus personal service we will be stronger retailers.

Monday 6 June 2011

New iPhone App For Small Retailers

Creators of this new app say they have found a way for small retailers to compete with the big boys. For $5.50 per month retailers get 3 products on a dedicated iPhone app that consumers get for free on iTunes.
myappalogues is the name of the app and, at present, it is dedicated to kids stuff but the plan is to spread into other categories that the big online stores are not servicing very well. Clicking on myappalogues will take you to iTunes where you can download the free phone app and clicking here will take you to the developers website. The developers aim to make this a convenient, fun way to shop while giving consumers access to smaller, more specialised retailers.
If you sell kids stuff this is probably worth a look. Other retailers may get a heads-up down the track.

Get Real With Statistics

You may have noticed press reports that retail sales were up in April. The Herald-Sun called it “Retail’s Ray of Light”. A financial market analyst said “Retail Sales Bounce Back Strongly”, and Business Spectator reported that April retail sales “jumped”. The Australian said “Retail Splurge In April Signals Strong Australian Economy”. Apparently the increase was 1.1% and reflected stronger performances in clothing and footwear. So, all you fashion traders at the Queen Victoria Market must be swimming in extra cash.
Get real!!! Since when did a 1% increase count for anything. So the last time your sales went up by 1% did you notice? If your car gives 1% better fuel consumption on a trip, do you notice? If your local fish & chip shop gives you 1% more chips, do you notice? Even in Australian Rules Football you need a lot of those 1%’s to make a difference to a team’s performance. The next time one of my friends says “I see from the newspapers that you had a good month” I’m going to ram the newspaper down their throat – one percent at a time.
Signed – Angry Trader.

Sunday 5 June 2011

Trader's Mobile/Cancer Scare

With no landlines, and in fact no electricity, it is fair to say that we traders use our mobile phone more than the average Australian. So the report from the World Health Organisation that linked the use of mobile phones to cancer has caused some concern. Apparently mobiles have been identified as a category 2B possibility of being carcinogenic.
Now, we treat any health issue seriously, however it pays to get these things into perspective. Category 2B includes a wide variety of products and compounds including Bracken Fern, Talcum Powder, and Coffee. As a fellow trader said this week - "I'll get concerned when chocolate donuts join the list" which we guess means he doesn't consider his mobile useage excessive but his chocolate donut consumption is.
In summary, the jury is still out on the effects of mobile phones on our brains. Cancer specialists simply suggest that people who are concerned should reduce their useage until more studies are completed.

Market Interview - Michael

Name? - Michael
What do you do/sell at the market? - Giftware
How long have you been at the market? -  35 years.
What do you like best about the market? -  Not being here.
 Worst moment? - Waiting for Tony to take this photo.
Past jobs? - Bus driver.
Sporting interests? - Horse racing and rugby.
If you were CEO for a day? - I'd move my neighbour Tim Moore  a few stalls away.
One thing nobody knows about you? - If I tell you everybody will know.
Favorite food? - 16 sausage mix, my own personal recipe, recipe available at a price.
Favorite drink? - Red wine.
Favorite TV show/ movie ? - Groundhog Day, and Melbourne cup carnival.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? - Don't work at the market.
If you had your Sunday arvo free from the market, what would you do ? - Try find the sod that told me to work at the market.
If you were given a 2 week free holiday anywhere around the world, where would you choose to go? - Spain I think.

Thanks Michael

Interviewed by Tony