Monday 21 May 2012

Grouping Stalls – Final Word

Ed - Excuse me for re-posting this article but I think it helps to look at all the comments in one go. This is the final word, at least for now.

My post about grouping stalls gained a big reaction as expected. It is now appropriate to look a little deeper and hopefully find a way through some of the extreme views expressed in the original article and the comments that came from it.
We trade in a retail environment that jealously guards locations and even has a 5 stall separation rule (or is it 7 stalls?) so that competitors don’t feel too threatened. It is true that forcing traders together in a competitive environment could be inappropriate. We have enough trading pressures without adding more. It is also true that not every category would benefit from grouping. In shopping centres grouping is common in fashion clothing and to a lesser extent in shoes. Fashion stores in shopping centres have their own brand identification so, although grouped together, they have individuality. Putting stalls together with exactly the same stock would seem pointless (although I notice one of our $2-$5 jewellery traders has located his and his wife’s stall directly across from each other on Saturdays in K shed).
One of the comments to the original article talked about “everybody chucking their stalls back in the middle to be reallocated” which I assume was tongue in cheek and certainly wasn’t anticipated in the original proposal. Whole scale change would be pretty silly but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for grouping in certain circumstances and perhaps the best explanation comes with an example. Imagine a grouping of jewellery stalls – say one opal stall, one gold, one silver and one pearl. Add one of our excellent silk scarve stalls to the mix and perhaps another fashion accessory and you have a dynamic mix of personal accessories  that could become an attractive destination for customers.
I think this sort of proposalshould be in the mix at the QVM in 2012 and, as always, welcome comment.

29/04/2012 20:04:08 "It would be good to group like stalls and promote the idea that customers would have a clear idea of where to go to get a specific item.  If you want a good Chinese meal you go to China Town (anywhere in the world).  If you wany a good Italian meal you go to Lygon St.  Competition is good - it forces us all to perform.
There are comments posted from traders against grouping, stating that visitors like to stroll around the whole market and that grouping would diminish this attraction.  I am a trader and want customers that are going to spend money, not visitors that use me as a tourist attraction.
Terry Lawn (Trading as Airllywood)" Grouping Stalls 
30/04/2012 07:41:07 They say the best place to position yourself in retail is as close as possible to you're competititor.  What happens to those that don't have competitors? The reality us that the likelihood of stallholders wanting to move from their high profile position will next to zero. And in the long term this is still not a solution, firstly we need to cut out the repetitive stall as one does not want to go to the clothing section where they are all selling the sane stuff, same goes for souvenirs, there is pretty much no difference between all those souvenir shops except one that sells good quality products. This concept would work if there was quality and variety in the stall holders at the market.                              
30/04/2012 09:45:42 As a very large number of purchases are done on an "impulse" buy, if the customers do not get a chance to stroll around, then there is the chance that unless the customers have come looking for your exact product, then you could see a drop in sales. Do you know how many of your sales are impulse VS planned purchases?
30/04/2012 09:57:12 "One problem l see with grouping stalls, is losing those impulse buys.
Potential customers could now choose to avoid aisles because they don't want anything in that aisle.
How many of us don't do every aisle in the supermarket? I know l don't. I avoid aisles l know l don't need anything from. I may visit those aisles once every 3 or 4 visits.
A major part of sales for stall holders is that impulse buy, as it is in any shopping centre, go for this, leave with this, that, and some of those. It is normal behaviour.
I do see some logic, in the comments about, 1 opal, silver, gold, pearl, but looking around the market, most of our stalls are generally not exclusive to one exact type of product (excluding a few), but the the majority of jewellery stalls, have a selection of those items (using them as an example as they are what was commented on)"

30/04/2012 12:21:10 "Re impulse buying. Retail studies tell us that retailers make more when grouped. Even if we don't accept that, grouping is not going to stop tourists from browsing. I can concede that locals are more likely to hit and run but they probably do that now anyway."
30/04/2012 22:19:04 Shoppers come to the market because they have time and a bit of spare cash to look around. It's the differences in businesses that make the interest, not the samenesses.  Grouping together cuts out variety and limits browsing. However an information board showing where GM stallholders are located would be great. 
01/05/2012 17:29:45 "Its obvious there are many thoughts and issues on “grouping” that need to be carefully considered before any real attempt to implement the concept be attempted and applied to the Market.
However there are definitely 2 steps that can and should be taken to assist shoppers who have come to the Market seeking specific traders:
1. A manned information booth located centrally and easily accessible to visitors to the Market.
2. A daily electronic update as to the exact location of Traders on the day be made available online and possibly via an app. for smart phone users.
I would think these 2 steps should provide sufficient assistance for “return” or time poor local shoppers who need to find specific traders quickly.
Then the complex and stimulating discussions and issues that “grouping” comports can be discussed by all concerned. With appropriate communication, collaboration and compromise by all parties, I would think we may come up with some excellent and interesting proposals." 

21/05/2012 12:40:35 "there is an alternative to grouping like minded stalls..lets put all the brainics who think things are okay at the market today together..put them in a nice little corner and they can play together..understandable the problem is complicated and raises many issues but we do need to change the strategy..reading the trip advisor i get the feeling most people like and enjoy the food aspect of the market and thats where it ends.good mention of cheap souvenirs and ugg boots as well..
the quality image of the market in the general merchandise side of the market is lacking and falling..that is the issue at hand. how do we fix up that section to increase the average spend..sure we have many people coming through via festivals, and other events,.. it is not resulting in increase in begin a process people need to acknowledge a problem exists.only then ideas and solutions can came about...what about grouping stalls according to other criteria..EG "" EUROPEAN QUALITY GOODS"", WOMENS FASHION 20-35, MENS CASUAL GOING OUT, AUSTRALIAN MADE,., BABY CLOTHING...these categories could allow for a less complicated offer while keeping some sort of could place similiar categories at opposite ends..again no simple solutions for general merchadise apart from increasing the quality.. we will never attract any new quality tenants with the way we are now ..word travels quickly and with the cost and hours needed by an owner to operate a stall it is simply to hard to make a profit..the pessimists must surely understand that we need to try something different to both attract new tenants and new OR OLD  'SPENDING CUSTOMER"" NOT JUST CHARDONNAE/LATTE DRINKERS..
" grouping stalls