Wednesday 18 April 2012

Our Future – A Trader’s View

After 35 years I am retiring from being a trader at Victoria Market.   I have had a few good years and of late, a few bad years, but nevertheless I am retiring as a self funded retiree.
The last five years have been tough and I was tempted to retire earlier, but because selling was in my blood, I stuck it out beyond my use by date, even though I saw the writing on the wall years ago.

Sad to say, I see the need for a "General Merchandise" section as something akin to a landline telephone. As the time goes on it is something that the public have a dwindling need for. We call it progress.

Australians are now affluent.  They can buy a ticket to Bali and Thailand for less than a week's wages.   For $1000 they can shop overseas and buy what would cost them $3000 here.

The second factor is that online trading has killed off the bargain factor that once ranked high in the sensuality factor of the public.
The current generation much prefer to save time by buying online.
In the case of buying a trinket or a "shmonsa"  ( meaning impulse purchase that wasn't pre-planned ),  this downmarket retail therapy is covered by eBay.

The third factor is that Australia has become an expensive place to buy anything.  Tourists won’t buy anything they can get back home, unless it is portable and a bargain.
As a nation of importers, we are faced with impossible challenges when it comes to presenting marketable merchandise.

What are the solutions to warding off the shadow of the grim reaper?

Even though I am out of the race now, I still have some ideas.

Firstly - Bigger is not always better.

The General Merchandise Market should be cut back to three days a week if not two.

The size of the General Merchandise Market should be trimmed by about 30 percent

If you think I am barking up the wrong tree then just ask Harvey Norman if having an over abundance of retail shops is a good thing. We have too much of the same thing. Close some. Be bold.  Think left field.  Use space for something like an open air gym or a massage therapy area.   Whatever it is, it has to be different. 

My vision of a modern trader would be a trader who sells directly on the weekends and who spends the rest of his time online, marketing his products to the public.
The trader would turn up on the weekend with orders to be picked up and to set up a sample display of his online shop,
Online and physical presentation combined.  A new and more savvy business person.

One of the reasons The Night Market has been successful is because the admin was able to start with a blank piece of paper.

You can't wind the clock back and you can't hold back progress.


16/04/2012 18:13:29 "very interesting morry.
some good points raised. but i disagree with  some.
like you i have been trading for over 30 years , sure trading is not what it was before the sunday trading , but if you offer good service, offer to go out of your way to please, and offer fair prices, your customers will come back to you.
 5 days is good and should even increase to 7 days a week to cater for the overseas customers. not 2 or 3.
i too should retire, im  lucky that i could retire, and not need to seek , a gov. pension.
but  i enjoy my work, my market so much, you cannot keep me away.
my view is  make the market an easy to come , park and shop place.
not what has become, a feared place to bring a car on the weekend. for fear  of the dreaded traffic wardens, who pray on them"