Friday 18 September 2015

Challenging Two Key Trader Demands

Ask most traders what needs to be done at our market and it is likely that "tourists buses" and "more advertising" will come up in the conversation. But recent experience may put a question mark over the relevance of those two ingredients.

When examining what needs to be done to improve business at QVM it is human nature to look for cause and effect outside our own businesses. Traders are a pragmatic lot - we look for easy solutions, and running a small business can make that a desirable trait. But some things are inescapably complex. Take tourist buses. Many of us remember the good old days when buses rolled up at our market and off-loaded eager shoppers. Things have changed. For a start, shoppers are more discerning, apparently less impulsive about spending their dollars, and certainly less eager. 

Last weekend we had one of the biggest tourist bus events in recent times when thousands of Adelaide Crows supporters descended on our market. One customer said she was a club convener and had personally organised 5 buses to drop passengers off at the market. Did we experience a blip in our business over that weekend?

What about advertising? If the answer to attracting customers is simply to spend more on advertising, why didn't the $180,000 spent marketing our new logo (that excludes the cost of the logo itself) cause a blip in our takings? That happened around the same time as the tourist bus influx and at the same time as the Market Week promotions involving all key Melbourne markets. But no blip (at least not in the top end).

The truth is that the answer to a profitable market lies in many factors. Advertising, and tourist buses are part of the mix as are trading hours, customer convenience, product relevance, product quality, excellence, vibrancy, entertainment - and the list goes on. 

I guess the point of this article is that there are no easy fixes. There are a whole range of things that need to be addressed at QVM. Some things need to be done by traders, some by management, and we need to work on each of them with equal diligence. The sum of all our efforts will produce a better market.

Greg Smith - QVMAC Trader Representative.

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