Friday 24 June 2016

The Most Important Aspect of Our Future Is Not Renewal

As the renewal process hots up and various market interests attempt to influence outcomes the most important aspect of market trading is in danger of being neglected. We are talking about retail entrepreneurship and progress. Do traders need to seek greater influence over this critical aspect of our future?

The whole purpose of renewal us to end up with a better market that will benefit all participants, but if we kill the patient in the process, then the operation is a failure. And there are three key areas that may kill the patient. Firstly, there are the various interest groups who wish to place bans and stop market progress. They require significant market resources to manage their impact. Then there is the renewal process itself which, because of its immense complexity is likely to divert resources away from the equally demanding process of day to day retail recovery. And then there is lack of data about what our customers are doing or want to do. Too many interest groups, too many distractions, and too little information in an ever-changing environment, may leave traders very sick indeed.

Some time ago the four QVMAC Trader Representatives looking after PE and SL traders in Specialty Merchandise stunned some of the other trader groups by attending a Town Hall council meeting to support council plans for renewal. In fact this group asked for an acceleration of the renewal process so that traders could get on with correcting years of neglect and address the very real issues that the retail revolution had thrust upon us. They were looking for speedy action, and a concentration on retail performance as a way of attacking the retail recession. In other words they wanted retail recovery to be part of the renewal process, not just at the end, but along the way as well.

There are two requirements here. Retail recovery needs to be our prime focus.  Long term renewal needs to go on in the background, but with minimal impact, and there are a number of things we can get on with right now -
-    Improving the quality of traders through selection and trader performance assessment.
-    Actively correcting duplication.
-    Introducing permanent stalls.
-    Creating lifestyle precincts.
-    Trialing new trading hours.
-    Researching customer needs and wants. (Customer driven)
-    Experimenting with new concepts and ideas. (Don't just ask customers what they want - give them what they haven't thought of.)
-    Measuring retail performance - accurate visitor numbers and sales data.
-    Customer interaction through a mobile app.

Instead of worrying about the impact of renewal and devoting all our resources to some kind of protectionism perhaps we need to get back to the entrepreneurial basics and look to exciting our customers in ways previously un-thought of. As one trader said recently - "I'm sick of worrying about what construction might do to us. Renewal is a side issue. We have to concentrate on retail basics and put real resources into exciting our customers right now."

By Greg Smith

25/06/2016 18:08:48 Stall duplication This  could be seen  to some as  a way of removing   selected (sic)  Traders AlbyR   E Shed
Thanks for your input Alby. It could also be seen as a way of correcting the errors of the past. - Ed